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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