Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Møøse à la hôtel de Sousé

Non-English speakers already know this, but for those who aren't used to them, there is a problem when you're typing a phrase in another language that has one: accent marks.

Of course, most accent marks are available, but in English keyboards, they are nowhere to be seen. Usually, they are dispensed with.

You can use the character map program (built into most word processors) to add it, but it's very inconvenient if you're using them a lot. There's also "charmap" (Click on "Start" and "Run" and use it) to bring up the list to use on the web, but that also takes some time.

The best shortcuts are the Alt key codes. (As a matter of fact, you can use this method to create any character, including all letters, though obviously it's not a good way to type an "e.") The codes are entered on the numeric keypad (not on the number keys) as you hold down the "Alt" key. Each character has a three- and four-digit code.

The basic technique is to hold down Alt and type the numbers. When you life up the Alt Key, the character will display. Thus, if you want an accent grave over the e, you look up the code (0232 or 138), hold down Alt, then type the code: è.

The only problem is knowing the codes. This website gives you a list. You can print it out and keep it handy.

Note that there are other characters that can be created this way: ¶ ± ½ ©

It will give your documents a certain savoir faire.