Lazy Geek Hack: Mismatch of Ubuntu and Microsoft Keyboards

Lt. Felix Gaeta: Sir, I’m running every diagnostic we’ve got. Checking each line of code could take days.
Col. Saul Tigh: I am not interested in excuses. Fix it.
Lt. Felix Gaeta: [shouting] It’s not an excuse, sir. It’s a fracking fact!

Though I may be a walking Apple advertisement, I am still a fanboy of Microsoft products (yeah, I know that some times this isn’t all that obvious).  Today’s lazy geek hack is in reference to the awesomely comfortable and ergonomic Microsoft keyboards and Ubuntu OS.  Today’s keyboard of choice is the Microsoft Sculpt Comfort keyboard though this seems to be happening to all of my Microsoft wireless ergo keyboards.

The Problem

When I have these keyboards plugged into an Ubuntu box, some of the keys do not work.  I’m not referring to the multimedia keys (I don’t use them but give KeyTouch a try if you want) but obvious keys on the keyboard (which fail when you try to test them out on the keyboard layout as well).  For example, I cannot type “H” (<h> works and <shift> works, but <shift><h> does not work!) nor does the <-> key work at all (so I have neither “-” nor “_”).

The Lazy Solution

I did connect to the AskUbuntu forums as well as StackOverflow and Quora but there were no obvious solutions (well, to me anyways).  So my lazy way of solving this problem (in my spare time I’m trying to resurrect my Macbook Air which literally drowned in a pool of coffee – yes, a very Seattle way to go) is to type Linux Unicode code point.

Basically, the key pattern is <Ctrl><Shift><U> + [code point].

A good reference to the code points can be found at but for my specific issue, it is:

H, 0048

-, 002d

_, 005f

So if I wanted the capital H, my sequence would be <Ctrl><Shift><U>0048<Enter>


Yeah, I know  –  not the most efficient way to do this, but it does work and just in case you happen to run into this, here’s yet another lazy hack.  Enjoy!

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