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How to add special characters to your keyboard (Windows)

We all know the problem with foreign languages that have some special characters: We have no key on the keyboard for them. Duolingo offers some buttons for them, but honestly it is not very comfortable. And it is not helpful if you wanna write some foreign language outside of Duolingo.

After a long research I found an easy solution for Windows users: Add those special characters to your keyboard layout with the Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator.

Download the program and install, load your keyboard layout and add your needed characters. For me it looks like this: AltGr + U = ü – AltGr + Shift + U = Ü – AltGr + n = ñ – AltGr + Shift + N = Ñ – AltGr + C = ç – AltGr + Shift + C = Ç – … and so on. (I also added characters like ¡, ¿, « and »)

To create a layout properly please choose one of the tuts out there, cause the program is a bit tricky if you don't know what to do (but totally easy anyway). After creating you have to save, build and install the layout, but it should be explained in the tutorial. Change your keyboard layout to your customized one, maybe you need a restart to take full effect.

Hope I could help.

June 27, 2012



A slightly easier way way to do this is to simply change your keyboard layout to Spanish, French, or German, which is what I do, and I you can switch back and forth between them by hitting ALT + SHIFT. It's that easy. Also, you will get used to typing on the kind of keyboard they have in the countries that speak the language you are learning. Here is a place to go to get the VERY SIMPLE directions on how to change your keyboard layout:



@wmdutton: Problem with your solution: You have to know what key to press. German keyboard is different from English, French has it's own layout and Spanish too. So first you have to learn the foreign keyboards. So I would say it is quite easier to just add the missing characters to not bounded keys in your standard layout instead of wasting time to learn key positions of a foreign layout, That's why I posted my solution, because it gives you an incredible flexibility. ;-)


Yeah, I suppose I agree with you that it would be difficult at first. However, I after a few hours spent with the new keyboard (i.e., a French one), it is not hard to learn how to re-type on a QWERTY vs. an AZERTY board, or vice-versa. I have memorized 4 different keyboards this way: English, Français, عربي, and فارسی . I think it just depends on a person's preference. I personally wouldn't want to spend time memorizing my own personal customization of a keyboard if the only location that has that keyboard is my own. Still, I agree with you that having to stop and click the accent buttons is frustrating during translation in the reviews.


Following that KB link, Add "English", "United States-International" keyboard.

Then you can type `e and it magically converts to è 'e becomes é 'c becomes ç

Very easy to learn the combinations and best of all you keep your current keyboard layout.

I think it would be nice for Duolingo to provide keyboard shortcuts anyway for people who don't know how to set this keyboard up.

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