# Use LaTeX syntax to enter non-standard characters

Sometimes it is handy to be able to enter non-standard characters in emacs documents. For example I sometimes need to use a £ symbol but my US keyboard doesn’t have one. Other times I need to add an accent or similar to a letter like é or ö. There is a nice overview of the ways to do this at Mastering Emacs, and here I’ll pick out the method I find most useful.

Since I use LaTeX a lot and am familiar with its syntax for symbols, I use C-\ to run the command toggle-input-method and then enter TeX as the alternate input method. Now I am in TeX input mode I can enter a string like \pound and have it appear as £ or \"o to give me ö. Pressing C-\ again now toggles back and forth between normal and TeX input modes.

For symbols you use a lot, you can also set up abbreviations e.g. by entering gbp C-x a - C-\ \pound we set the text gbp to expand to £.