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Re: [BKARTS] accent marks

I assume when you mention a PC that you are running MS Windows. I don't know
how these things work on Linux.
The accented characters exist in any well-made Windows font. They have codes
outside the standard range of 0 to 127; for instance e-aigu is code 233. A
single code value represents the character along with its accent (i.e. they
are not stored as the plain character and an accent separately). There are
basically three ways to enter them:

1) With an appropriate international keyboard. The keyboard will have some
subset of accents or accented characters appropriate for the language it was
designed for. Once you set Windows to the correct matching keyboard setting,
typing accents is a breeze, although occasionally other characters are a
pain. For instance I had a French keyboard at work for a while, and the
backslash \ was a pain to type because of the key's location. Setup was a
bit of a problem because I had to try all the French keyboard settings to
see which one was correct for the actual keyboard I had. Some of the keys
directly gave the accented characters (for instance, e-aigu); for the rarer
combinations (e.g. u-circumflex) you would type the accent by itself, then
the character, and the software would combine the two if it recognized the

2) By typing the code on the numeric keypad. You have to have NUM LOCK on;
hold down the ALT key while typing the numeric character code *with a
leading zero* on the numeric pad. When you release the ALT key the character
should appear. How do you know what code a particular character has?
Eventually you remember the common ones and have a sticky note on your
monitor showing the less common ones. You learn them in the first place by

3) Run the Character Map program. This Windows utility (which moves around
on the Start menu between Windows versions, but is usually under
Start->Programs->Accessories (or perhaps ->System Tools below that). You get
to pick a font, and see all the characters that font supports. You can
select characters and copy them to the clipboard to paste into your other
program, or you can also find out what its character code is (a box at the
bottom of the Character Map window shows the "keystroke").

4) Custom entry method for a particular application. I list this as fourth
in a list of three because I don't recommend it. Some programs have their
own funny ways of entering special characters. For instance MS Word has the
Insert->Symbol... menu item which gives you a window sort of like Character
Map's window, and Word also has its own keystrokes (e.g. Ctrl+' followed by
e gives e-aigu), but neither of these works in anything *except* Word.

2a) This is the ancestor of method 2 and is again not recommended... You can
do essentially the same thing as (2) except omit the leading zero, in which
case the number you type is considered to be a code in what is called the
OEM character set (usually those funny characters used by MS-DOS from
pre-Windows days). To use this, though, you must know the encoding of your
OEM character set (which can vary with manufacturer).
-Kevin Martin
 the Papertrail

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