Compose Special Characters

Compose Special Characters lets you type two or three characters and use a keyboard shortcut to convert them into a single accented or special character. You can also compose unicode characters. Writer and Calc are currently supported.

There are two ways to create special characters - Compose Special Characters and Compose Unicode Characters.

Compose Special Characters

Compose Special Characters works with a predefined list of key combinations to compose characters. The Compose Special Characters dialog lists all the key combinations and their corresponding special characters. To open the dialog choose Compose Character... on the Insert menu (Insert > Compose Character...).

It's a very good idea to assign a shortcut key to the Compose Special Character function. If you know the character combination you need for a character, then you don't need to use the dialog. You just type the key combination and press your shortcut to get your composed character. See below for instructions on how to assign a shortcut key to Compose Special Characters.

For example, if you assign Compose Special Characters to F4, and you want to type â, first you'd press a then ^ then F4: the a and ^ you typed will change to â.

Compose Unicode Characters

Compose Unicode Characters works similarly, except that it works with unicode code numbers. You can use it to compose any unicode character that isn't listed in the Compose Special Characters predefined list.

For a complete list of unicode characters and their corresponding codes, see:

First assign a shortcut key to the Compose Unicode Character function (you only have to do that once). Then you just type the 4 digit character code and press your shortcut to get your composed unicode character. See below for instructions on how to assign a shortcut key to Compose Unicode Characters.

For example, if you assign Compose Unicode Character to F4, and you want to type the Thai character ๚, first you'd type the unicode number "3674", then F4: "3674" will change to ๚.

(If you see an empty box where your character should be, then the character isn't supported in the font you're using and you'll have to find another font that supports it.)

Assigning shortcut keys to Compose Special Characters and Compose Unicode Characters

You can assign Compose Special Characters and Compose Unicode Characters to the keyboard shortcuts of your choice using buttons on the Compose Special Characters dialog:

  1. open the Compose Special Characters dialog (Insert > Compose Character... in either Writer or Calc.
  2. click the CSC shortcut button to set a shortcut for Compose Special Characters
  3. choose the shortcut you'd like to use in the Set shortcut for composing special characters dialog
  4. then click OK to close that dialog
  5. click the Unicode shortcut button to set a shortcut for Compose Unicode Characters
  6. choose the shortcut you'd like to use in the Set shortcut for composing unicode characters dialog
  7. then click OK to close that dialog

(You can use that same procedure to unassign the shortcut using the "Clear shortcut" button, for instance if you make a mistake.)

HOW TO USE

Install the extension then restart OpenOffice.

After installing the extension you'll need to close OpenOffice then re-open it to see the new Compose Characters... menu item on the Insert menu.

Assign your shortcut keys

See "Assigning shortcut keys..." above.

For Text documents:

Type the composing characters or unicode number and press your shortcut key to get your composed character.

    For Spreadsheet documents:

    Type a "flag" character plus the composing characters, then your shortcut key. A flag character is required in Calc because there doesn't seem to be any way for a program to identify where the insertion point is in an OpenOffice spreadsheet cell. Since you might want to insert a special character anywhere in a cell, not just as the last character, the flag character is necessary.

    You can choose your own flag character in the Compose Special Character dialog. Remember, whatever flag character you choose, it should be one that you're not going to use in a formula or a value.

    TECHNICAL SUPPORT

    If you have any problems using the extension and need help resolving them, please . I'm happy to help: it's more efficient to discuss technical issues by email.

    Release notes: http://www.productivityapps.com/cscreleasenotes.html

    Please contribute

    If you find Compose Special Characters useful, please consider making a small contribution to support further development.

    Need help?

    Please .

    Download

    Release notes

    Update:

    To update an OpenOffice extension, choose Tools > Extension Manager... > Updates... in your OpenOffice program, like Writer or Calc.

     

    Compose Special Characters dialog thumbnail

    Compose Special Characters dialog