Quick Tip: For Foreign Correspondence

In Microsoft Word, if you need to type something like albóndigas, résumé, or español, there’s an easy trick. Just add the Ctrl key to the accent you need, and then press the letter you want accented. For example, if you need í, then press Ctrl+’ and then type a lowercase “i” . For ñ, you would press Ctrl+Shift+` followed by the “n”. Since ` is the lowercase character on the ~/` key, you need to add the Shift key in order to get the ~. Hence, you press Ctrl+Shift rather than just Ctrl. However, if you want è (in contrast to é), press only Ctrl+` followed by “e”.

For the circumflex (^), press Ctrl+Shift+6 (the ^/6 key), and then press the needed vowel, e.g., û or î. For the umlaut, there is no sideways : on the standard U.S. keyboard. So, instead, press Ctrl+Shift+; (the :/; key), and then type the letter you want umlauted, e.g., ü, ö, etc. For the ã in São Paulo, the ~ works with the “a” key just as it does for the “n” key. If you need ç, press Ctrl+, followed by the “c” key. For the å type accent, precede the accented letter with Ctrl+@. And use Ctrl+/ for things like ø and Ø.

The trick words with capital letters, as well. For É, press Ctrl+’ and then Shift+E. But, what if the accent you press isn’t supposed to work with the letter you choose? When that happens, Word makes a little dinging noise.

If you ever need ¡ or ¿, just press Ctrl+Shift+Alt+! or Ctrl+Shift+Alt+?. Although, you’ll probably need to use more than just one hand.

And what if you want something else, and you don’t know how to create it? Then use Insert – Symbol – More Symbols. In that menu, if there is an existing shortcut for something, it tells you, as shown here:

And if there is no existing shortcut key—or if you prefer something else—then click the Shortcut Key button and assign a keystroke.

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