I am a user of the US-International keyboard layout and the German language. Somehow Emacs does not allow me to access those Alt-Gr characters for example the German Eszett "ß" and many others:

US-Intl layout Characters I am able to access on Notepad in Windows 10

How do you access those characters in Emacs?

Edit: I'm calling emacs from WSL (Debian is installed) in Windows 10, displaying emacs through the VcXsrv X Server. Within Windows 10, Eszett "ß" can be access by pressing AltGr + S, for applications such as Notepad. However, this doesn't work in this emacs: basically none of the AltGr combinations work, and only those dead keys work to create modified characters, e.g. ä, ö, ü.


  • 2
    It may help to edit your question and add operating system information (Win/Linux?). Also, you may want to check emacs input methods; there are 3 input methods for German.
    – Juancho
    Sep 23, 2020 at 13:59
  • Also, see if it works when you run emacs -Q. This skips loading your configuration, so if it works with -Q then the problem is something you've configured. It may also help to compare what C-h k says when you type an eszett with and without your configuration.
    – db48x
    Sep 23, 2020 at 16:27
  • It's impossible to answer this question without knowing what operating system you're using, what version of Emacs, and where you got that version of Emacs. Sep 23, 2020 at 18:44
  • Also you need to say what combination of keys you press outside of Emacs to get this Eszett and what happens in Emacs when you press that same combination of keys.
    – Stefan
    Sep 23, 2020 at 22:04

2 Answers 2


Just found this issue, looking around the internet I came across this page, and the solution is at the bottom, basically you have to set the keyboard mapping with the following command on the Debian terminal:

setxkbmap us -variant intl

I use US-INTL, so from what I am reading on your question, this is your case too. Finally you might want to add it to your .profile, .bashrc, o wherever you need it.

  • Thank you for summarizing the info available at the link. That's the right thing to do (as opposed to just posting a link-only answer).
    – Drew
    Mar 16, 2021 at 17:42
  • Never heard of this programming language (Pharo) but the solution from that page works. Now I really feel more home in Emacs using WSL. Thanks!
    – menuhin
    Mar 20, 2021 at 8:20

I am using EurKEY as my keyboard layout. This allows me to use the right Alt key as a modifier for those special characters.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.