On Windows I miss the Linux functionality, that any existing character could be inserted by pressing Ctrl + Shift + u1234, where "1234" is a Unicode code of that character.

Some of the characters could be added by Alt codes (Alt + code on numeric keyboard), but the range of characters insertable by Alt codes is too limited. Unfortunately I haven't got a numeric keyboard and I'm really used to use Unicode character codes.

The only way how to use Unicode codes on Windows I've already found is in Microsoft Office, which comes with a built-in functionality 1234 + Alt + X (where 1234 stands for Unicode character code). But I want to use Unicode everywhere, not only in MS Office.

  • First of all there is no minus, times, dot operator or asterisk. These I need really often. Second some of key combinations need minus. But I don't have minus on my keyboard. Third, what is "<dead_greek>"?
    – aleskva
    Commented Apr 30, 2017 at 20:45
  • No idea what dead_greek is. Most characters have multiple ways to write, so I try the others or play to find the "missing key". No idea what minus you are missing on your keyboard (I've got two, one on the num block and one on the normal). There's a bunch of "Mathematical Operators" × (oops: wasn't that your "times"? Compose-x-x, just guessed it). // OK, I won't discuss it in detail in comments. All I can do is write an answer – which you then are free to accept or not :)
    – Izzy
    Commented Apr 30, 2017 at 20:58
  • Yes, x is the times I was speaking about. I would guess Compose-x-x too, but on my Linux machine there is nothing like it. But maybe I can write it into that file and create my own? dead_greek should be a key to write greek letters using Compose feature. And I have got Czech keyboard layout without numerical keyboard, therefore I have got no minus key unfortunately :/
    – aleskva
    Commented Apr 30, 2017 at 21:16
  • I wrote the × on Linux, and it's still compose-x-x. You need to check with your DE configuration which key is defined as "compose key" to use it – but how to figure that is rather a question for SuperUser or Unix&Linux :) Besides, as the German keyboard layout, the Czech layout has a minus key just on top of the right Win key, immediately left to the right shift key :)
    – Izzy
    Commented Apr 30, 2017 at 21:34
  • 1
    Thanks for the bounty! Felt obliged to update my answer for that, including some of the details we'd summed up in the comments here. Following that, I did a little comment-cleanup (as those got obsoleted), in case you wonder :)
    – Izzy
    Commented May 10, 2017 at 8:54

4 Answers 4


Though it's not working via Unicode Sequences as you describe, I'd strongly recommend wincompose: it uses the same compose sequences as there are available natively on Linux, and they are much more intuitive. What's available you can look up in the text file /usr/share/X11/locale/en_US.UTF-8/Compose on your Linux machine – or via a GUI (including filtering and search) with wincompose:

compose sequences
Compose sequences viewer in wincompose (source: wincompose; click image for larger varfiant)

Most sequences are built pretty much intuitive. Each is introduced by a "compose key" you can define (I use the right Win key for that), followed by a sequence you can easily remember: "put an o on the A" would be ComposeoA and result in an Å, the multiplicator "times" looking like a special x (×) is Composexx, and so on (see the project site for additional examples). Some characters even correspond to emojis/smileys: ♥ is Compose<3

I'm using wincompose since 2013, whenever I am forced to use Windows. Everywhere else I'm using Linux, so I can use the same sequences at both systems. The application runs very stable and has no side effects (I had some with similar products), the developer is very active and responsive. As you already might have noticed the product is hosted at Github, so the app is available for free in every sense (it uses the "DO WHAT THE FUCK YOU WANT TO PUBLIC LICENSE").

Integrating some facts from the (now deleted) original comments on the question which lead to this answer:

  • This solution gives you the same shortcuts on both worlds (Linux and Windows), so you only need to remember one shortcut per character.
  • It covers characters otherwise not found on Windows (e.g. the Å).
  • Compose sequences are much more intuitive than typing Unicode sequences. For example, the "Å" would be "ctrl + shift + u212b" as Unicode sequence, while it's "Compose + o + A" ("o on A") as Compose sequence.
  • Some alternatives can be found in my answer to Compose key on Windows.

Finally a solution exists, its name is AutoHotkey.

I wrote myself an AutoHotkey script like below. You have just to release Ctrl (and on US keyboard layouts or on numpads also Shift) after pressing "u" and finally press Ctrl again to insert the character:

    SendInput, u
    Input, num, V L5,{LControl}{RControl}
    SetFormat, IntegerFast, Hex
    Send, {bs %len%}{U+%num%}

Some additional information can be found in this thread on AutoHotkey forum or in AutoHotkey manual.


Windows support this for as long as I remember, but you need to enable it in registry with:

reg add "HKCU\Control Panel\Input Method" /v EnableHexNumpad /t REG_SZ /d 1

Then you can type

  • µ with Alt + + + 0 0 b 5
  • with Alt + + + 1 2 3 4
  • etc.

I found out that there is some way how to work with Unicode keyboard shortcuts in Microsoft Office. If I write Unicode code (e.g. "00b5") and press Alt + X, the code changes to micro letter (µ) elegantly. I hope there is some overall solution, but this approach works too.

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