An easy way to type the special character?
When I'm using an Mac I use the option key to type the special character without losing too much speed. However, on a PC the only way I know is to use the Alt and a number. Please tell me there is a better way! I find the Alt codes to be so time consuming that they're as good as useless.
Are you using Windows? If you are, you should think about switching to the US International layout in your keyboard settings. It works with deadkeys, so you simply have to type the accent you want (apostrophe, quotation mark, tilde, backtick, etc) and then type the letter you want it on.
So, ' + i = í, ' + c = ç, ~ + n = ñ, etc.
Personally, when doing Spanish I tend to use right-alt + n for ñ, because it is closer at hand than the tilde key, but either work.
The rest of the layout is exactly like the default keyboard layout, the only difference is that if you want to type an apostrophe (or other possible accent) alone, you have to press space afterward to have it display the mark (this also extends to if you want it displayed in front of a possibly accented letter, like this: 'e).
I use the US-International keyboard. It was very easy to add to Windows 7 under Control Panel -- Region and Language -- Keyboards and Languages -- Change keyboards. Then once you install it, you switch to it, and then it works just like rattl says.
Well, there are various ways, I personally like the ascii (alt) code method : you end up knowing the ones you need by heart and it's quite fast and doesn't need any other changes to the computer you're using (program install, settings change). Another way would be to change the keyboard layout to one in the language you want to write (Windows allows to more than one installed at the same time, you have a combination of keys to switch between the different ones). You can also find programs that allow you to create personalized key combinations to produce the characters you want. I don't know of one by heart, but I'm sure you can google that.
You could also copy the ascii table of characters (or the ones you use most often) in a text file and copy-paste them when needed. Or search for the name of the character in Google and copy from the result page...
I'm not familiar with Macs, but maybe this will help:
On my Mac it's easy, Option C is the Ç and Option N is the Ñ. It was the PC that troubled me. But as you can see I'm making special characters like gangbusters now ;)
there are some letters with the character under where you need to type the translation.
And I'm very grateful to Duolingo for that, but when posting in the discussion and writing e-mails I can't effectively type special characters.
I had a friend suggest I import a Brazilian keyboard and change the settings to match. I don't think my wife will appreciate the change :).