When making a digraph, I can't seem use the ¨ symbol without getting an E39: Number expected. This error is there even when escaping it with a backslash.

  • 1
    What keys are you entering exactly? – Martin Tournoij Oct 7 '16 at 1:10
  • Is your 'encoding' multibyte? :digraphs appears to want two bytes rather than two characters. – Antony Jan 3 '17 at 23:19

You can make it output a ¨ by putting 168 as the output symbol, i.e. with, say, :dig um 168, but not use inside a digraph itself (:dig a\168 228 still wont make <c-k>a¨ output ä.)

Even the predefined digraphs use : instead; e.g. <c-k>a: give you ä.


If the digraph has a code point (usually found by a web search for unicode <character description>), you can just use <c-v>u#### to directly enter it. For example <c-v>u00e4 yields ä.

This does assume your editor can interpret the UTF-8 encoding.

  • The unicode.vim has a very useful :UnicodeSearch command. e.g. :UnicodeSearch smile. I think it also includes some useful digraph functions that may be helpful here (but I don't use digraphs do I'm not too familiar with it). – Martin Tournoij Jan 4 '17 at 15:48
  • That's an interesting project. I'll have to take a closer look when I have some down time. I normally use Unicode for the super and subscripts, but occasionally I'll need the digraphs for author names. – Keith Prussing Jan 4 '17 at 16:02

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