5 Composing Characters

The VT320 lets you use more characters than appear on your keyboard, by typing compose sequence. A compose sequence is a series of two or three keystrokes that produces a single compose character. You can use three-stroke sequences on all VT320 keyboards. You can use two-stroke sequences on all keyboards except the North American/United Kingdom and Norwegian/Danish keyboards.

Two basic factors determine which compose sequences you can use.

What Characters Can I Use?

You can only select characters from the character set the terminal is currently using. You can select from 2 multinational sets (DEC Multinational and ISO Latin-1) or 12 national replacement character sets (NRCs). By default, the VT320 uses the DEC Multinational set. See "Character Sets" in Chapter 2.

The Character Set Mode feature in the General Set-Up screen sets the terminal to work with 8-bit multinational sets or 7-bit NRC sets.

If You Use a Multinational Character Set

Table 5-1 lists the compose characters you can use. Some characters are only available in one of the multinational character sets, DEC Multinational or ISO Latin-1. You select these sets with the User-Preferred Character Set feature in the General Set-Up screen.

If You Use a 7-Bit NRC Set

You select one of the NRC sets by using the _____ Keyboard feature in the Set-Up Directory. The compose characters available also depend on whether you use typewriter or data processing keys. You select typewriter or data processing keys with the _____ Keys feature in the Keyboard Set-Up screen.

NOTE: When you select "Data Processing Keys", keys that have three or more characters on their keycap send the characters on the right half of the keycap.

Table 5-2 shows how to compose characters that do not appear on the given keyboard. If you want to compose a character that is not already on the keyboard, refer to Table 5-1 for the character and the correct sequence.

When you use a 7-bit NRC set, some accent marks that appear on some European keyboards are not available. These accent marks are 8-bit characters.

Three-Stroke Sequences

You can use three-stroke sequences on any VT320 keyboard. All three-stroke sequences start with the Compose Character key. Tables 5-1 and 5-2 list the three-stroke sequences.

NOTE: If the Compose Character key does not work, check the Compose feature in the Keyboard Set-Up screen (Chapter 4).

If you use a diacritical mark in a three-stroke sequence, the VT320 uses an equivalent character. The North American/United Kingdom and Dutch keyboards do not have diacritical marks.

Diacritical Mark Equivalent Character
Diaresis (umlaut) mark Double quote "
Acute accent Apostrophe '
Grave accent Single quote `
Circumflex accent Circumflex character ^
Tilde mark Tilde character ~
Ring mark Asterisk * or degree °

Using a Three-Stroke Sequence

You can select a three-stroke compose character as follows.

  1. Find the character you want in column 1 of Table 5-1 or 5-2.
  2. Press the Compose Character key. The Compose indicator turns on, indicating the terminal is in compose mode.
  3. Type the two characters in column 2 for the character you want.

For example, to select an e with an acute accent, press Compose Character, then type e and ' (apostrophe).

Two-Stroke Sequences

Two-stroke sequences are faster than three-stroke sequences, because you do not use the Compose Character key. However, two-stroke sequences are limited to sequences starting with the following nonspacing diacritical marks.

NOTE: You cannot use two-stroke sequences on the North American/United Kingdom or Dutch keyboards.

Some European keyboards have keys with both a standard character and a diacritical mark. Make sure you select the correct character when you use these keys in compose sequences.

Using a Two-Stroke Sequence

You can select a two-stroke compose character as follows.

  1. Find the character you want in column 1 of Table 5-1, 5-2, or 5-3. Check column 3 to make sure you can use a two-stroke sequence for that character.
  2. Press the key with the diacritical mark shown in column 3. The Compose indicator comes on, indicating the terminal is in compose mode.
  3. Type the second character shown in column 3.

For example, to select an e with a grave accent on a Danish keyboard, you would type ` (grave accent) then e.

Invalid Sequences

When you complete a valid compose sequence, the compose character appears on the screen and the Compose indicator turns off. If you use an invalid sequence, the VT320 cancels the sequence and sounds the warning bell. (You can turn the warning bell on or off in the Keyboard Set-Up screen, Chapter 4).

NOTE: Pressing a function key cancels a compose sequence without sounding the bell.

Canceling or Restarting a Compose Sequence

If you accidentally start a compose sequence by pressing the Compose Character key or a diacritical mark key, press the <x] key. This immediately cancels the compose sequence.

If you press Compose Character during a compose sequence, a new three-stroke sequence starts from that point. The first sequence is canceled.

If you press any of the following keys during a compose sequence, they cancel the sequence and perform their usual function.

Table 5-1 Compose Sequences for Multinational Sequences
Compose Characters Three-Stroke Sequences Two-Stroke Sequences*
(sp) = space bar
* You must type the characters for these sequences in the order shown. (Includes all two-stroke and some three-stroke sequences).
This character is only available when you use the DEC Multinational Character Set. See the User-Preferred Character Set feature in the General Set-Up screen (Chapter 4).
These characters are only available when you use the ISO Latin Alphabet No. 1 character set. See the User-Preferred Character Set feature in the General Set-Up screen (Chapter 4).
" quotation mark ¨ (sp) ¨ (sp)
# number sign + + 
' apostrophe ´ (sp) ´ (sp)
@ commercial at A A 
[ opening bracket ( ( 
\ backslash / / or / <
] closing bracket ) ) 
^ circumflex accent ˆ (sp) ˆ (sp)
` grave accent ` (sp) ` (sp)
{ opening brace ( - 
| vertical line / ^ 
} closing brace ) - 
~ tilde ˜ (sp) ˜ (sp)
¡ inverted ! ! ! 
¢ cent sign C / or C |
£ pound sign L - or L =
¥ yen sign Y - or Y =
§ section sign SO or S! or S0
¤ currency sign XO or X0
© copyright sign CO or C0
ª feminine ordinal A_ 
« open angle brackets << 
° degree sign 0^ 
± plus or minus sign +- 
² superscript 2 2^ 
³ superscript 3 3^ 
µ micro sign /U *
paragraph sign P! 
· middle dot .^ 
¹ superscript 1 1^ 
º masculine ordinal O_ 
» closed angle brackets >> 
¼ fraction one-quarter 14 *
½ fraction one-half 12 *
¿ inverted ? ?? 
À A grave A`  `A 
Á A acute A'  'A 
 A circumflex A^  ^A 
à A tilde A~  ~A 
Ä A umlaut A" or ¨A ¨A 
Å A ring A* or
(degree sign)
°A 
Æ A E diphthong AE *
Ç C cedilla C, 
È E grave E`  `E 
É E acute E'  'E 
Ê E circumflex E^  ^E 
Ë E umlaut E" or ¨E ¨E 
Ì I grave I`  `I 
Í I acute I'  'I 
Î I circumflex I^  ^I 
Ï I umlaut I" or ¨I ¨I 
Ñ N tilde N~  ~N 
Ò O grave O`  `O 
Ó O acute O'  'O 
Ô O circumflex O^  ^O 
Õ O tilde O~  ~O 
Ö O umlaut O" or ¨O ¨O 
Œ O E diphthong† OE *
Ø O slash O/ 
Ù U grave U`  `U 
Ú U acute U'  'U 
Û U circumflex U^  ^U 
Ü U umlaut U" or ¨U ¨U 
Ÿ Y umlaut† Y" or ¨Y ¨Y 
ß German small sharp s ss 
à a grave a`  `a 
á a acute a'  'a 
â a circumflex a^  ^a 
ã a tilde a~  ~a 
ä a umlaut a" or ¨a ¨a 
å a ring a* or
(degree sign)
°a 
æ a e diphthong ae *
ç c cedilla c, 
(comma)
è e grave e`  `e 
é e acute e'  'e 
ê e circumflex e^  ^e 
ë e umlaut e" or ¨e ¨e 
ì i grave i`  `i 
í i acute i'  'i 
î i circumflex i^  ^i 
ï i umlaut i" or ¨i ¨i 
ñ n tilde n~  ~n 
ò o grave o`  `o 
ó o acute o'  'o 
ô o circumflex o^  ^o 
õ o tilde o~  ~o 
ö o umlaut o" or ¨o ¨o 
œ o e diphthong† oe *
ø o slash o/ 
ù u grave u`  `u 
ú u acute u'  'u 
û u circumflex u^  ^u 
ü u umlaut u" or ¨u ¨u 
ÿ y umlaut y" or ¨y ¨y 
ISO Characters‡
  no break space sp sp
¦ broken vertical bar || or !^
¬ logical not -,*
­ soft (syllable) hyphen -- 
® registered trademark RO
¯ macron -^ 
¾ three quarters 34 *
÷ division sign -: 
× multiplication sign xx 
´ acute accent '' 
¸ cedilla ,, 
¨ diaeresis "" ¨(sp)
Ý Y acute Y'  'Y 
ý y acute y'  'y 
Þ capital Icelandic thorn TH 
þ small Icelandic thorn th 
Ð capital Icelandic Eth -D 
ð small Icelandic Eth -d 
Table 5-2 Compose Sequences for NRC Sets, Using Typewriter Keys
Compose Characters Three-Stroke Sequences Two-Stroke Sequences*
(sp) = space bar
* You must type the characters for these sequences in the order shown. (Includes all two-stroke and some three-stroke sequences).
British
£ pound sign L - or L =
` grave accent ` (sp)
Danish
# number sign + + 
' apostrophe ´ (sp)
@ commercial at A A 
` grave accent ` (sp)
Dutch
£ pound sign L - or L =
' apostrophe ' (sp)
¼ fraction one-quarter 14 *
½ fraction one-half 12 *
¾ three quarters 34 *
ij i j sign ij 
fl Florin f- *
` grave accent ` (sp)
´ acute accent '' 
¨ diaeresis "^ 
Finnish
# number sign + + 
' apostrophe ' (sp)
Flemish and French/Belgian
£ pound sign L - or L =
' apostrophe ' (sp)
` grave accent ` (sp)
French Canadian
' apostrophe ' (sp)
à a grave `a  `a 
â a circumflex ^a  ^a 
è e grave `e  `e 
ê e circumflex ^e  ^e 
î i circumflex ^i  ^i 
ô o circumflex ^o  ^o 
ù u grave `u  `u 
û u circumflex ^u  ^u 
German/Austrian
' apostrophe ' (sp)
` grave accent ` (sp)
Italian
' apostrophe ' (sp)
Norwegian
' apostrophe ' (sp)
` grave accent ` (sp)
Portuguese
' apostrophe ' (sp)
` grave accent ` (sp)
à A tilde ~A 
Õ O tilde ~O 
ã a tilde ~a 
õ o tilde ~o 
Spanish
£ pound sign L - or L =
' apostrophe ' (sp)
§ section sign !S or OS or 0S
` grave accent ` (sp)
~ tilde ~ (sp)
Swedish
# number sign + + 
' apostrophe ' (sp)
É E acute 'E 
é e acute 'e 
Swiss (French) and Swiss (German)
' apostrophe ' (sp)
ê e circumflex ^e  ^e 
î i circumflex ^i  ^i 
ô o circumflex ^o  ^o 
ù u grave `u  `u 
û u circumflex ^u  ^u 
Table 5-3 Compose Sequences for NRC Sets, Using Data Processing Keys
Compose Characters Three-Stroke Sequences*
(sp) = space bar
* There are no two-stroke sequences available with data processing keys.
" quotation mark " (sp)
# number sign + + 
' apostrophe ' (sp)
@ commercial at aa or AA or aA
[ opening bracket ( ( 
\ backslash / < 
] closing bracket ) ) 
^ circumflex accent ˆ (sp)
` grave accent ` (sp)
{ opening brace ( - 
| vertical line ^ / 
} closing brace ) - 
~ tilde ~ (sp)