Feb 292020

I used to be able to remember all of the keyboard short-cuts I’d set up to insert ‘fun’ (or useful) Unicode characters … but my memory isn’t quite what it used to be, and I happened to catch a video that mentioned a menu to insert Unicode characters.

So I set out to create my own …

# Run a menu of Unicode characters to put into the clipboard

read -r -d '' menu << END
Þ       Thorn (Sym-t)
Þ	Capital thorn (Sym-T)
✓	Tick (Sym-y)
✔       Alternate tick (Sym-Y)
π	pi (Sym-p)
Π       PI (Sym-P)
★       Star
🖕      Finger

selectedchar=$(echo $menu |\
  rofi -dmenu -l 20 -fn misc-24 -p "Unicode inserter" |\
  awk '{print $1}')
if [ -z "$selectedchar" ]
  notify-send "Unicode Inserter" "Cancelled"
  printf "%s" $selectedchar | xclip -selection clipboard
  notify-send "Unicode Inserter" \
    "Character $selectedchar now in clipboard"

This script :-

  1. Creates a variable with a whole pile of text inside it. The original script contains a lot longer list, but including it would be a) boring and b) give too much away. As it stands, the format of each line is pretty much anything you want as long as the first character is the Unicode character followed by whitespace.
  2. Runs rofi with the variable as input and selects the first field of the response.
  3. Guards against the empty selection (when the menu was cancelled) for neatness mostly.
  4. Prints the selected character (without a newline) into xclip so it can be pasted in. I did try using xdotool to type it directly into the active window, but this didn’t always work so well (i.e. xdotool couldn’t “type” some of the more esoteric characters).
  5. And uses notify-send to alert the dumb user (me!) that something has happened.

Lastly, to make this useful, I added an entry to my sxhkd configuration :-

super + F11