Cant create the pipe symbol ( | ) inside a Debian VM running on a MacOS host


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I just set up a Debian VM on my MacBook, and when I try to create the pipe symbol by pressing option + 7, it does the following:


Why is this and what can I do about it?

Also, a little side question:
Why does this work: cat test.txt > test2.txt
But not this: cat test.txt | echo > test2.txt?

It was my understanding that
1. the output of "cat text.txt" would become the input of "echo"
2. that the output of echo is basically its input, and
3. redirecting the output of echo should eventually write the content of text.txt into text2.txt

I was obviously wrong as it does not work that way, what did I miss here?

Edit: I solved my initial problem, the key combination is right alt + <.

I would still love to hear an answer to my second question though
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