Question on KeySyms

Glynn Clements glynn at
Tue Sep 11 14:44:55 PDT 2007

Andreas Gick wrote:

> does each character that I can type on my keyboard correspond to a KeySym? For 
> example, to get the character é on my screen, I need to press "'" and 
> then "e", two keys, but one KeySym?

Two keys, three KeySyms.

Typically, you will get three KeyPress events: one for dead_acute, one
for e, and one for eacute. The first two will have non-zero keycodes,
the last one will have zero for the keycode. For the first two,
XmbLookupString and XwcLookupString will return an empty string; for
the last one, they will return "é".

See the documentation on for XOpenIM() and XCreateIC() for more
information on using input methods; although, the source code for
something which uses them (e.g. xterm, xev or libXaw) may be more
useful. Also, xev may prove useful.

Glynn Clements <glynn at>

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