Compose Keys: a windows drop-in replacement for the Linux "Compose" key. Quickly type accented letter and symbols using 2-character combinations
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Compose Keys

"compose-keys" mimics the functionality of the "Compose" key on Linux computers, and allows you to type accented letters and special symbols by pressing a modifier key followed by intuitive 2-letter combinations.


Download the latest version of compose-keys using the Zip button above. It is a portable application: unzip it, and copy the contents to a folder on your computer. Then double-click the "compose.exe" file to start the program. You can of course create a shortcut to this file if you need to. There is also a 64bit version ("compose64.exe") for those who need/prefer it.

A new icon will appear in your tray menu; this controls "compose-keys". Right-click to access the menu to Enable/Disable, change Settings, to Restart and to view the Help file. At the top of the menu you can also see the currently active "modifier key".

"compose-keys" is written in AutoHotKey, compiled to a portable .exe, and would not be even remotely possible without the help and libraries of many others on the AHK forum. Thank you all!

If you find compose-keys useful and would like to express your appreciation, please consider donating.

How To Use

Press and release the 'modifier' key¹, then type any of the 2-letter sequences listed below to obtain the accent or symbol you need.

¹ by default [ Right Alt ] key; however this can easily be changed in the settings dialog


To obtain [ á ] you would press [ Right-Alt ] then [ ' ] then [ a ]. The order is important!

  • Generally for accented letters the key sequence is: modifier => accent => letter
  • For symbols it varies according to the list in the link below. The 2 characters chosen are usually quite logical and easy to learn.


Using the tray icon menu (right click) you can access this help file, and the configuration file, where the following can be changed:

  1. SoundOnReset : plays a small blip sound to tell you that the program has loaded, or that the modifier key has been reset (by pressing it twice)

  2. ModifierKey : which key should be used as a modifier, e.g. Caps Lock, Right Alt, Left Alt, Right Control, Left Control, Right Shift, Left Shift, None etc... If you select None then the Capslock function below will be turned on by default.

  3. UseCapslock : Also use the Capslock key as a modifier. The normal Capslock function can be accessed via "Shift + Capslock" or "Ctrl + Capslock".

  4. ResetDelay : delay (in microseconds: 1000 = 1 sec) before the modifier key is reset, to prevent unwanted key compositions. Default = 2000ms

Compose Key Table

These are the various Linux compose key options, all 385 of them!