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[Help-nano] Neither Emacs nor Vim nor Nano handle ligature literal inser

From: Andrew Pennebaker
Subject: [Help-nano] Neither Emacs nor Vim nor Nano handle ligature literal insertion well
Date: Fri, 2 Feb 2018 16:31:05 -0600


I would really like convenient access to ligatures in my word processing software. Unfortunately, none of the major text editing applications appears to handle ligatures intelligently: Each of Emacs, Vim, Nano, MS Word, Google Drive, Libre Office, and InDesign type a dumb "ae" when the user presses the a and e keyboard keys, whereas historically this sequence is typically rendered with the ash æ rune.

I am able to work around this limitation in most applications by configuring TextExpander (macOS, Windows) or autokey (Linux) to match the keyboard sequence "ae" and replace this with "æ". This allows most UTF-8 compatible graphical software, from Web browsers to document editors, to correctly insert æ in place of ae. However, traditional text editors including Emacs, Vim, and Nano are evidently NOT able to handle a literal æ rune insertion, and tend to raise a generic error message when the text expander application attempts to insert this key. This may be a result of a conflict between shell encodings (need UTF-8 everywhere, though I'm currently typing this with a bare Windows COMSPEC command prompt session). In any case, it stinks that the user cannot easily insert ligatures into text editors, so copying & pasting from Wikipedia via the OS clipboard appears to be one of the more (in)convenient options for accessing ligatures. We can do better!


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