ESCDELAY allows the setting and retrieval of the Unicode Enhanced Script Input Mode ESC Delay duration. ESC is the escape key, and if the ESC key is pressed and held for the duration specified by the ESC Delay, then the Enhanced Script Input Mode is invoked. This mode allows for the input of complex Unicode characters that may require multiple keystrokes.


esccdelay [-n <delay>]


  • -n [delay]: Set the ESC Delay duration to [delay] in milliseconds. If [delay] is not specified, the current ESC Delay duration is displayed.


  • Get the current ESC Delay duration:
esccdelay -n
  • Set the ESC Delay duration to 500 milliseconds:
esccdelay -n 500

Common Issues

  • ESC Delay not working: Ensure that the Enhanced Script Input Mode is enabled in your input method settings.
  • Unexpected character input: Adjust the ESC Delay duration to prevent accidental invocation of the Enhanced Script Input Mode.


ESCDELAY can be used with other commands to automate character input sequences. For example, the following command sequence presses the ESC key for 500 milliseconds, types "€", and then releases the ESC key:

esccdelay -n 500
echo -n "€"

Related Commands

  • `setxkbmap**: Configure the keyboard layout and options.
  • `xmodmap**: Modify the keyboard key mapping.