Saturday, February 5, 2011

¿Como? How?

é ¿ ão ó à

ñ ç ü à

Recently some people asked in an online forum how to type accents in Spanish. For a number of years I have used the Windows United States-International keyboard function to type a number of languages. I find it simple and now use it without thinking.

In Windows 7, go to Control Panel > Region and Language > Change Keyboard and select United States-International. I always see a small rectangular icon with a squiggle on top displayed on my bottom bar, although at some point the icon appeared at the top of my screen for a while. Occasionally my accents stop working (after some update?) and I click that icon and with one more click reset United States-International. It can also be reset through Control Panel, as above. I know I used this function for three years in Vista and I may also have used it in Windows XP.


For an acute accent, press Ctrl Alt ‘ simultaneously, then type vowel = á

  • In English, to get ‘ , type and it will be a “dead stroke” (you will see nothing), hit the space bar because you are not putting a letter under it and you will then see the single quote mark. This is a minor adjustment for English and I find it well worth gaining the multiple language function.

  • Press Ctrl-Alt , (the comma) simultaneously = ç

  • You can see the ~ and the ` at the top left of the United States physical keyboard. Pressing the key is a dead stroke. Put the appropriate letter under the mark or press the spacebar and you will get only the mark.

This function works for me in all my Microsoft aps as well as online using Gmail, LinkedIn, FaceBook, etc.

Pátzcuaro or Patzcuaro

1 comment:

Mark said...

I used the dead key system for years in Windows XP, but it never became natural. I always had to look at the keyboard to see the accent key, and the dead key interrupted the flow of typing.
Last winter I installed CapsLock.exe, a free program from converts the normally unused CapsLock key into an accent key, so CapsLock + a produces á, CapsLock + Shift + a produces Á, etc. There are also other intuitive CapsLock combinations to provide ¡ ¿ « » and €. Double-tapping CapsLock temporarily disables the program if I need the traditional all-caps function.
There are versions available for Spanish and German.