How to get foreign and phonetic symbols
Dr. Whitley, 531 Greene Hall, (336) 758-5362, email@example.com
There are three ways to get foreign symbols in Windows applications, and the third one is the one you will want to start with.
1. Type number codes for them. Recommended only for rather esoteric symbols you don't need often; more on that method later.
2. Pull down the "Insert" menu, choose "Insert Symbol," choose "normal text," click on the desired accented letter in the chart (you may have to scroll down), then press "Insert," then "Close". But using the "Insert" menu is tedious for normal typing in a foreign language, and it's much faster to use a special keyboard, as in the third method.
3. Install a foreign-language keyboard, which lets you access those symbols directly from your keyboard as you type. The default keyboard is US; the most convenient one for typing most western European languages is US International. The following chart shows how to type their characters. Hold down the first key (for example, the right Alt key) as you type the second one.
|with "U.S. International" layout|
|á acute accent (la tilde)||right-alt + desired vowel (or ' + desired vowel)|
|à grave accent||` + desired vowel|
|â circumflex accent||Shift + 6, then desired vowel|
|ä umlaut or dieresis||shift " + desired vowel|
|ç cedille||right-alt + , (comma)|
|ñ (la eñe)||right-alt + n or N (Or use ~ (shift `) + n, N, or for Portuguese ã õ, + a, A, o, O|
|ß (German ess-tset)||right-alt + s|
|¿ (initial question mark)||right-alt + /|
|¡ (initial exclamation mark)||right-alt + 1 (one)|
|Romance quote marks « »||right-alt + [ ]|
|euro €||right-alt 5|
|pound sterling £||right-alt $ (shift 4)|
The key combinations (called "keyboard shortcuts") require a little practice and may seem awkward, but you will get used to them fast. US International keyboard works in most programs, including email, and is also the setting that lets you type in these languages at many textbooks' websites (even though that's not always stated there.). But it has one quirk to keep in mind: in order to type a combination like "u (without getting ü), you have to press the space bar before the vowel.
In order to activate the US Interenational keyboard in the current standard laptops and software load at Wake Forest University, open this document and print it out: Instruction. The procedure will add a "Language bar" on your screen that allows you to toggle back and forth between the usual US keyboard and the US International keyboard. For older computers that some users may have, the procedure is slightly different, as shown below.
|ThinkPad A21 and older computers||more recent ones with Windows XP|
(1) On the desktop, double-click on "My Computer", and then
on the Control Panel to open it.
(1) Open Regional and Language Options in Control Panel: to do this,
click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then double-click
and Language Options.
For Microsoft Vista: mostly the same procedure as Windows XP. Click on the Start button (lower left corner of screen), choose Control Panel, then Regional and Language Options. Next, select the Keyboards and Languages tab and click on Change Keyboards. You now see a menu titled Text Services and Input Languages: activate the General tab, and examine to see if US International is already installed or not. If not, click on Add. Scroll down the language listing to English (United States): click on it to show Keyboard, then click on United States-International so that its little box is checked. Click on OK. Now, again on the Text Services menu, click on the Language Bar tab and choose where you want the little on-screen toggle button for going back and forth between standard and international keyboards. I prefer “Docked in the Taskbar” so it doesn’t get lost or covered up. Then Click, OK, then OK, till you’re out of the Control Panel.
And yes, in our era of globalization, surely Microsoft could’ve made this simpler!
When following the above procedures for adding a keyboard layout, note that Windows also offers you a list of foreign settings such as "Spanish" or "French." Those settings are for changing your keyboard to European layouts in which many characters, especially punctuation, are in different places from our American "QWERTY" keyboard. For example, the "Spanish" keyboard makes the slash key, /, a hyphen and puts ñ on the semicolon key (and the semicolon on Shift + comma), their traditional positions in Spain. Most American users don't need to choose those foreign settings to type in these languages; "US International" will let you do that just fine without changing everything around on the keyboard that Americans are used to.Your ThinkPad also comes loaded with fonts for Russian, Greek, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Hebrew, etc., but their keyboard layouts are so different from ours that you should see professors of these languages for how to use the special programs and settings needed for writing with them.
OK, now more on that first method of getting other symbols, by using number codes. Desktop computers have a numberpad off to the right. Laptops like Thinkpads also have a numberpad, but it's integrated into the regular keyboard, on the M JKL UIO 789 keys (note the small numbers written on those keys). You activate it by pressing Shift+NumLk (at the top of the keyboard next to "Print Screen"). When that numberpad is on, you can hold down the left Alt key and type in a 4-digit number code, illustrated below. Then release the left Alt key. But make sure that before you resume regular typing, you deactivate those keys as a numberpad by pressing Shift+NumLk again.
|— (dash): 0151||€ (euro) 0128||© (copyright) 0169||Ø (null) 0216|
|œ (oe digraph) 0156||£ (pound sterling) 0163||« » (Romance quotes) 0171 and 0187||÷ (divided by) 0247|
|¢ (cent) 0162||§ (section) 0167||° (degree) 0176||± (plus or minus) 0177|
See our departmental FAQ for a fuller listing of such symbols and their codes.
TECHNICAL SYMBOLS, INCLUDING PHONETIC SYMBOLS
For certain basic math and logic symbols and Greek letters, you can use method 2 explained at the top of this page. Pull down the "Insert" menu, choose "Symbol," then scroll down in the character chart until you see the desired symbol, click on it, and then on the Insert button and (when you've finished your insertions) Close. These symbols used to be few, but current computers come loaded with fuller Unicode fonts (e.g., Lucida Sans Unicode, and Arial Unicode) that include many more symbols and entire foreign alphabets. Three that contain most symbols of the International Phonetic Alphabet are Lucida Sans Unicode, Microsoft Sans Serif, and Arial Unicode. "Subset" may let you jump to the section of this symbol list that you need, e.g., Greek, Arabic, Hebrew, and (for phonetics) "IPA Extensions." The latter section includes "Combining diacritical marks," those many little superscripts or subscripts used in phonetics: to use these, type (or insert) the main character, like a vowel symbol, then click on the desired diacritic, Insert again, and the diacritic ought to be correctly placed over or under the other symbol.
Insert Symbol is fine for inserting an occasional symbol. But for typing longer transcriptions or formulae, it's better to install a specialty font. Many such fonts are commercially available for virtually any field or alphabet, but for phonetics, you can download an IPA font free of charge from the wonderful people at SIL International (see instructions in box below). After it's installed, you can just select it from your font list (normally showing "Times New Roman" on the Word tool bar) anytime that you want to type a phonetic transcription.
Instructions for the SIL font:
Go to the SIL International site (click on this name to go) for a huge catalog of linguistics and language materials provided through this company. But for the free IPA font, go directly to this link: SIL IPA. At this writing (paths change sometimes), when you're on that page, click on SIL IPA 93, and on the next page, click on SIL IPA 93 Homepage, and there, scroll down to DOWNLOAD. Read the note there, and then click on the download button. The font should download into the folder you indicate on your computer (make a note of where, so you can locate it). After the download, go to that folder and double-click on the silipa icon (it's an exe file) to launch it. This miniprogram installs the font in your system as well as providing useful reference documents.You actually receive three fonts, same symbols (in the same keyboard locations) but with a different typographical "look": Doulos (matches Times New Roman), Manuscript (matches Courier), and Sophia (matches Arial). See me for a listing of the symbols and where to find them on your keyboard.
AND ON THE APPLE iPHONE...
The iPhone’s keyboard doesn’t show foreign characters directly, but they’re there! For variants of the Roman alphabet, hold down the main-character key (e.g., E for é, è, ê...) for a moment until a row of accented options appears, and slide your finger tip up and over the row to stop at the desired character. Then release.
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