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I am looking to add all the French characters to my ~/.keymap.xkb file. In the interest of not duplicating things, has anyone else done this and care to share their configuration?

Clearly some character such as é, è, ê, and ë would need more than one mapping on the e key -- ctrl, alt, alt-R, fn?

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Alternate solution

I'm assuming you're not a native French user or at least are trying to input many French diacritics with a non-French (eg: US) keyboard.

Instead of trying to remap the whole keyboard and always forget to remap some character, you can just map the Compose (aka Multi_key) "virtual" key to some unused key on your keyboard. If your OS/distribution is already correctly pre-configured with X11, you're done.

Example, map Compose to the Menu key:

setxkbmap -option compose:menu

You can now input multiple characters by starting with the Compose key (you have to press and release it before continuing with next characters) to assemble the final character. Those few examples should be enough to grasp it, and should come naturally:

Compose e ' => é
Compose ' e => é : sometimes but not always order doesn't matter
Compose e ` => è
Compose e " => ë
Compose C , => Ç : even a native (France) French keyboard can't input this, but in these modern days it's anyway expected to have ç be in upper case at start of sentences.

Other common or not so common symbols from anywhere?

Compose e = =>
Compose c = => : an other visually logical combination
Compose c / => ¢
Compose O c => ©
Compose O r => ®
Compose t m =>
Compose 5 8 =>

To input a Scandinavian å, it doesn't appear so intuitive, unless one knowns the origin of this diacritic: a long a. So...

Compose a a => å
Compose A A => Å

Note again that most of the time this stays valid for any locale or keyboard (yet there can be differences depending on locale). Eg on a native (France) French keyboard, where the ` character is on the è key:

Menu E AltGr+è => è

(obviously not useful)

  • That's so simple. However, it destroy my other mappings: "…", "⸮", and ←↓↑→Still I think I can make it work. Thank you. – Sardathrion Feb 19 at 8:20
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    Some preexist: Compose < -, Compose - >, Compose . . but I admit for some others it doesn't seem. Anyway you can add them yourself as seen in the link: $HOME/.XCompose. seems system defs (after following "links" probably /usr/share/X11/locale/en_US.UTF-8/Compose even for fr_FR.UTF-8) have to be copied over – A.B Feb 19 at 11:00
  • Yes, I was looking at those. It's the iron mark "⸮" which is harder as it's not generally defined. Maybe I can use the Spanish question mark?… In any case, that is beyond this question/answer. Needless to say, thank you for taking the time to look into my extra requierements. – Sardathrion Feb 19 at 11:14

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