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Use a Compose Sequence to Specify an X Keysym

You can use a compose sequence to map any Unicode character to an X Keysym. For example, suppose that your X client requires the pi symbol (π) that you don't have on your keyboard. You can map one of your function keys (such as F11) to send it.

To map the unshifted F11 to send the pi (π) X Keysym

  1. In X Manager or X Manager for Domains on a Windows machine, click Tools > Keyboard Maps.
  2. For Select Keyboard Map, select an editable keyboard map.

    Note: The default keyboard maps are not editable. Click Clone to create a new custom keyboard map based on an existing keyboard map.

  3. Use the Map Key tab (displayed by default).
  4. In the list of Explicitly mapped keys on the left side of the tab, under Key, select F11. (As an alternative, you can click the + sign in Explicitly mapped keys to open the Add or Find Key dialog box. With your cursor in the Press a key field, press F11, then click OK.)
  5. With the F11 key selected, click the first Change Mapped X Keysym button (next to the Unshifted key description).
  6. In the Change Mapped X Keysym dialog box, specify the pi symbol. Although this is not a physical key on your keyboard, you can use a compose key sequence to specify it.

    To locate the correct X Keysym using a compose sequence:

    1. Position your cursor in the Press a key to locate corresponding X Keysym field.
    2. Hold down the Alt key, then enter 227 on the numeric keypad. (This is the Windows value for composing pi; other platforms have similar compose key options.) Release the Alt key, and the X Keysym name Greek_pi is displayed.
  7. Click OK.
  8. The Map Keys tab now shows that the F11 key is mapped to the Greek_pi.


  • When you explicitly map a key as described here, you do not need to add it to the list of supported characters on the Characters tab.
  • Reflection X domain administrators can also configure Keyboard Maps from the Domain Definitions tab.

Related Topics

Map a Keyboard Shortcut to an X Keysym

Keyboard Maps

Map Key