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Vista and alt codes (for typing Spanish or Portuguese characters)
Thread poster: Alexandra Goldburt
Alexandra Goldburt
Local time: 12:58
English to Russian
+ ...
Sep 13, 2009

Whoever has invented alt codes must be a genious. It’s so convenient: alt+164 = ñ, alt+130 = é, alt+168 = ¿, etc.

Alas… as I have recently discovered, not so if your operating system is Vista. Grrrrr…. (that’s me grinding my teeth in frustration).

I have recently bought a laptop with Vista as an operating system. I asked my geek friends tons of questions before buying it. I thought I got it all covered. However, there was one questions I failed to ask: would alt codes work in Vista?

It simply did not occur to me to ask this. It seemed to me like asking “will the breaks work in this new car?” How could the computer industry eliminate something that was functioning so well? It’s beyond me.

Now, whenever I need to write something in Spanish or Portuguese, I have to use the desktop, as I certainly don’t want to look like a half-literate person who doesn’t know where to put the "tildas". So much for the advantage of having the laptop…

If anybody has a suggestion as to how can I make my laptop speak Spanish or Portuguese, this will be greatly appreciated. I could not figure out how to install other languages keyboard, either (it is so easy and straightforward in Windows!)

Thank you.


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:58
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Installing keyboards in Vista Sep 13, 2009

My laptop has Vista too, and I'd much rather it had XP, for many reasons, but installing keyboards is not something I find a problem.
In XP: Control Panel > Regional and Languages Options > Languages > Details
In Vista: Control Panel > Regional and languages Options > Keyboards and Languages > Change keyboards
After that, Vista is much the same as XP.
Sorry, I can't help as regards the Alt + number codes problem, I never use that myself, I just change keyboards, if only for one letter & then back again.

P.S. Just checked my laptop and find it is the same as Alexandra's, the codes don't work, with or without pressing NumLock. But as I said, I never use them anyway.


[Edited at 2009-09-13 15:56 GMT]


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Helen B  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 21:58
English to French
+ ...
Vista home premium and Office 2007 Sep 13, 2009

I have Vista on my computer and ascii codes work.

I was wondering if following the steps in the article below would be a possible solution for you.

http://windowshelp.microsoft.com/Windows/en-us/help/28efd76b-1024-46a5-98c3-fcdb41c89be61033.mspx
[Edited at 2009-09-13 07:00 GMT]

[Edited at 2009-09-13 07:01 GMT]


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:58
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Vista vs XP Sep 13, 2009

This post confirms my own opinions. The more I hear about the problems friends and colleagues have had with Vista, the happier I am that I have XP - and I don't intend to "upgrade" until Microsoft forces me to do so.
Long live the Alt codes!
Best wishes,
Jenny


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Robert Tucker
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:58
German to English
+ ...
AllChars Sep 13, 2009

AllChars

AllChars provides a quick, easy-to-remember way of creating accents like é Ü ç î æ and special characters like ƒ ² ‰ © £ ± ß ° 1/2 ¿ « » ™ „ in most Windows programs.

AllChars emulates the *nix Compose key on Windows.


Windows Vista

The developers are working on AllChars Version 5 that will also run on Windows Vista.

There is a Alpha version of it available for download on SourceForge.

Older versions work partly on Windows Vista. Macro's do not work but the composed characters work in most programs, but not al(ways).

http://allchars.zwolnet.com/

I have AllChars Version 4 installed on Windows 7 and the only minor problem I have with it is the need to disable it if one wants to use Internet Explorer.

I think using AllChars on Windows (or the compose key on Linux) when there is just a word or a few words to write with accented characters (names, titles of books etc) but changing keyboard when writing complete texts in the non-English language is probably the best way on. Using Alt+code to do this seems to me desperately slow and tedious.


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Alexandra Goldburt
Local time: 12:58
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you all! Sep 13, 2009

Thank you very much for suggestions, Jack, Helen, and Robert. I'll try to use your suggestions later today and let you know if it solved the problem.

Thank you, Jenny, for sharing my frustration with Vista! It's always nice to know that you are not alone in the world...


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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:58
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Changing keyboards did not work for me Sep 13, 2009

I use Vista and changing keyboards along the lines Jack suggests did not work for me. In my case, the problem only arises when I am on Internet Explorer (for example, typing into a field on this site) so installing "AllChars," as Robert Tucker suggests, is not a solution.

Is there no solution that would allow me to use the combinations I use in MS Word (e.g., alt='+e to type an "e" with a grave accent)?

Thanks and best to all.


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laura e. asturias / TransWiz
Guatemala
Local time: 14:58
English to Spanish
This could help you Sep 15, 2009

Hi Alexandra,

I asked my son about this (he's a computer specialist) and this is what he said:

Look at this

Change your keyboard layout
http://windowshelp.microsoft.com/Windows/en-US/help/765a7264-b593-4458-90cf-0d0713b5dfe61033.mspx

In order to use the Alt+ codes you need to use the Fn key (Function) + Alt, because these keyboards usually don't have Numpad (i.e. numerical keyboard) unless it's a 17-inch laptop.

So, if you need the 'ñ', use Fn+Alt+164.

He also said the Alt+ codes are independent from the language your keyboard is using.

Hope this helps.
Laura


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xxxAguas de Mar
Where is the Fn key???? Sep 15, 2009

laura e. asturias / TransWiz wrote:

In order to use the Alt+ codes you need to use the Fn key (Function) + Alt, because these keyboards usually don't have Numpad (i.e. numerical keyboard) unless it's a 17-inch laptop.

So, if you need the 'ñ', use Fn+Alt+164.

He also said the Alt+ codes are independent from the language your keyboard is using.

Hope this helps.
Laura

I have a Gateway PC with Vista (which I also hate, welcome to the club), and I cannot find the Fn key in my keyboard. Any ideas?


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Alexandra Goldburt
Local time: 12:58
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
An update Sep 15, 2009

Laura's son provided a valuable insight that we "mature" people miss (aren't young people unappreciated geniuses?)

It seems to me know that the problem is not with Vista, but with the fact that laptops don't have a number pad. Sadly, "Fn" key did not help (on my laptop, it's located to the right of "Ctrl"). I tried to use Fn+Alt+164 by simultaneously holding down both Fn and Alt keys and pressing 1,6,4, consecutively - and nothing happened. Bummer. Did I do something wrong?

However, the instructions provided by Jack (thanks, Jack), as well as the link given by Laura's son, which repeats the same instructions, but in greater detail (send big thanks to your son, Laura!), allowed me to install Spanish keyboard. Big thanks!

Now, I need to learn how to use the Spanish keyboard. It's funny - I have it installed on my desktop, but I never bothered to learn how to use it, always using the Alt codes.

I'm sure somewhere on the web there should be instructions as to use Spanish keyboard. Can someone please provide me with the link?

Big thanks to all!


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laura e. asturias / TransWiz
Guatemala
Local time: 14:58
English to Spanish
Function key / Gateway Sep 15, 2009

Aguas de Marco wrote:
I have a Gateway PC with Vista (which I also hate, welcome to the club), and I cannot find the Fn key in my keyboard. Any ideas?


I'm not familiar with Gateway, but I was just looking at the "Using the keyboard" section (page 34) of the User Guide for the Gateway M275 Notebook at http://support.gateway.com/s/Manuals/Mobile/9528977_M275_web.pdf. According to the picture there, the Function key is on the left lower corner of the keyboard.

I suppose Gateway provides User Guides for all their other models. Try searching for yours at http://www.gateway.com/.

Best,
Laura


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laura e. asturias / TransWiz
Guatemala
Local time: 14:58
English to Spanish
You're welcome, Alexandra... Sep 15, 2009

My son has been a very valuable (re)source for me since he was 13 (11 years ago). Too bad the Function key didn't work, though.

As to the Spanish keyboard, try these links:

How to Type Spanish Keyboard Symbols:
http://www.conted.und.edu/Bbsix/courses/TypeSpanish.html

Typing Spanish Language Characters on an English keyboard:
http://www.spanishnewyork.com/spanish-characters.html

Download on-screen Spanish keyboard for free:
http://frontype.com/keyboard/Spanish-keyboard-layout.html

Good luck!
Laura


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Madeleine MacRae Klintebo  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:58
Swedish to English
+ ...
Fn keys = laptop only Sep 15, 2009

Aguas de Marco wrote:
I have a Gateway PC with Vista (which I also hate, welcome to the club), and I cannot find the Fn key in my keyboard. Any ideas?


And unless Gateway's has started making laptops, you have a desktop PC with a numeric keyboard. So Alt key should work as normal - Vista or no Vista.


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Robert Tucker
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:58
German to English
+ ...
US International Keyboard Sep 15, 2009

Of course, if you don't like changing keyboards another method favoured by many is to use the US International Keyboard.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/306560


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xxxAguas de Mar
Both... Sep 15, 2009

Madeleine MacRae Klintebo wrote:

Aguas de Marco wrote:
I have a Gateway PC with Vista (which I also hate, welcome to the club), and I cannot find the Fn key in my keyboard. Any ideas?


And unless Gateway's has started making laptops, you have a desktop PC with a numeric keyboard. So Alt key should work as normal - Vista or no Vista.


I have both, a Gateway PC and a laptop (but will not buy any more Gateways due to the company's current horrible customer service), and neither of them has the "Fn" key. As a matter of fact, I don't recall ever seeing such a key on any computer; that is why I asked.

The Alt key (which both my computers have) does not work with numbers to insert letters like "ñ" or "é". I was going to mention that I have always worked with three different keyboards (US, Spanish, and Canadian French), and that it just takes a bit of time to get used to switching between them and remembering where they accent and symbol keys are. Whenever I do not remember, I use the "insert" function in Word. This might not be very practical, but is another option.


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