Foreign Language Characters how to

Many people have need at some time or another to type foreign characters into their PC’s. There are lots of tools out there to handle this. I cover a few of the most popular at my house (where I have had three French Immersion students) below.

Generic Method for most Windows programs:
All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Character Map
This shows all the characters available per font. So if you pick Arial, for example, you’ll see that the first page (scroll down to see more rows) shows you a grid with 20 columns and 10 rows. You’ll find the character é on the 9th row, 8th column. A single click shows the character larger; a double click (or the Select button) puts it in the Characters to copy text field. Then you can assemble an entire word of strange and wonderful letters and finally click on the Copy button to copy the character or string of characters into the clipboard (where all that you copy resides before it’s pasted). So then you just have to go to your document and paste it in (using Edit > Paste or the Ctrl key and the V key). You can get more details on this tool here.
Or here if you want to do it on a Mac.

Microsoft Word specific Method:
In Microsoft Word you can use something similar to the character map above. It’s available from:
Insert > Symbol…
Just pick the character you want and click Insert.

Typing in another Language Method (one of the easiest methods but only when you want a lot in a different language):
In your Word Processor of choice select a different Language. In Word you do this by:
Tools > Language > Set Language…
You’ve got quite a long list of Languages to choose from but only the ones prefixed with a check mark and ‘ABC’ actually have installed languages. You can install other languages using setup for your word processor if you like. Choose the language you want. For example “French (Canada)”. Then simply start typing away and don’t worry about the accents. You’ll find that the spell checker will put squiggly red lines under the misspelled words (or, if you don’t have that spelling as you type feature turned on, you’ll have to a spell check). You simply have to select the word you want.


About tgrignon

I came I saw I rented the DVD
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