17. November 2012

Quick-fix for X11: Typing Å on German Keyboard

German keyboards come with ÄÖÜ. But they lack the character Å, which is frequently used in Scandinavian languages. Here is a quick-and-dirty fix to customize the xkb map for X11 on Arch Linux.



  1. Locate the keyboard map in use (e.g.: /usr/share/X11/xkb/symbols/de).
  2. Identify section in use (e.g.: xkb_symbols “basic” {)
  3. Insert extra line: key <AC01> { [ a, A, U00E5, U00C5 ] };

Now, the key that reads A on a German keyboard should map to å/Å on the third level. There might be more disciplined ways to customize the layout, but adding a line to one single file seemed to be appropriate for this job.

Update: I was told that there is an alternative (non-intrusive) solution via the keyboard settings panel in the GNOME control center — enable the Compose key, and then hit <Compose> + <o> + <A>.