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Tip of the Week: How to Type Accents and Other Oddball Characters

b2ap3_thumbnail_special_character_400.jpgWe’ve all seen the various accent marks, or “diacritical marks,” used in languages all over the world. For example, the umlaut (as seen in the word “über” ) is used in some German and Hungarian words to signal how to pronounce specific vowels. While these have mostly disappeared from the English language, we see them from time to time when going about our business on the web, and every time, the same question plays in our heads: “How the heck do you type that?”

We’ll show two simple ways to type these special characters, so “café” never has to be a “cafe” again.

Copy and Paste the Words You Need
Unless you’re a business that’s devoted to the specific word you’re trying to use (like a latté lounge), chances are that you’ll only need to use them sparingly. Since this is the case, nobody will blame you for cheating a little bit by simply copying and pasting the desired word into your document. To do this, simply use Google to find the word that you’re looking for, and its special character variant. After that, it’s as simple as copying and pasting the word that you need.

Just make sure that you paste it as plain text. Otherwise, it could be conflicting with the rest of your document. To do so, there’s the infamous Windows keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+V. Depending on how your document is set up, the text will likely default to what you’re currently using with your document. If it doesn’t, though, you’ll need to make sure that it’s styled and formatted properly. Use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+\ to clear its current formatting, then adjust the font, font size, color, and other styling to suit your needs.

Use Alt Codes
Even if you’ve been a PC user for a long time, there’s a fair chance that you’ve never heard of Alt codes. This is a way built right into your PC that helps users type out special characters. All you have to do is hold down the Alt key, then type in a series of numbers that corresponds with the character you want to type. Keep in mind that this method can only be used on the number pad on the right side of the keyboard, and won’t work with the top numbers. Once you’ve entered in the numbers, all you have to do is release the Alt key and the character should appear. You can find a list of Alt codes here.

Knowing how to type special characters can make all of the difference, and it can show that you have an attention for detail. You’ll never be limited by what you see on your keyboard again. For more great tech tips, subscribe to Central Technology Solutions’s blog.

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