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Thanks for your relpy, Simos.
I had assumed that I was (or should be) getting single Unicode characters, and I think you have 
confirmed that in your reply. 

I was wondering if the language input setting should be regarded as local or global; I had assumed 
global, but a few tests have shown that actually the setting is local for each document, so no 
problem there

I still have a problem with the "dead" key combinations, which appear to stop working at random 
times, for no apparent reason. This may be a problem with LO, or it may be a problem with windows 
(7); since the problem appears to manifest at random times, it's difficult, if not impossible, to 
know the source or cause.

The problem may be exemplified as follows (I hope these characters still display correctly after I 
press "send"!!):

Normally, using polytonic Greek keyboard, 
A key gives "bare" alpha, α
"dead" key / , followed by A key, gives alpha +smooth breathing + acute, ἄ
"dead" key Shift+/, followed by A key, gives alpha + rough breathing + acute, ἅ
Adding AltGr to the "dead" key combination adds an iota subscript, so:
altGr + / followed by A gives ᾄ
altGr + shift + / followed by A gives ᾅ

Then something mysterious, as yet undetected, happens, and most of these stop working:
A key still gives alpha, α
"dead" key / , followed by A still gives ἄ
but all the other combinations now give bare alpha, α.

It's as if the "dead" keys on their own still work, but combinations with shift, or with altGr, or 
both, stop working.

As I say, I don't know where the problem arises, but it's making life rather frustrating at the 
moment. I can usually, eventually, get the problem to go away, at least for a while, but again, 
there seems to be no consistent way to do this; what works some times doesn't work at other times. 
I'd like to be able to get to the bottom of this somehow.


       From: Simos Xenitellis <>
 To: Gary Collins <> 
Cc: Tom Davies <>; "" <> 
 Sent: Monday, 9 February 2015, 8:24
 Subject: Re: [libreoffice-users] LO (writer, esp.) and alternative keyboard layouts

On 6 February 2015 at 10:11, Gary Collins <> wrote:
I've been having some trouble lately using in Writer especially when using alternative keyboard 
mappings (Windows 7). Yesterday, for example, I was using a mapping that was basically English 
but which included macron vowels (that's vowels with a bar over the top, used, e.g., to indicate 
a long vowel in works of reference for Latin). I found that the assigned key combination - in 
this case, AltGr+vowel - was giving me a vowel with something like an acute accent over it 
instead of a bar - though the key combination was working OK in other applications, e.g. WordPad 
and even the humble NotePad.It did start to work, however; but in order to get it to do so, I had 
to set the keyboard in the language bar whilst the LO document was active. Is this the expected 
behaviour? Should LO override the locale settings in cases like this? (wondering).

When you type characters with diacritics, you can get either a
"precomposed character" or a "character with diacritics". It depends
on the keyboard layout that is active at the moment.
For Windows and the default Latin/Greek keyboard layouts, you get
precomposed characters. These are single Unicode characters that show
the letter with any accents/diacritics drawn on it. They look really
well, because the font designer had to draw them with the diacritics
on top.
The Unicode standard stopped accepting those precomposed characters
into the standard about 15 years ago because you had to have all
combinations of letters with accents into the standard.
The keyboard layouts for Latin and Greek produce precomposed
characters. For some exotic Latin scripts, there are no precomposed
characters, so they use diacritics.

ALPHA with TONOS: ά (precomposed, it's a single character)
ALPHA with TONOS: ά (with diacritic, it's actually two characters!)

I have an impression you are hitting some issue with the above two
different ways to represent characters with accents/diacritics.

Again, whilst using the polytonic Greek keyboard, I have noticed that from time to time the key 
combinations required to obtain some of the special characters "stop working" - that is, the key 
presses appear to be detected, but they stop having the desired effect. An example: to obtain an 
alpha with a rough breathing, acute accent and iota subscript, I would have to first press the 
combination <altGr + shift + '/'>, release those keys, and then press 'a' (for alpha). It's the 
<altGr + shift> combination that stops working here; when I press 'a' I get an alpha alright, 
but without the special diacritics (I think that's the right word).Using a combination without 
<shift> and/or <altGr> still works; e.g. I can press (and release) '/' and then press 'a' and 
get an alpha with smooth breathing and acute, which is the expected behaviour.

When you press AltGr+Shift+/, you are instructing the operating system
that you are typing a "dead key"; nothing appears on the screen but if
the next character is a certain one defined in the keyboard layout,
then you will get that letter with the desired accent(s).
"I would have to first press the combination <altGr + shift + '/'>,
release those keys, and then press 'a' (for alpha)" is indeed the
proper way to hit the dead key, and then hit the letter.
If you do not hit the appropriate letter, then the dead key is
dropped/cancelled so that you can continue typing.
In Windows you can type up to one dead key and then a letter.

I've no idea why this sometimes goes awry; the focus does not leave the document in question, 
and I haven't noticed a consistent combination of keystrokes/actions preceding the cessation of 
functionality. Similarly, I haven't found a consistent way to restore it - I can generally do 
so, eventually, but it seems to require different steps each time; such steps might include 
changing the keyboard from polytonic Greek to English and back again, using the language button 
on the desktop toolbar and/or using my assigned key combinations (in case these are significant, 
I use <ctrl + alt + 1> to change to the polytonic Greek and <ctrl + alt + 0> to change to the 
English layout; <Left Alt + Shift> changes between languages (default)); clicking an empty area 
of the desktop to lose the focus from Writer; giving the focus to a different document; and so 

Any idea what I might be doing to cause LO Writer to go awry (prevention is better than cure)? 
Or the reason why it might be going wrong? Or if there is, in fact, a consistent way to restore 
it (but I just haven't found it yet)?

LO Writer should work without issues. I use it on Ubuntu and I could
not get such a problem.

One cause could be the keyboard layout in Windows sending (sometimes?)
diacritic characters.
You may mistype some of the dead keys, and they produce diacritics
into the document.
Sounds improbable, but it's the only thing I have in mind.
If you can export a sample paragraph into plaintext file (.txt), it's
possible to have a look into a hex editor.

There should be code in LO Writer that deals with dead keys. It's
possible that you have found a sequence of keys that confuse LO Writer
on Windows.


Any helpful info gratefully received!

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