Typing accented/european characters in Emacs

Normally I never have to type anything but ASCII in Emacs. But I have been doing some internationalization testing/development, and now and then need to type some non-ASCII characters. Right now, I am happy to be able to type accented characters, though the ultimate goal is to be able to type in a wide variety of languages.

To get emacs to display most languages and scripts:

  • I ensure than my LANG environment is UTF-8
  • I install xfonts-intl-* and emacs-intl-fonts packages
  • I do a `C-h h’ to see the multilingual hello file…. the languages of my interest should be present there

To type `interesting’ characters in Emacs, I have found that this works:

  • Change input method to RFC1345 by:

    C-x RET C-\ RET (select default input method RFC1345)

  • Type an accented chanracter using its RFC1345 mnemonic. E.g., to type the inverted exclamation mark used in Spanish I would type “&!I” (makes sense: ‘&’ introduces the special character, ! is the excalamation mark, and I inverts it).

To be able to quickly lookup the RFC, I installed the `doc-rfc’ meta-package. Now, to read RFC3412, for example, I do:


C-x C-f /usr/share/doc/RFC/links/rfc3412.txt.gz

and since I have installed the `emacs-goodies-el’ package, which contains `rfcview’, the RFC shows up nicely formatted in Emacs.

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