Dead Key

A dead key is a special kind of a modifier key on a typewriter or computer keyboard that is typically used to attach a specific diacritic to a base letter. The dead key does not generate a (complete) character by itself but modifies the character generated by the key struck immediately after. Thus, a dedicated key is not needed for each possible combination of a diacritic and a letter, but rather only one dead key for each diacritic is needed, in addition to the normal base letter keys.

For example, if a keyboard has a dead key for the grave accent (`), the French character à can be generated by first pressing ` and then A, whereas è can be generated by first pressing ` and then E. Usually, the diacritic in an isolated form can be generated with the dead key followed by space, so a plain grave accent can be typed by pressing ` and then Space.

Read more about Dead KeyUsage, Dead Keys On Various Keyboard Layouts

Other articles related to "key, keys, dead key, dead keys, dead":

Compose Key
... A compose key, available on some computer keyboards, is a special kind of modifier key designated to signal the software to interpret the following (usually two ... The compose key is different from a typical modifier key (such as AltGr) in that, rather than being pressed and held while another key is struck, it is pressed and released before striking the keys to be ... Though it can be considered a type of dead key, the compose key differs in that a normal dead key produces part of the composite, typically a diacritic, to ...
Dead Keys On Various Keyboard Layouts
... A key may function as a dead key by default, and many non-English keyboard layouts in particular have dead keys directly on the keyboard ... The basic US keyboard does not have any dead keys, but the US-International keyboard layout, available on Windows and the X Window System, places some dead ... systems, such as the MSX, often had a special key labeled dead key, which in combination with the Ctrl and Shift keys could be used to add some of the ...
Tilde - Keyboards
... On many keyboards it is primarily available through a dead key that makes it possible to produce a variety of precomposed characters with the diacritic ... a single tilde can typically be inserted with the dead key followed by the space bar, or alternatively by striking the dead key twice in a row ... To insert a tilde with the dead key, it is often necessary to simultaneously hold down the Alt Gr key ...

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