Reported by a customer we had some issues with special characters that were outside the ISO-8859-1 code page.

Since I learned Chinese for three years, I could personally reproduce the issue by installing the Pinyin keyboard layout and just typing a few Chinese words. But finally, this may be disturbing, since you get the Windows language bar and pressing key combinations like Ctrl+Space (which are often used in software development) toggle between layouts.

Other solutions could be

  • typing Alt+NumPad numbers (hard to remember + not that easy to type on Notebooks without a numeric block)
  • copy/paste special characters (open Word or Internet first)

All those solutions do not seem perfect to me. I'm looking for a solution that

  • has easier key combinations than Alt+NumPad
  • needs no additional opening of a program like a symbol table
  • does not add languages to the Windows language bar and does not conflict with programmer keys (ideally it's configurable)
  • works on Windows
  • is gratis, open source preferred
  • you can change the shortcut key for changing language and layout
    – phuclv
    Jun 25, 2018 at 2:03

1 Answer 1


I found WinCompose [GitHub] that fulfills my needs.

  • has a configurable "compose" key which I'll refer to as in the following. I'm using Pause now.
  • has a total of 2200 combinations and they are easier to remember than NumLock numbers, e.g. <- for the Unicode arrow or e" for the diaeresis e: ë
  • has no impact on the language bar and on Ctrl+Space (at least as long as you don't use Ctrl as the combine key)
  • is open source and gratis
  • works on Windows 7 x64 SP1 (and probably others)
  • Good choice – also my favorite whenever I have to work on Windoze: sequences are even compatible with what Linux supports out-of-the-box, so I don't have to rethink each combo :) For alternatives, see my answer on SuperUser (initially made before SR came to live, but updated a few times).
    – Izzy
    Jul 6, 2016 at 6:11

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