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Accents / Keyboards

by Ursula Hoffmann

To obtain special characters and accents on a Macintosh computer, use the Option key and the desired special character.

The following instructions apply to computers running on Windows 95/98/NT/.

To change the keyboard layout on your own PC running Windows, go to Control Panel, choose Keyboard and add the keyboard you want (under "Language").   [You may be prompted to insert your Windows disk for the new driver.]  For the US-International keyboard, add another "English" keyboard whose "Properties" (Layout) are set to US-International.

To change the keyboard layout in Windows XP, go to Control Panel, Regional and Languages, click the Languages tab, Details, Settings, and add the keyboard you want.


When additional keyboards are added, an optional blue icon appears on your task bar that will let you quickly switch between keyboards.


The US-International keyboard is useful as it works for many languages.
It turns apostrophes, trema, tilde, and circumflex keys into "dead" keys.  (Marked in red on the illustrations below).  When you press, say, an apostrophe, it does not show on the screen.  The computer is waiting for the next key.
e.g., (a vowel) you press ' and then e:    you get é  (accented vowel)
e.g., (a consonant) you press ' and then h:    you get 'h  (apostrophe + consonant)
          Accented consonants N and C:  Use the ~ key + n for ñ and the ' + c for ç
If you want to type the apostrophe or quotation mark by itself (e.g., before a vowel), press the apostrophe (or quotation mark) then press the spacebar then press the vowel.

For all Windows programs, such as Excel, IE, Netscape, Word, WordPerfect, the US-International keyboard shown below will work.

(sample "dead" keys):  press the keys in the top row to get the letter in the bottom row:
" a
' a
` a
^ a
~ n
' c
' C
Ctrl-Alt-5
ä
á
à
â
ñ
ç
Ç

 US-International keyboard

Some special characters are shown in blue.  For these characters, hold down both Ctrl and Alt key and press the letter.  The chart below includes more:
 
ALT+CTL+
s
1
/
[
]
c
r
5
7
w
 =
ß
¡
¿
«
»
©
®
 
½
å
 
German
ess-zet
Spanish 
inverted !
Spanish 
inverted ?
French 
left quote
French 
right quote
copy- 
right
trade- 
mark
Euro 
symbol 
(see link below)
(and other 
fractions)
 

There are many other special characters; test for them.
In Word, use the character map (usually found under "Accessories."  Be sure you use a font that contains accents, such as Arial or Times New Roman).
In WordPerfect, press Ctrl+W for multiple keyboards & characters.


French keyboards

It is recommended that you use the US-International keyboard described above.
However, you may find the following keyboards useful to know.

French-Canadian keyboard:

Resembles US keyboard layout (QWERTY) and permits accents on capital letters.
red = dead key + vowel (or C) for accents
blue = CTL+ALT + letter for special characters

French-Canadian keyboard

"French" keyboard:

Differs from US keyboard (AZERTY layout).  No accents on capital letters.  This is the standard keyboard in France, in the DOM-TOM and in Francophone Africa
red = dead key + vowel (or C) for accents
blue = CTL+ALT + letter for special characters

French keyboard



The Euro--a new symbol: your font may need a patch
See also More help with foreign characters for other software.

last revised November 2004