Umlaut äöü on UK Keyboard via Alt-Gr? How?

I have a British keyboard and want to write German umlaut characters: äöü

I am aware of the following three solutions, none of which is satisfactory:

  • Layout switching via KDE:
    , where you display a little flag and simply switch between layouts. Since I cannot type all keys blindly, this does not work for me.
  • Deadkey-Layout:
    pressing " once and then either aou. This is unusable for me, since I need the " character much more often when programming.
  • Compose-Key:
    This is the version I am currently using. Requires 4 key presses on all four corners of the keyboard to obtain a single umlaut: Right-Ctrl, Shift-2 and O.

I have been using the compose key for 3 years now. My wife’s PC recently received by necessity a new UK-keyboard and she simply laughed at me when I tried to explained to her how to type a single umlaut on the new keyboard. I will buy her a German keyboard soon, but the ridicule inflicted sticks.

Linux is highly configurable, isn’t it? So there must be an easy way, right? This is a very basic problem and there must be an easy solution, but I don’t know where to find it.

What I would like is a much easier solution, say AltGr+a to achieve ä. I know this is somehow possible for US-Keyboards, but how do I achieve this with a UK-Keyboard?

Currently AltGr+aou currently yields æ ø ↓ So how do I change that?

There are no deadkeys on the UK keyboard and only a limited number of foreign characters assigned to the Alt-Gr keys, none of them being accented characters.

When I started using KDE eight years ago, I just got used to using the first option either to type continuously in German for a while or to insert a single German word into an English text.

The other alternative is to create your own keyboard layout and add it to the other ones KDE offers. There are variants for several other languages.

Yes, but how? If I search with Google for that, I get lots of instruction for xmodmap, setxkb and such. Which one applies to my system? Furthermore, all these info pages are quite dated.

So what does apply to Suse 11.0 (or better 11.1)?

I am a KDE user, does this affect this? The KDE3 menu offers keyboard layouts and seems to override settings in /etc/X11/xorg.conf, so is there a KDE-way for custom layouts? Will the method be the same when I switch to 11.1 and KDE4 soon?

I am just scared to follow a false trail… :frowning: …I am happy with suggestion for the right words to google for!

FAMS.DE / Easy German Umlauts on an US Keyboard for X11

Let us know how it goes.

PERFECTLY!!! :slight_smile: THANKS!!!

Thanks a lot for the above link. Now that Suse11.1 was in place on my machine, I got back to this old problem.

Essentially what I did was add the relevant three lines from the “us_de”-file found in the link above to /usr/share/X11/xkb/symbols/gb under the plain version.

Here it is as its own variant:

partial default alphanumeric_keys
xkb_symbols "basicde" {

    // Describes the differences between a very simple en_US
    // keyboard and a very simple U.K. keyboard layout defined by
    // the SVR4 European Language Supplement and sometimes also
    // known as the IBM 166 layout.
    // In addition german umlauts were
    // placed on a u o respectively.

    include "latin"

    name[Group1]="United Kingdom";

    key <AE02>  {          2,   quotedbl,  twosuperior,    oneeighth ] };
    key <AE03>  {          3,   sterling, threesuperior,    sterling ] };
    key <AE04>  {          4,     dollar,     EuroSign,   onequarter ] };

    key <AD07>  {          u,     U,        udiaeresis,   Udiaeresis ] };
    key <AD09>  {          o,     O,        odiaeresis,   Udiaeresis ] };
    key <AC01>  {          a,     A,        adiaeresis,   Udiaeresis ] };

    key <AC11>  { [apostrophe,         at, dead_circumflex, dead_caron] };
    key <TLDE>  {      grave,    notsign,          bar,          bar ] };

    key <BKSL>  { [numbersign, asciitilde,   dead_grave,   dead_breve ] };
    key <LSGT>  {  backslash,        bar,          bar,    brokenbar ] };

    include "level3(ralt_switch_multikey)"

This was so easy (once you know what to do) that I regret not doing this 4 years ago! :wink:

Furthermore, I must add that additional layouts as offered in the config dialogue by SAX2 are much better than the KDE layouts, since there are the options grp:key_switch and grp:key_toggle which I had not been aware of, so there is a fourth option then!

Anyway, just adding äöü to Alt-Gr+aou is so much more convenient! :slight_smile:

and has your wife agreed to pick the sticks out of your back for you?