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Special symbols with Alt+ number pad - not working on my laptop
Thread poster: Sarah Downing

Sarah Downing  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:38
German to English
+ ...
Jul 8, 2009

Hi guys,

There's a nifty little Office application that enables you to enter symbols such as é (by typing Alt + 130), etc. However, this only seems to work on my desktop if I use the number pad rather than the numbers at the top of the keyboard and doesn't work on my laptop at all, which doesn't have a number pad.

My main problem right now is that one of my agencies has complained about me using incorrect dashes in a translation in Trados. I know when to use long and short dashes and Word is even nice enough to change these for me automatically; Trados, however, does no such thing and I also have no idea how to enter them manually. Apparently, the short cut is Alt + 0150, but as I said before this doesn't work in Trados and that's the main computer I use for translation.

I'd be very grateful to anyone who can solve this mystery for me. Now and again I have to insert characters in Trados in English (e.g. café, façade, etc.), but short of typing them in in Word and then copying them into Trados, I don't know a fast way (I know the Alt shortcuts for most of these, so ideally I'd like them to work on my laptop too (it seems to be something that comes with Word, without you configuring anything, but perhaps there's a way to get around the fact that I don't have a number pad.

Thank you very much in advance!

Cheers,

Sarah


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:38
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Toggling number keyboard Jul 8, 2009

As far as I am aware, these Alt combinations work on a laptop only with the numeric keyboard that is created with a block of alphabetic keys, not with the line of keys at the top of the keyboard. You need to toggle the numeric block with some key combination in your laptop. There must be some Fn key or similar to toggle the numeric keypad. The keys that become numeric surely have little numbers on them, probably with a different colour.

Using these ALT+nnn combinations in a laptop can be cumbersome, as it forces you to toggle on and off the numeric block of the alphabetic keyboard.


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Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:38
French to English
+ ...
Similar problem Jul 8, 2009

Hi Sarah,

Tomás' suggestion works (on my laptop there's a purple Fn key which transforms some of the keys into a numeric keypad, which you need if you're to use the Alt codes), but is really cumbersome. I recently had to do a long job in Tageditor, which doesn't have customisable keyboard shortcuts (ARGH). As I rarely work in Tageditor, and as I like to get out and about with long jobs, I bought myself one of these:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Belkin-Mobile-Numeric-Keypad-USB/dp/B000BMXYC8

which would also solve your problem, as you'd be able to use your usual Alt codes. It's small and light (and if you use a laptop as your primary computer the size and weight won't bother you).

As far as I know, the normal Alt codes ought to work in Trados, assuming you mean Tageditor; if you mean Workbench, you can do anything that's possible in MS Word. If you're using the newfangled version I don't know anything about that

May I also recommend this mousemat which has all the Alt codes?

http://www.lrbshop.co.uk/product.php?productid=2309&cat=63&page=1

hope this is helpful
Angela


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Jabberwock  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 14:38
Member (2004)
English to Polish
Shortcuts Jul 8, 2009

You did not specify your Office version...

In 2003 it is quite easy to define symbol shortcuts:
1. From menu select Insert/Symbol.
2. Find the symbol you want to use frequently and press the button Shortcut.
3. A dialog window appears (just like with any other shortcut setting) where you can assign a specific combination to just this symbol.

If that does not work for some reason (or if 2007 does not have this), you can use Autohotkey, e.g.:

<^-:: Send {ASC 0150}

sends n-dash when control+dash is pressed.

Edit: did not read carefully enough! Of course, you probably mean TagEditor, therefore only the second suggestion applies (i.e. Autohotkey).

[Edited at 2009-07-08 17:14 GMT]


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Robert Tucker
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:38
German to English
+ ...
AllChars Jul 8, 2009

I haven't tried this myself since I use Linux which has a compose key facility, but have read about it often on the OpenOffice forums.

http://allchars.zwolnet.com/


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Nicolas Coyer  Identity Verified
Colombia
Local time: 08:38
Spanish to French
+ ...
settings on laptop Jul 8, 2009

You can change you keyboard settings to have some kind of "extended" US keyboard.
Go to Regional and Language Options > Languages tab > Details. Under Default input language, choose English (United States) - United States-International.
This allows you to create extended characters such as:
ç = ' key + c key
é = ' key + e key
è = `key + e key (the `key is under Esc)
ê = ^ key + e key (^ = Shift+6)
etc

(As for the m-dash, I don't know which keys to use, if there are any.)
If you want to keep only this setting, you might have to choose the International setting as default, restart the computer and then delete the other one.

Good luck!

[Modifié le 2009-07-08 22:11 GMT]


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:38
French to English
Well I'll be jiggered Jul 9, 2009

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

As far as I am aware, these Alt combinations work on a laptop only with the numeric keyboard that is created with a block of alphabetic keys, not with the line of keys at the top of the keyboard.

You know, I have lost count of the number of times I have read about these ALT+xxx combos and tried it and failed and just moved on with my old fashioned methods.
Nobody ever, ever says the row of number keys across the top doesn't cut it, it's gotta be the number pad. At least, I have never seen it mentioned. So thanks for solving the mystery.

Incidentally, my keyboard puts acute accents on vowels if you hold down Alt Gr first, if that helps anyone (they are not all marked on the keyboard) thusly áéíóú


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Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:38
French to English
+ ...
!! Jul 9, 2009

Charlie Bavington wrote:
Incidentally, my keyboard puts acute accents on vowels if you hold down Alt Gr first, if that helps anyone (they are not all marked on the keyboard) thusly áéíóú


Genius! Thanks Charlie, I didn't know that, and that's a much more economical way of adding the most common French accent than Alt+130 (or Alt+0233).


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Sergei Leshchinsky  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 15:38
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
ALT + Fn (blue) + numbers (blue) Jul 9, 2009

.

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juvera  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:38
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Adding common accents Jul 11, 2009

Angela Dickson wrote:
Charlie Bavington wrote:
Incidentally, my keyboard puts acute accents on vowels if you hold down Alt Gr first, if that helps anyone (they are not all marked on the keyboard) thusly áéíóú


Genius! Thanks Charlie, I didn't know that, and that's a much more economical way of adding the most common French accent than Alt+130 (or Alt+0233).


Wouldn't you find it easier to switch keyboard layout when you are typing more than just a word or two in French? You can set it to change to and fro just by pressing Alt+Up.
You can put stickers on to remind you of the changes, if you like. I cut up and mark gummed stationery dots and stick them on the corners of the relevant keys to remind me of some of the differences on the layout for letters/signs which are not in frequent use.


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Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:38
French to English
+ ...
Qwerty and Azerty Jul 12, 2009

juvera wrote:

Angela Dickson wrote:
Charlie Bavington wrote:
Incidentally, my keyboard puts acute accents on vowels if you hold down Alt Gr first, if that helps anyone (they are not all marked on the keyboard) thusly áéíóú


Genius! Thanks Charlie, I didn't know that, and that's a much more economical way of adding the most common French accent than Alt+130 (or Alt+0233).


Wouldn't you find it easier to switch keyboard layout when you are typing more than just a word or two in French? You can set it to change to and fro just by pressing Alt+Up.
You can put stickers on to remind you of the changes, if you like. I cut up and mark gummed stationery dots and stick them on the corners of the relevant keys to remind me of some of the differences on the layout for letters/signs which are not in frequent use.

Thanks for the tip, and I'm sure someone else will find it handy to know how to switch quickly, but at the moment I can't think it would be helpful to be switching between Qwerty and Azerty keyboards (I assume this is what happens when you switch layouts). I touch-type on Qwerty and would find it quite confusing.

In any case, the bulk of my typing is in English, as I only translate into English. I write a few emails a week in French.


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:38
French to English
Differeing notions of simplicity :-) Jul 12, 2009

juvera wrote:
Wouldn't you find it easier to switch keyboard layout when you are typing more than just a word or two in French? You can set it to change to and fro just by pressing Alt+Up.
You can put stickers on to remind you of the changes, if you like. I cut up and mark gummed stationery dots and stick them on the corners of the relevant keys to remind me of some of the differences on the layout for letters/signs which are not in frequent use.


Switching layouts and covering my keyboard with stickers does not, I'm afraid, fall under my notion of simple. If I'm honest, neither does a battery of Alt+xxxx commands which, I now know, will only work if I toggle the Num Lock. Basically, I'm not a fan of frequent toggling (and you only have to look through the forum to see how often changing the keyboard layour gives people grief).

If I have to write anything substantial in French (not often), I usually do so in Word, change the language to French and let the spell-checker do the leg-work with the accents

However, we are not all as toggle-phobic as me - many people, after all, can actually remember to toggle back again when they have finished, which is my main failing - and I expect other people will find your tip very helpful!


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Jabberwock  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 14:38
Member (2004)
English to Polish
Autohotkey hotkeys and hotstrings Jul 12, 2009

One more point I forgot to add: Autohotkey supports both hotkeys and hotstrings.

Hotkeys produce desired effect (in this case an accented letter) when a specific combination is pressed (for example, Ctrl+Alt+e might give you e with circumflex). The advantage is that it is the fastest method. Disadvantages: you have to remember the shortcut and you run out of combinations rather quickly.

Hotstrings, on the other hand, require typing a specific sequence, which is then converted to the desired character. This is very similar to Word's autocomplete function, but it works system-wide. For example, typing ^e will produce e with circumflex. Naturally, it might also work as a typical autocomplete function, i.e. you can choose any repeatable text that is to be produced.

The advantage is that hotstrings may be more easily remembered („If I want e with umlaut, I type : and then e”). It might also be more convenient on a laptop, as there are even less keys available for shortcuts.


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juvera  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:38
English to Hungarian
+ ...
a,á,e,é, i, í, o,ó,ö,ő,u,ú,ü,ű would beat the spell-checker and me Jul 12, 2009

Charlie Bavington wrote:
Switching layouts and covering my keyboard with stickers does not, I'm afraid, fall under my notion of simple.

If I have to write anything substantial in French (not often), I usually do so in Word, change the language to French and let the spell-checker do the leg-work with the accents


Hm… thinking about it, the use of the spell-checker for accents may be a practical option for French, but unfortunately it is too tedious with some other languages where for example “elem, élem, elém" "orom, öröm, őröm” or "olt, ólt, ölt" have very different meanings, therefore it is not advisable to mix them up.

I change between languages several times a day and it seems more convenient to type with the layout of the actual language, having all the characters on it. I only have stickers for a few characters I find difficult to memorise when they are displaced, like ~ and = . And the stickers last for months.



[Edited at 2009-07-12 16:51 GMT]


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Tony M  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:38
Member
French to English
+ ...
Toggling and QWERTY / AZERTY Jul 12, 2009

I encountered this problem early on; mainly, I translate from FR > EN, but also do quite a lof of correspondence etc. in FR.

I started out on my old PC brought over from the UK, with a QWERTY keyboard, and got quite adept with the Alt + Num codes; then I added a FR Mac with AZERTY keyboard, and later still a newer PC with a FR AZERTY keyboard. Having the three on my desk and switching between them was terribly confusing!

I thought my problems would all be solved when I got my lovely new FR laptop — except I soon realized that there are a few of the rarer accented characters that aren't on it, at least, not directly — and when I tried to fall back on my old, familiar Alt + Num shortcuts, I encountered the same problem as here! Toggling FN on and off in addition to Alt + Num codes is really tiresome. And I even found certain combinations I just couldn't get, because of the way the FN toggling works (can't remember exactly what that was now).

Since my Toshiba keyboard was pretty unreliable right from new, I simply bought an external keyboard and mouse, and have never looked back! I started off with a wireless one (2, in fact!) but found those irritatingly unreliable, so fell back on a good old wired connection. The only disadvantage is that my neatly portable laptop now comes with a whole bag of accessories and trailing, tangled cables...


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