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My increasingly-convoluted keyboard shortcut system for special characters

Posted: August 3, 2018
Modified March 25, 2019

Get the .ahk file for special characters, Greek, and Cyrillic here

Get the .ahk file for Hiragana and Katakana here

(The IPA one isn't ready for public consumption yet, sorry!)


Microsoft Word has a few keyboard shortcuts based on what they call prefix keys. For example, pressing Ctrl and ' is a prefix key for adding acute accents, such as áéíóú. The same functionality is present for Ctrl and ` (grave accent), and Ctrl and ~.

Ctrl + ', a → á
Ctrl + `, o → à
Ctrl + ~, n → ñ

Microsoft Word's prefix keys are incomplete--what if I want to write about the historic Polish princess Świętosława? Or Czech inventor Josef Průša? So I opened up AutoHotKey and made my own, incorporating as many Unicode characters as I could, regardless of usefulness. I hope it's clear why certain symbols are under certain prefix keys; the exception is the Ctrl + / prefix, which I saved for the odds and ends that I personally found useful in one or more college classes.

My original table

  Acute accent
Ctrl + '
Grave accent
Ctrl + `
Double-acute accent
Ctrl + "
Tilde and "dark l"
Ctrl + ~
Umlaut or diaeresis
Ctrl + :
Circumflex
Ctrl + ^
Hacek or caron
Ctrl+&
Ring or loop
Ctrl + @
Aa ÁáÀà ÃãÄäÂâǍǎÅå
Bb
Cc Ćć ĈĉČč  ɕ
Dd Ďď  ȡ
Ee ÉéÈè ẼẽËëÊêĚě
Ff
Gg Ǵǵ ĜĝǦǧ
Hh Ḧḧ Ȟȟ
Ii ÍíÌì ĨĩÏïÎîǏǐ
Jj Ĵĵ   ʝ
Kk Ḱḱ Ǩǩ
Ll   ɫ   ȴ
Mm Ḿḿ
Nn Ńń Ññ Ňň  ȵ
Oo ÓóÒòŐőÕõÖöÔôǑǒ  ⱺ
Pp Ṕṕ
Qq
Rr Řř
Ss Śś ŜŝŠš
Tt   ẗ   ȶ
Uu ÚúÙùŰűŨũÜüÛûǓǔŮů
Vv Ṽṽ   ⱴ
Ww ẂẃẀẁ ẄẅŴŵ   ẘ
Xx Ẍẍ   ɣ
Yy ÝýỲỳ ŸÿŶŷ   ẙ
Zz ẐẑŽž  ʑ
!? ¡¿
Spacebar (combining acute accent)(combining grave accent)(combining double acute accent)(combining tilde)(combining diaeresis)(combining circumflex accent)(combining caron)(combining ring above)

Cedilla
Ctrl + ,
Ogonek
Ctrl + <
Dot above
Ctrl + .
Dot below
Ctrl + >
Breve
Ctrl+)
Inverted breve
Ctrl + (
Macron above or below
Ctrl + _
Useful odds and ends
Ctrl + /
Aa ĄąȦȧẠạĂăȂȃĀāÆæ
Bb ḂḃḄḅ Ḇḇ
Cc Çç Ċċ ©¢
Dd ḊḋḌḍ ḎḏÐð
Ee ȨȩĘęĖėẸẹĔĕȆȇĒē€ə
Ff Ḟḟ flfi
Gg Ģģ Ġġ Ğğ Ḡḡ  ɡ
Hh ḢḣḤḥḪḫ Ħħ
Ii ĮįİıỊịĬĭȊȋĪīİı
Jj   ȷ
Kk Ķķ Ḳḳ Ḵḵ
Ll Ļļ ĿŀḶḷ ḺḻŁł
Mm ṀṁṂṃ
Nn Ņņ ṄṅṆṇ ṈṉŊŋ
Oo ǪǫȮȯỌọŎŏȎȏŌōŒœ
Pp Ṗṗ ¶§
Qq
Rr Ŗŗ ṘṙṚṛ ȒȓṞṟ®₽
Ss Șș ṠṡṢṣ ʃß
Tt Țț ṪṫṬṭ ṮṯÞþ
Uu Ųų ỤụŬŭȖȗŪūØø
Vv Ṿṿ
Ww ẆẇẈẉ Ƿƿ
Xx Ẋẋ
Yy ẎẏỴỵ ȲȳȜȝ
Zz ŻżẒẓ Ẕẕ  ʒ
!?:'.0$ ‽ʔːˈ·∅£
Spacebar (combining cedilla below)(combining ogonek below)(combining dot above)(combining dot below)(combining breve)(combining inverted breve)(combining macron below)(combining macron above)

Going even further - Greek and Cyrillic

There are enough other prefix keys available that I don't have to stop at Roman-alphabet diacritics. How about Greek and Cyrillic alphabets? Now, to fit all the characters and variants (and still make them memorable enough for me to use them), I had to use more than one keystroke for the prefix.

Greek
Ctrl + $
Greek extra
Ctrl + $, Space
Cyrillic
Ctrl + %
Cyrillic extra
Ctrl + %, Space
Aa Αα Аа
Bb Ββ  ϐБб
Cc ΧχϹϲЦцЧч
Dd Δδ ДдЂђ
Ee Εε  ϵЕеЄє
Ff Φφ  ϕФф
Gg Γγ ГгЏџ
Hh ΗηⱵⱶЫыЬь
Ii Ιι ИиІі
Jj ЙйЈј
Kk Κκ  ϰКк
Ll Λλ Лл
Mm ΜμϠϡМм
Nn ΝνϺϻНнЊњ
Oo Οο ОоЁё
Pp Ππ  ϖПп
Qq ΘθϴϑЪъ
Rr Ρρ  ϱРр
Ss Σσ  ςСсШш
Tt ΤτϚϛТтЩщ
Uu Υυ  ϒУуЮю
Vv Вв
Ww ΩωϜϝ
Xx Ξξ Хх
Yy Ψψ ЭэЯя
Zz Ζζ ЗзЖж
!1 ϘϙϞϟ
& ϗϏ

Even furtherer - Japanese kana

I don't have a great way to portray this in a table, but Ctrl + { and Ctrl + } prefix hiragana and katakana, respectively. Follow the prefix with any romaji—a for あ and ア, pa for ぱ and パ, sho for しょ and ショ, and so on.

The furthererest I've gone - IPA symbols and diacritics

There are over 150 symbols and diacritics in IPA proper, plus more for disused symbols (like ʇ, ʗ, and ʖ) as well as extensions (like ʬ and ʭ for disordered speech). I'm still thinking of logical ways to quickly access any of them (suggestions are welcome!); for now I am using Ctrl + !, followed by a five-letter sequence described below.

To type a standard pulmonic consonant:

To type a nonpulmonic consonant:

To type a vowel:

To type a modifying symbol or diacritic: