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How to type accented words


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How to type accented words

  • Hi everybody! Hopefully someone can help me out. I need to know how to type accented letters, as in foreign language typing.


    I take my Dell back and forth between college and home; I have an Aptiva PC at home, and I know how to create accented letters on it, but it involves using the Alt key and the keypad to the right of the regular keyboard.


    Any ideas on how to make accented letters on a Dell? There is no keypad to the right of the regular letters, only the numbers above the letters. Obviously to create a ~(tilde), I'd press the Shift key to get to that function. I'm at a loss as to how to type a letter with that already above it, plus other accent marks.


    Please help if possible!




    Blue Poet

  • I assume that your Inspiron has a normal US-layout keyboard in which case there is an easy solution. The easiest way to type accented characters regularly is to change your keyboard layout through Windows and in your case, the one you are looking for is "US-International".

    You may change your keyboard layout in Control Panel, Regional and Language Options. Go to 'Languages'  tab and click on 'Details' button.  Click Add, to add additional languages and make sure you select 'United States- International' keyboard layout. Alternatively you may add the keyboard to your main typing language (English) without adding additional languages if you want to use US International keyboard all the time and type in different languages without switching language/keyboard layout back and forth all the time.

    The beauty of the US International kb layout is that it does not really disturb typing in English in addition of providing access to various accented and special characters. It also respects fully the keyboard legends. The main difference is 5 keys that become 'dead' keys. These are ~ (tilde), "(double-quote), '(single-quote), `(grave accent) and ^ ( circumflex accent). Basically you type one of these characters before the letter that should receive an accent. When you hit the accent key, nothing appears on the screen. The accent will only appear once you type the character after. This assuming that the letter in question can indeed have an accent. If this is not the case, two characters will appear, the accent character followed by another one.

    Tilde corresponds to the tilde of course. Grave accent is grave accent. Single-quote corresponds to acute accent, but also the cedilla like ç. Double-quote gives an umlaut (diaeresis). For instance, to type ä, you would type first the double-quote followed by letter 'a'. Many special characters needed in foreign languages have also logical kay combinations in US International kb like ß (German sharp-s) which is behind <ctrl><alt>s (all three to be pressed simultaneously) or © (<ctrl> <alt> c ) or ¿ (<ctrl> <alt> ? ) etc.

    Of course you may still need those five 'dead' characters alone sometimes, in which case they can be typed by typing first any of them followed by a space.


  • you can also press the numlock key, so that the letters on the right side of your keyboard function as numbers.  then you'd just use those keys like your numeric keypad.  after you're done, you can press numlock again so they function once more as letters.
  • Thanks very much; I appreciate your help.
  • Probably, the easiest thing to do would be to use the Windows Character map. I forget where it is in older versions of Windows, but in XP, ME, 2000, it would be in Start-All Programs-Accessories-SystemTools.
  • Thank you so much! I was on the phone with dell and chatted with online tech support and then I tried this because they did not know and it worked!

  • All laptops should have the ability to use alt+ like on a desk top.  Very frustrating.