Typing Spanish Accents

Where you need to type accented characters, we have provided a toolbar. Simply click on the character you want to insert.

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However, we strongly recommend that you learn how to type these characters on your computer. Click for instructions:

Window Users - general information

You have two basic options: type in cryptic codes or set up your keyboard differently. Typing in cryptic codes is cumbersome and frustrating. Usually, setting up your keyboard is the best way to go.

Setting up your keyboard actually means re-configuring your system so that it is easy to use your keyboard to create accented characters. "Re-configuring your system" may sound ominous, but it is really quite simple.

Windows 3.11

  1. Close all of your programs.
  2. Shut your system down.
  3. Re-start your system.
  4. Click on the "Control Panel" icon.
  5. Click on the "Keyboard" icon.
  6. For Keyboard Layout choose "International - US" from the menu.
  7. You may be required to insert one of your Windows diskettes or CD-ROM.
  8. When finished, shut down your system.
  9. Restart your system.
  10. Read the instructions for "Using the U.S. - International Keyboard" below.

Window 95-98 and beyond

  1. Close all of your programs.
  2. Shut your system down.
  3. Re-start your system.
  4. Open Control Panel. (Start - Settings - Control Panel)
  5. Double-click "Keyboard" icon.
  6. Click on "Language" tab.
  7. Click on "Properties" button.
  8. Choose "United States - International" from the menu.
  9. Click on "OK" button.
  10. You may be required to insert your Windows CD-ROM.
  11. When finished, shut down your system.
  12. Restart your system.
  13. Read the instructions for "Using the U.S. - International Keyboard" below.

Windows XP

  1. Log On
  2. Click the Start button
  3. Click on Control Panel
  4. Click Regional and Language Options - a new window will pop up
  5. Click the Languages tab
  6. Click on the Details button
  7. Click the Add button - a new window will pop up
  8. Select United States-International (keyboard layout menu)
  9. Click OK
  10. Click Apply
  11. Read the instructions for "Using the U.S. - International Keyboard" below.

Note: You will now have a keyboard icon on the taskbar (usually on the right side). To switch between keyboard layouts click the keyboard icon on the task bar and choose which layout you want to use. Changing the keyboard layout will only affect the log on profile used. No other users will be affected.

Windows Vista

  1. Start-->Control Panel-->Clock, Language, Region-->Change Keyboards
  2. New Window: Click the Change Keyboards button
  3. New Window: Click the Add button
  4. Select United States-International keyboard
  5. Click OK
  6. From drop down menu (Default Input Language) select United States International

Using the U.S. - International Keyboard

If you followed the above directions carefully, your keyboard will now react slightly differently than it did before. First of all, notice that if you strike the single apostrophe (') key, nothing happens. To type the single apostrophe now, you must strike the single apostrophe key and then strike the space bar. When you strike the spacebar, the apostrophe will appear.

The next thing to note is that the quotes (") key behaves the same way as the apostrophe key. You must first strike the quotes key and then strike the space bar in order to create the (") symbol. These two minor inconveniences are more than made up for by the ease with which you can now type the special characters.

To type the special characters, two keystrokes are required. To type the á, you need only strike the apostrophe key and then the letter a. The other characters are just as easy:

  • á = ' + a
  • é = ' + e
  • í = ' + i
  • ó = ' + o
  • ú = ' + u
  • ñ = ~ + n
  • ü = " + u

To type the special punctuation characters, you need to hold down on the Alt key while you strike the appropriate punctuation mark. On some keyboards, only one of the two Alt keys will work for this.

  • ¡ = Alt (hold down) + !
  • ¿ = Alt (hold down) + ?

Using Cryptic Codes

If, for some reason, you don't want to change your keyboard, you can always type in the troublesome cryptic codes. Using this arcane system, the following codes apply:

  • á = Alt + 0225
  • é = Alt + 0233
  • í = Alt + 0237
  • ó = Alt + 0243
  • ú = Alt + 0250
  • ñ = Alt + 0241
  • ü = Alt + 0252
  • ¡ = Alt + 0161
  • ¿ Alt + 0191

When using this utterly out-dated system, there are two important things to remember. First, when you type in the numbers, some keyboards require that you use the "numeric keypad" located to the side, rather than the numbers along the top. Second, on some keyboards, only one of the two Alt keys will work for this.

Mac Users

To get accents on the Mac, hold down the Option key, and while holding it down, type the letter e; then release those keys and type the letter that you want the accent to appear on:

  • á = Opt + e, then a
  • é = Opt + e, then e
  • í = Opt + e, then i
  • ó = Opt + e, then o
  • ú = Opt + e, then u

For the , hold down the Option key while you type the n; release and type n again.

  • ñ = Opt + n, then n

To place the diaeresis over the u, hold down the Option key while pressing the u key; release and type u again.

  • ü = Opt + u, then u

The inverted punctuation marks are achieved as follows:

  • ¡ = Opt + 1
  • ¿ Opt + shift + ?

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