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Ease of typing

On other Operating Systems except Windows 7, I do not know how to get special characters on the keyboard for EASY typing, but on Windows 7, Follow these instructions:

  1. Go to Control Panel
  2. Go to Ease of Access Center
  3. Go to Make the Keyboard Easier to Use
  4. Add a Dvorak Keyboard or Change Other Keyboard Input Settings
  5. Change Keyboards (under Keyboards and Languages Panel)
  6. Add
  7. Under English (United States), check the box of United States-International
  8. Click Okay and then go to Advanced Key Settings
  9. Assign the Keyboard Shortcuts to Change Languages


Now experiment

'+o=ó '+a=á ;=ñ '+i=í etc.

Note: The characters ' '' ` ~ don't show up unless you press a space after them (the space doesn't get processed) this is so that you can put those accent mark over letters e.g. ' and then e = é and " and then u = ü

June 4, 2012



You can also just replace your US keyboard layout with US International layout. This way you won't have to switch layouts at all.


You could... but then you can't easily type ' or " without it trying to attach to the following characters.


Hitting space after ' or " is not that hard compared with the necessity to shift layouts. But if you don't like it, you can create your own layout using Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator and choose for "dead keys" some keys that you don't use often.

Personally, I use my own keyboard layout made from the typography US layout I used before. The apostrophe key is free of combinations. I assigned them to [ ] ^ ~ keys that I don't use very often otherwise.

  • [ + respective letter give me á é í ó ý ç ß
  • AltGr + [ gives me the bracket [ itself (very rarely needed)
  • ] + respective letter give me ä ë ö ü
  • AltGr + ] is the bracket ] itself
  • ^ + respective letter give me â ê î ô û
  • ` + respective letter give me à è ò
  • ~ + respective letter give me ñ

Some of these characters I don't even need because I only learn French and German now. I made them just in case.

Being Russian, I have to use two layouts anyway: Russian and English. Adding a third one never seemed like a good idea! For native English speakers who are most probably used to only one keyboard layout adding a second may be unusual and challenging. Of course they will have to do it anyway if they choose to learn Greek or Russian, but if it is a language with Latin alphabet, why not use a single layout for both your native and your new language? :-)


Thank you so much! This worked perfectly.


It's pretty similar if you're still running XP...

Click on Control Panel Click Regional and Language Options - a new window will pop up Click the Languages tab Click on the Details button Click the Add button - a new window will pop up Select United States-International (keyboard layout menu) Click OK Click Apply

(See mikeydee's post for how to use.)


For OS X, this method to type "special" characters works out-of-the-box. With the default settings on Lion, one can also hold down a key for a short time and a context menu will pop up with similar special characters. Hitting the appropriate number key or clicking on the character (with the mouse) will insert the character. This second method also works on iOS devices.


I didn't realize that the characters you said would make umlauts too! I also didn't realize that you have to use the RIGHT alt key, NOT the left alt key to do what you said. For German, Right Alt + S makes an esset or "ss". Thank you!

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