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khim(n) 1.0 tklib "Kevin's Hacky Input Method"


khim - Provides key bindings for entering international characters on a keyboard that does not support them

Table Of Contents



This package provides a set of key bindings to allow a user to enter arbitrary characters on a keyboard that does not support them. It works by designating some seldom-used key of the keyboard as a "Compose" key (this key is distinct from any key so labeled, and is often "Pause," "F12" or "L2"), and having the "Compose" key, followed by a two-key sequence, have the effect of inserting some character in a widget. In addition, the "Compose" key, when struck twice in succession, brings up a dialog containing a Unicode character map, allowing arbitrary characters to be inserted.

The vast bulk of the package's functionality is implemented in a single bindtag, KHIM. An application can request that any text or entry widget use the package to allow for entry of arbitrary characters by placing this binding tag ahead of the Text or Entry binding tag for the widget:

text .t -width 80 -height 24
bindtags .t {.t KHIM Text . all}

Note that the KHIM tag must precede the Text or Entry class binding, or the package will not function correctly.


In addition to commands supporting the KHIM binding tag, the following commands are exported from the package:

::khim::getOptions path

Posts a top-level modal dialog with the path name path that prompts the user for KHIM options. The user is allowed to reconfigure the key sequences for the "Compose" key, change the choice of key to use for the "Compose" function, and enable/disable the KHIM key bindings entirely.


Returns a Tcl script that restores the current configuration of KHIM: the enabled/disabled state, the choice of "Compose" key, and the key sequences that may be composed. This script is designed to be saved to a configuration file for use in a subsequent invocation of the same application:

# Save KHIM configuration
set f [open ~/.khimrc w]
puts $f [::khim::getConfig]
close $f
# Restore KHIM configuration
source ~/.khimrc
::khim::setConfig version enabled compose map

Restores an earlier saved configuration. Few, if any, applications will call this command in any other way than to evaluate it as returned from ::khim::getConfig.

::khim::showHelp path

Displays a top-level dialog giving user-level help for KHIM; the dialog will have the path name path.


Programmers who wish to make KHIM available in a non-English-speaking locale may do so by providing a .msg file with the appropriate localised text. The catalog requires the following messages:


Text that will appear on the "Apply" button in the dialog that sets KHIM options.


Text that will appear on the "Cancel" button in several dialogs.


Text that will appear on the "Change" button, which alters the binding of a pair of composed characters (creating or replacing as appropriate).


Text that will appear on the label of the entry widget that accepts a character resulting from a composed sequence.

{Compose Key}

Window title for a dialog that prompts the user to strike the key that will be used for the "Compose" key.

{Compose key:}

Label that identifies a component showing the "Compose" key choice in the KHIM options dialog.

{Composed sequence must be two characters long}

Error message that is displayed if the user attempts to define a "Compose" sequence that is shorter or longer than two characters.


Text for a button that deletes a "Compose" sequence.


Text for a button that displays the KHIM user help dialog.


Complete text for the user-level help for KHIM. Refer to "en.msg" for the English-language version of the help.

{Input key sequence}

Text for a label of the entry widget that prompts the user for a two-character sequence to use with the "Compose" key.

{Insert Character}

Window title of the dialog box that displays a Unicode character map and prompts the user to select a character to insert.

{Key sequences}

Text for a label at the head of a listbox showing the composed sequences that are currently bound.

{KHIM Controls}

Window title for the dialog box that prompts for KHIM settings.

{KHIM Help}

Window title for the window that display help text for KHIM.


Label for the OK button on several dialogs.

Select code page:

Label for a spinbox that prompts the user for a Unicode code page number.


A message, which should be composed in short lines, prompting the user to press the key that will become the "Compose" key in KHIM.


Text for a button that brings up the character map to select the character to which a composed sequence binds.

{Use KHIM}

Text for a checkbutton that asks whether the user wishes to use KHIM to manage composed key sequences.


KHIM was originally inspired by the key bindings that Brent Welch developed for the 'sedit' editor used in the 'exmh' mail user agent. The code for KHIM is entirely separate from that for 'sedit'.

Bugs, Ideas, Feedback

This document, and the package it describes, will undoubtedly contain bugs and other problems. Please report such in the category khim of the Tklib Trackers. Please also report any ideas for enhancements you may have for either package and/or documentation.


character, i18n, input, international, method