International US keyboard Functions & Alt codes
Are you struggling with typing accents from your keyboard ?
Here is an answer for those learning languages that use mostly Latin letters.
Currently this information is for those familiar with the QWERTY keyboard.
I will do another series for other keyboards later.
This tells you how to load different keyboards in different devices. i.e. it covers selecting different keyboards for a : Windows, or a Mac, or an iPad device.
Operating the Windows International Keyboard
You need to understand about new function keys at your disposal. The common term for them is dead keys
The dead keys are highlighted in red. And the Right Alt key in blue.
A dead key is a key that has become a modifier key, that is used to type special characters. The dead key when used in conjunction with another key (or combination of 3 keys) will generate a special character.
I hope if others have any useful tips and advice about keyboards, that you may choose to also share them here.
For more information on how to use these function keys, check out one of the other relevant posts:
p.s. I have, since posting this - :sad face: - noticed a couple more things I need to correct with the graphics up here.
- for the letter e - there is a flash of yellow that should appear light orange. ( note the colors conform to Duo recommended color guidelines. see https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/28284738$comment_id=28578222 :P )
- also the Shift key should appear dark blue. Though you need to use the shift key IN CONJUNCTION with the right :alt: key. ...
- and I need to explain that timing of the length that you depress things - changes whether the letter appears as a lower case , or an upper case.
Thank you for your patience as I work out how to graphically - and in words, explain these things.
Detailed instructions for selecting a keyboard:
Go to the Windows menu.
Select "Control Panel"
- Select "Region and Languages"
- Select "Keybords and Languages", and select "Change keyboards"
You will see something similar to this above.
- Under the section "Installed services"
check for "EN English (United States)"
if this is not selected, then select "English (United States)"
- Under "English (United States), then select "Keyboard", and "United States-International"
- Then make sure you remember to press the
The only problem with those is that they're often terrible. The Vietnamese one for example is unusable, it doesn't offer you by far the most common setup of Vietnamese keyboard, I have to use a plugin. Much better to get a specialised plugin or a layout manager
A Mac keyboard is very similar to the varieties available for Windows. Above is a photo of one of the common Mac keyboards.
However you will notice that instead of (ALT) keys, the keys are labelled :
So if you press the (Option) key, and then the letter you are after, the Mac system will bring up a set of optional characters for you to select from.
So for the keys for "question mark" and "explanation mark" , if you press first (Option) and then the (?) or (!) mark, then other options will be displayed.
- The Exclamation mark is located on the (1) key.
- The Question mark is located 3 keys to the left of (M)
Thus for, a letter like (e) or (c), if you press first (Option) and then the key, then the system will provide you with options for this character to select.
The iPad works in a similar way. Yet you instead hold your finger on the virtual key you are after, and if there are options, they will be displayed.
This is also similar to how it works for Android.
Tables for ALT codes +Int.Keyboard codes
⊕ : or ; alternative commands
⇫: the SHIFT key
^: the circumflex key. Often located on the 6 Key, accessed by SHIFT+^ ; Often described as chevron ; caret. NOTE: For this key, to activate the "dead key" function you need to hold down the ⇫ SHIFT key, and then press the ^ key.
ALT: the Alt key. Most keyboards have two ALT keys. If you select a keyboard, such as the U S International Keyboard, the left ALT keys works the same, however the Right ALT (
R.ALT) key will perform different functions. On some keyboards this is labelled R.ALT or Alt Gr.
APOST: the Apostrophe key
'. Often located two keys to the right of the L key on English keyboards.
~: TILDE and
GRAVE` The GRAVE key is sometimes referred to as the back tick key.
|Alt||'#'||KeyBd International CODE||Type||Alt||`#'|
||á||APOST+a ⊕ R.ALT+a||acute||
||é||APOST+e ⊕ R.ALT+e||acute||
|0237||í||APOST+i ⊕ R.ALT+i||acute||
|0243||ó||APOST+o ⊕ R.ALT+o||acute||
|0163||ú||APOST+u ⊕ R.ALT+u||acute||
||ç||APOST+c ⊕ R.ALT+COMMA||cedilla||
|0223||ß||R.ALT+s||eszett / section||21||§|
|0227||ã||⇫ + ~ + a||tilde||
|164||ñ||⇫ + ~ + n ⊕ R.ALT + n||tilde||165||Ñ|
|0245||õ||⇫ + ~ + o||tilde||
|0246||ö||⇫+APOS+o ⊕ R.ALT + p||diaeresis||0214||Ö|
||ü||⇫+APOS+u ⊕ R.ALT+y||diaeresis||0220||Ü|
|174||«||R.ALT+[ ⊕ ]||AngleQuotes||175||»|
|155||¢||⇫ + R.ALT + c||cent|
|173||¡||R.ALT+ !||exclamation||⊕ 0161|
|172||¼||R.ALT + 6||fraction||⊕ 0188|
|171||½||R.ALT + 7||fraction||⊕ 0189|
|0190||¾||R.ALT + 8||fraction|
|20||¶||R.ALT + '||paragraph||⊕0182|
|168⊕0191||¿||R.ALT + ?||question|
|0180||‘||R.ALT + 9 ⊕ 0||quotation||’|
|174⊕0171||«||R.ALT + [ ⊕ ]||quotation||175⊕0187||»|
|0174||®||R.ALT + r||reg.mark|
|⇫ + R.ALT + 1||superscript||7417 ⊕ 0185||¹|
|0178||²||R.ALT + 2||superscript||⊕253 ⊕ 7421|
|0179||³||R.ALT + 3||superscript||⊕ 7420|
Frequently used Alt codes not on the US International Keyboard
For further Alt codes, I have found this reference useful: https://www.alt-codes.net/
Thank you, that is really helpful. I admit to missing out many of the accents when typing, accepted by DL with a note to pay attention to accents. That sounds lazy and at first I thought an error in the system but, picking up on the accents after I'm comfortable with the word has been a good way to learn, for me.
I've found that I'm the exact opposite. With Spanish, I got very turned around for a while because I began ignoring accents. I might envy you just wee bit ;)
It is so wonderful that each of us are different.
That there are soooo many different ways to learn and progress.
That different ways are best for different people.
I still think it would be a good idea to launch an optional full on screen keyboard as part of DL, particularly for languages using other scripts.
There is an argument for that, I do agree. However also you nor I have the ability to affect to any great extent the design direction that Duolingo chooses to present its material. Though it does listen to ideas and concepts that are also mentioned in its forums. Though it is rare you will get feedback to propositions made in its forums, in my experience.
There is also the alternate argument, that if you are really learning a language, that you need to learn how to use the typing interface on the devices you have. Be they windows, or ipad or android, or whatever other operating system.
And to learn how to switch from the keyboard in the language you know, to the language you are learning, and then back again.
I mention this not to discredit your proposal, but to suggest there could be also other ways to look at this issue.
oh now ! There is going to be a challenge for me. I have not yet got my head around the Chinese Keyboard.
It's like predictive texting on steroids! One thing to be aware of is sometimes the previous characters change with the following ones (mostly correctly sometimes incorrectly (according to duo)) so don't look for every character to be right as you type. e.g. For every day, typing mei gives first choice 妹 but if instead of choosing choice 4 每 carry on typing tian and you get 每天 automatically. the big problem comes with ta (he, she, it) at the begin of a sentence watch out or more wrong answers. Good luck! 好运。
Use a Keyboard Layout Manager
I do ⁊ have never looked back, I can uſe whatever ſetup I like ⁊ not only get ſpecial keys, but alſo older letters ðat I like for writing Engliſh, my typing can match my writing.
Interesting. for the link you give, many of the associated pages give a "404" error. So I do not know what to think about this resource that you mention. Also it looks like it will cost money. ( yet even the page on this website that talks about how much it may cost, provides a "404" error.
So I would suggest caution should be taken when using - possibly this resource.
However this comment is not seeking to discredit in anyway the advice that Roman_Huczok is suggesting here.
Yet I do advise caution is best to be observed by the community in general.
I wasn't sure which one it was, I thought that it was probably that one because it looked similar, but maybe it wasn't. I've removed the link now.
EDIT: Here's a link to the one that I use, posted by myself. I can promise everyone that it's safe, but of course, scan anything that you're going to put on your machine.
Thanks for the great work @lindakanga :)
In the unlikely event that any Linux-users stumble upon this: Here a "desktop environment"/"window manager" agnostic command line way to enable a US intl. keyboard layout w/ compose keys:
/usr/bin/setxkbmap -model pc105 -layout us -variant altgr-intl -option nodeadkeys,compose:caps
If you do find yourself actually using caps, like for yelling at people in emails or chats, feel free to redefine that in the line above (doco on the respective names of other suitable keys can be found in (on debian/ubuntu based systems) man xkeyboard-config.
Having enabled the setting above the combo Shift-Caps-~ followed by n e.g. gives ñ. Shift-Caps-" followed by u gives ü, Shift-Caps-, followed by c gives č and so forth.
If there's any interest at all I can produce a more complete list of things one can produce that way.
For Windows 10, I found these notes from a comment* on Microsoft's website helpful for finding the United States-International keyboard:
Go to "Control Panel\Clock, Language, and Region\Language" click on English (United States) ... "options", then "Add an input method", search for [QWERTY] United States-International Touch Keyboard layout (in my case) or similar; then "Add".
Once it shows up the international sort, REMOVE the default English input method.
You should be able then to do ñ, á é í ó ú in no time by pressing first the accent and then the letter
Then hold Ctrl and Alt + ! to make ¡ Then hold Ctrl and Alt + ? to make ¿
*Pablo Riestra's comment from June 18, 2013: https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_8-desktop/how-to-use-the-united-states-international/dc19f943-48a0-49e8-9d7b-71d8ce898737