What is the "Alternate Characters Key" in Gnome Settings under Keyboard Shortcuts?

What is this options? I can’t find any documentation about it:

At first I thought it was an alternate way to say “Compose Key”, but that’s apparently not the case because when I have this option set to Right Alt, and I try pressing right-alt plus ~ followed by n I do not get the character ñ.

However, if I go into Tweaks (gnome-tweaks) I can turn on “Compose Key” and choose a key there, and that works.

What does the “Alternate Characters Key” option do?

It’s a modifier key — usually labelled Alt Gr — for entering characters from the third level (similar to shift, which does the same for the second level).

Does anyone know how to disable this option? I do not need it but it forces me to select a key for this option. Any key I select in this option cannot be used for its original purposes. I need every key on my keyboard to do what it was made to do. It is very important. Plz, tell me if anybody knows.

As @fmuellner said (and is somewhat explained in the dialogue) it’s AltGr

Alternative Characters Key
Hold down and type to enter different characters

The alternate characters key can be used to enter additional characters. These are sometimes printed as a third-option on your keyboard.

Whilst your keyboard may only have 2 characters per key they can actually produce 4

Modifier Level Key Result
[None] 1 A a
Shift 2 A A
AltGr 3 A æ
AltGr+Shift 4 A Æ

The full mappings for my keyboard (See Settings ⟶ Region & Language ⟶ Input Sources ⟶ “Eye” Button)
image

Note on a UK keyboard we do have keys with 3 printed symbols (¬ ` | and 4 $ €)
image

We also do not have a second Alt key, instead having an AltGr key - otherwise we couldn’t use €
image

So whilst your keyboard may not have a printed AltGr I suggest you just set the “Alternative Characters Key” to be “Right Alt” - highly unlikely your using that key for anything anyway

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