keyboard – how to type characters
Keyboards are idiosyncratic.
It should be obvious how to type ordinary
backspace, tab, escape, and newline.
In Plan 9, the key labeled
generates a newline
if there is a key labeled
it generates a carriage return
Plan 9 eschews CRLFs.
All control characters are typed in the usual way;
in particular, control-J is a line feed and control-M a carriage return.
On the PC and some other machines, the key labeled
acts as an additional control key.
The delete character
may be generated by a different key,
one near the extreme upper right of the keyboard.
On the Next it is the key labeled
(not the asterisk above the 8).
On the SLC and Sparcstation 2, delete is labeled
(the key above
functions as an additional backspace key).
On the other keyboards, the key labeled
generates the delete character.
The view character
causes windows to scroll forward.
It is generally somewhere near the lower right of the main key area.
The scroll character is generated by the
key on the Gnot, the
key on the SLC, and the arrow key ↓
on the other terminals.
As a convenience for sloppy typists, some programs interpret → and ← keys,
which lie on either side of ↓, as view keys as well.
The arrow key ↑ scrolls backward.
Characters in Plan 9 are runes (see
Any rune can be typed using a compose key followed by several
The compose key is also generally near the lower right of the main key area:
key on the Gnot, the
key on the Next, the
key on the SLC, the
key on the Magnum, and either
key on the PC.
After typing the compose key, type a lower case
and up to six hexadecimal characters (digits and
followed by a semicolon (if the sequence is less
than six digits long) to type a single rune with the
value represented by the typed number.
There are shorthands for many characters, comprising
the compose key followed by a two- or three-character sequence.
There are several rules guiding the design of the sequences, as
illustrated by the following examples.
The full list is too long to repeat here, but is contained in the file
in a format suitable for
A repeated symbol gives a variant of that symbol, e.g.,
yields ¿ .
digraphs for mathematical operators give the corresponding operator, e.g.,
Two letters give the corresponding ligature, e.g.,
Mathematical and other symbols are given by abbreviations for their names, e.g.,
Chess pieces are given by a
followed by a letter for the piece
for bishop, or
for a white king.
Greek letters are given by an asterisk followed by a corresponding latin letter,
Cyrillic letters are given by an at sign followed by a corresponding latin letter or letters,
Script letters are given by a dollar sign followed by the corresponding regular letter,
A digraph of a symbol followed by a letter gives the letter with an accent that looks like the symbol, e.g.,
Two digits give the fraction with that numerator and denominator, e.g.,
The letter s followed by a character gives that character as a superscript, e.g.,
These characters are taken from the Unicode block 0x2070; the 1, 2, and 3
superscripts in the Latin-1 block are available by using a capital S instead of s.
Sometimes a pair of characters give a symbol related to the superimposition of the characters, e.g.,
A mnemonic letter followed by $ gives a currency symbol, e.g.,
Note the difference between ß (ss) and µ (micron) and
the Greek β and μ.
sorted table of characters and keyboard sequences