Thursday, March 21, 2013

Accents...and tildes...and umlauts...OH MY!

Having problems typing Spanish characters on your English keyboard? Tired of having to "insert"  the characters when using a Word document or remembering a bunch of numerical combinations?  Especially on the Web, when you're sending emails, chatting on Facebook or entering information in a search engine?  Or maybe you are like me and use your laptop all the time, which doesn´t have the keypad necessary to enter the ASCII (i.e. ALT + 164 = ñ) , so you're stuck with cutting and pasting from a Word document?  The problem is that it takes time away from what you´re doing, slows you down and makes you lose your thought process  This can be very cumbersome.  Maybe that's why some of us type the Spanish words without using any diacritical marks?  I mean it's easier, right?

Well, if you still would  like to type the Spanish words the correct way and want to save yourself the hassle, I have good news for you: there is a solution.  After a quick Web search, I found on  that the best alternative is changing keyboards (path below). I have a Windows 7 operating system (the link above also provides info on other systems), so I simply went to ¨Change Keyboards¨ under the Control Panel, clicked  "Add", then selected the language I would like to have my keyboard switched to, which is Spanish.   Clicked "OK" and then "Apply" and I was basically set!

Control Panel > Clock, Language & Region > Change Keyboards

Now the language bar appears in your Task Bar.  It will show a text label "EN" for English (which is your default language), and if you would like to activate the Spanish keyboard, you can click on that text label, and then "ES"  for Spanish, or you could press Alt + Shift, and you will see the label change to "ES".

Below is an image of a Spanish keyboard for your reference.  Please note that once you have activated the Spanish keyboard, the functions of some of the keys on your keyboard will change.  For example, one of the most noticeable changes is that the 'Ñ' appears where the colon/semi-colon key is located.  To type an accent, it's as easy as pressing [´] (located right next to 'Ñ') and then the letter.  For the umlaut [ü], you'll press Shift + ´ + u.  Also notice that there are some blue special characters, for example '@' when typing an email address.  To input this character you would press Alt Gr (which is the Right Alt) + 2.  To switch back to your default keyboard in English, you click on the text label in your task bar and change the language, or just press Alt + Shift.

Although it takes some getting accustomed to, this will tremendously improve your typing speed.  You'll be able to type in Spanish on the Web and on  programs from your local drive!  Hope this helps!

No comments:

Post a Comment