How to set up Linux (well, Xorg) for typing of áccented characters:
There is a fancy way to do this in KDE and Gnome, but I do not use those.
The basic idea is that commercial UNIX had this "compose" key on the keyboard which would be used in the pattern COMPOSE-'-e to generate "é". This is not present on PC hardware, but the functionality is still in software.
You just need to assign this compose key (or ALTGr key, or Multi key) to an existing key. So find the keycode of an existing key with xev, and then use xmodmap to reassign the key to "Multikey" like so:
xmodmap -e "keycode 234 = Multi_key"