I wrote about inserting characters in Emacs in this post.
There I pointed out that it’s easy to insert characters such as è and ä by using the C-x 8 key combination. So, for example:
C-x 8 ' e prints é C-x 8 `e prints è C-x 8 ^ e prints ê C-x 8 " u prints ü C-x 8 / / prints ÷ C-x 8 C prints © copyright
What I didn’t realise at the time is there was an easier combination formed by simply entering the Unicode name of a character.
For example, to insert é, use the combination
C-x 8 [return] LATIN SMALL LETTER E ACUTE
Capital letters begin, unsurprisingly, with LATIN CAPITAL.
At first glance the above doesn’t look easier, even allowing for the fact that Emacs allows you to use a few shortcuts. With tab completion, I got the key sequence down to…
C-x 8 [return] lat [tab] sm [tab] e [space] a [tab]
… but that’s still not as compact as the original examples.
So why is that an easier combination?
Well, it’s easier in the sense that it’s easier to remember, and therefore it can be quicker to use for obscure characters than having to look up a character code.
Just as an experiment, I tried to put in a British pound sign without using the appropriate key on my UK keyboard.
I used C-x 8 [return] and typed po [tab], and there was pound sign (along with
POODLE, POULTRY LEG and POUTING CAT FACE).
If you’re interested what POUTING CAT FACE looks like (I certainly was) here’s a link: http://www.fileformat.info/info/unicode/char/1f63e/index.htm