Where's The Key?

Discussion in 'Feedback' started by dask, Feb 20, 2012.

  1.  
    dask

    dask dark and stormy knight

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    So, suppose you need to type a word with an accent mark over the e, or an umlaut over the o, how do you do it? I've experimented with the symbols in the posting area but can't find anything. I've seen it done around here. Feel silly having to ask this. If I could post this query without using my user name believe me, I would.:eek:
  2.  
    Teresa Edgerton

    Teresa Edgerton Goblin Princess Staff Member

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    It really has nothing to do with the formatting tools here. It depends on whether you are using a Mac or a PC. However you would normally do it there, that's the way you do it here.

    (And you are not the first person to be confused about this, or to have asked the question, so there is no need to be embarrassed.)
  3.  
    dask

    dask dark and stormy knight

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    Thank you. I'll mess around with my word processing program and see what I can come up with.
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    The Judge

    The Judge Truth. Order. Moderation. Staff Member

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    I can never manage it either! (But then I've never learned any of the short cut things.) What I end up doing is opening a word file, typing the word/letter I want by using the symbol thingummy and then copy-and-pasting into my post. Long-winded, but it saves me bashing the laptop to pieces.
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    Metryq

    Metryq Cave Painter

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    I was always curious about that—special characters (dipthongs, ligatures, etc.) are easy to create on the Mac, but I was never certain if a Web-based forum like this would accept them. I know I've used a few, but having the character appear properly to me after posting was no confidence. So now is my chance to find out. (Chime in you Windows and Linux users.) It just occurred to me that the em-dash—which I use frequently—is also a special symbol. Some forums will not accept it, or may only accept a double hyphen -- as an alternative.

    If you are using a Mac, the Keyboard control panel has a tab for "Input Sources," which includes a "Keyboard & Character Viewer." That tool will appear in the Menu Bar at the top of the screen, and it displays a graphic of a keyboard. If you press a modifier key, such as Shift, Control, Option, or Command, the graphic will change to show you the modified character. Some key presses will show a highlight around a key, such as Option+e for accent aigu, or Option+u for the umlaut. Use these key combos in conjunction with a letter to get the accented letter, such as é and ü. Some characters may be a single combo, like Option+c for the cedilla under the c, thus ç.

    The Mac also has a variety of other character combos for things like Trademark™ and so on. I'm assuming they carry through to other OSes as Unicode, but some symbols, like the Mac Apple  may not carry through because the special character is not carried in the fonts of other OSes. Many apps also support a Special Characters tool. Try Edit > Special Characters in an app like the Safari Web browser.

    Windows has always been a bit more exciting. Last time I checked, special symbols were typically the Alt key followed by a three number code. I don't know where to find a lookup table of the three-number codes, and newer versions of Windows may have more user-friendly tools.

    Typically, the Web requires its own HTML compliant markup codes for special symbols—which is why someone typing a post ahead of time in Microsoft Word and then pasting it into the forum will produce some garbage characters for quotes and apostrophes. (Aside from the demands of HTML, word processors may have their own bizarre codes that are not normally visible to the user.) Just the fact that this and many other forums echo the special characters back to me—whether or not they show up for users of other OSes—shows a certain sophistication.

    There is some mention of procedures on this Wikipedia page. One might also check the built-in Help system.
  6.  
    Metryq

    Metryq Cave Painter

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    The subject heading reminded me of a tech anecdote. Many installers or other automated scripts contained a dialog box instructing the user to "Press any key to continue." So many tech support departments complained of extremely literal-minded users not being able to find the "Any" key that the instruction was changed to "Press the RETURN key to continue." That's even funnier than the "drink holder" gag—but not by much.

    And in other news, I found a volume titled The Official America Online Internet Guide in a pile of old books. Published in 1997, this "dummies" book is a real trip in the Wayback Machine. Hamster Dance, anyone?
  7.  
    Interference

    Interference Destroyer of Words

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    On a PC, there is a Character Map in your accessories (I think - I usually put a shorcut somewhere more sensible). I use this, copying and pasting the required letter.
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    pyan

    pyan Fortiter et recte! Staff Member

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    As Metryq says: for PC users, most of the odd characters that you may need are available by holding down the "Alt" key, then inputting a 2,3 or 4 number code on the number keyboard on the right of the main keyboard (Make sure "Num Lock" is on!)

    I've this page bookmarked,which gives most of the useful codes:

    Alt Codes Reference Sheet

    (left-click to enlarge)

    Handy for those accented names that JRRT is so fond of!
  9.  
    Ursa major

    Ursa major Bearly Believable Staff Member

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    As I tend to put ô in rôle, I've learnt that this is Alt-0244 (using the numeric keypad).

    Note that Alt-244 (also using the numeric keypad) is ¶, so you need to put the zero in.



    (If you want the ¶ , it's quicker to use Alt-20, as suggested on Pyan's chart.)
  10.  
    pyan

    pyan Fortiter et recte! Staff Member

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    I use them a lot for ¼, ½, and ¾ - I think it looks much neater than 1/4, etc.
  11.  
    mosaix

    mosaix Active Member

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    In Windows XP, choose start, all programs, accessories, system tools, character map

    This will display the special character set - they're all there, just scroll down. Select the required font, click on the character you want, then 'select', this will display the character to the copy window, continue selecting as many characters as you want in your string (only one is fine) then 'copy'. 'paste' wherever you like. :)
  12.  
    dask

    dask dark and stormy knight

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    Héy, it wörks! I have Vista but found the character map following Mosaix's instructions anyway. Cool. Thanks everyone for your input.
  13.  
    mosaix

    mosaix Active Member

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    Glad to help, Dask.

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