Friday, June 24, 2022

Using Compose Sequences when your keyboard doesn’t have a Pause key

One of the things I love about using a Linux machine is that I can enter special characters easily using Compose Sequences. I use the Pause key as the “multi-key” since that key isn’t used for anything else. It was all great when I was using a desktop machines with full-size keyboards. Now I am using a laptop most of the time, and laptops don’t usually have “useless” keys such as the Pause key.

With a bit of Googling, I learnt that pressing Fn+p on Lenovo laptops is equivalent to pressing the dedicated Pause key. This is my today’s happy discovery. 🙂

By the way, if most of your work is done in the Chrome browser, and you can’t (or don’t want to) use Compose sequences, you may try the Paste From Context Menu extension. This extension saved me a ton of time when I was using Chrome OS devices.

Screenshot of the 'Paste From Context Menu' Chrome extension in action

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Inputting Rupee symbol (₹) on Linux machines

tl;dr: When using an InScript keyboard layout, press right Alt + 4 to enter the rupee symbol.

One of the things that I couldn’t figure out for a very long time is how to easily enter the Indian Rupee sign (₹) while entering text. When I was using a Linux machine primarily, I managed by simply copy-pasting the symbol whenever I needed it. After using Chrome OS for a few years, I had gotten used to entering the rupee sign without much fuss, and I missed that ease once I returned to a Linux machine.

I started looking around to see how I can modify keyboard layouts to easily enter the rupee sign. To my surprise, all InScript keyboard layouts had this line:

include "rupeesign(4)"

Looking around, I found a /usr/share/X11/xkb/symbols/rupeesign. This file had this config:

xkb_symbols "4" {
    key <AE04>	{ [  NoSymbol,   NoSymbol,   U20B9 ]	};

A quick Google search confirmed that U+20B9 was indeed the rupee sign. Basically, everything needed to easily input the rupee sign is there; only I didn’t know how to use this.

The level3 file in the same directory had the clue. This file started with this comment:

// The default behaviour:
// the right Alt key (AltGr) chooses the third symbol engraved on a key.

As soon as I saw the mention of right Alt as the modifier to use, it became clear that right Alt + 4 was all I needed.