Typing Spanish Characters -  Revisited...

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I received quite a bit of mail following last month's article on better ways of entering Spanish characters into your PC.  A friend from San Ramon wrote back and recommended buying a Spanish/English keyboard.  Not a bad idea for a fully dedicated desktop computer but I do a lot of work on a laptop.  Dragging along a full-size, additional keyboard was not in the cards. 

The best new idea came from Pat W from Houston Texas.


Using the ASCII Extended Character Set can be a real pain in the "ano" when working with a laptop.  For starters, a laptop does not have a separate numeric keypad.  Therefore, every time you need to type numbers you will need to activate the NUM LOCK key.  The numbers 1 through 0 across the top of your laptop's keyboard will not work. 

Once you have activated the Num Lock key, press the ALT key followed  by the required three or four digit ASCII numerical code numbers on the main keyboard.  That's not such a big deal.  What is a big deal is you need to DEACTIVATE the Num Lock key before entering any additional text.  If you forget to do that step, you will wind up typing an incoherent alpha numeric string of characters.

Pat's suggestion eliminates the need for an external keyboard, eliminates the need for an ASCII code cheat sheet and eliminates the need to activate and deactivate your Num Lock key.  Her solution involves modifying your Windows Control Panel to allow for the simple entering of Extended Characters.

 

Setting Up An Int'l Keyboard in Win XP

  1. Click START button

  2. Open Control Panel

  3. Double Click Regional and Language Options to open that window

  4. Click Languages tab

  5. Click Details... button - Your default language is probably set to English United States) Keyboard.  Within the Installed Services box, click on the Add... button.

  6. In the Keyboard layout/IME dropdown box, click on the down arrow and select United States-International and click OK to return to the Languages tab.

  7. Click OK top return to the Regional and Language Options window.

 

Using the New International Keyboard

  1. You will now notice a new icon that looks like a little keyboard in the lower right corner of your screen.

  2. Click on the icon and select the new US International Keyboard.

  3. To enter your typical Spanish characters, simply hold down the RIGHT ALT key and press the desired character. 

  4. To enter the letter "n" with a tilde ~ above it, hold down the right ALT key and press the letter "n".  The result will be the letter "". 

  5. If you need the upper case equivalent, just hold down any SHIFT key plus the Right ALT and then the desired letter.

  6. Below is an ASCII Chart showing all the regular and upper case equivalents of a regular laptop keyboard.


CHAR Rt-Alt
a
A
b  
B  
c
C
d
D
e
E
f  
F  
g  
G  
h  
H  
i
I
j  
J  
k
K
l  
L  
m
M  
 
CHAR Rt-Alt
n
N
o
O
p
P
q
Q
r
R  
s
S
t
T
u
U
v  
V  
w
W
x  
X  
y
Y
z
Z
 
CHAR Rt-Alt
1
!
2
@  
3
#  
4
$
5
%  
6
^  
7
&  
8
*  
9
(  
0
)  
-
_  
=
+
[
{  
 
CHAR Rt-Alt
]
}  
\
|
;
:
'
"
,
<
.  
>  
/
?  
`  
~  
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

 

One Small Word Of Caution

The only adjustment you will need to make is the use of the apostrophe and the quotation mark.  You'll have to hit the space bar after typing on of these characters for it to appear.  Other and that...

  • When you need the , you simple hold the right ALT key and hit the letter n. 

  • When you want an uppercase , it's right ALT, SHIFT and the N key. 

  • If you want that upside down question mark, hold the right ALT key and press the question mark. 

  • Need to accent a vowel?  It the right ALT key with vowel.  If you need the type the degree symbol , it's the right ALT, SHIFT with the colon.

Another nice thing about this method is that it is very easy to shift back and forth between the International and the US Keyboard because it appears on the Windows task bar.  Now that I've adapted to the apostrophe and quotation mark change, I not longer switch between keyboard settings.  I just leave my PC set to the International keyboard

If you want to try it, I think you will find it is easy to adapt to this method.  Let me know what you think.



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