International Keyboard Setup ( for those who don’t want to switch the keyboard layout constantly)
To my knowledge, few people know that it is very easy to use a keyboard layout that allows you to enter accents used in different languages, without having to switch the keyboard layout to a particular language.
It’s very simple. From the Control Panel, select Regional and Language Options and then select “English (United States) – United States International". This may vary depending on your Windows OS (XP, 95, 97 etc.), but the three keywords are 1)English, 2) United States, and 3) International.
Now you have an English keyboard layout BUT you can enter all the accents with it.
Acute Accent (á)
Press the key that has the single and double quotes, then press the letter you want accented. You will notice that when you press the single quote key, nothing happens… the keyboard is waiting for input from the next key (letters a, e, i, o and u). When you press the letter key, it is displayed with the acute accent. Examples: Spanish – canción (song).
Press the single quote key and then the “c” key. Examples: French – garçon (boy).
Press Shift and the single quote key, and then press the letter key. Examples: Spanish - antigüo (old).
Press Shift and the key corresponding to the tilde (the key usually has the tilde and accent grave), then press the corresponding key letter. Examples: Spanish - año (year) and Portuguese - razão (reason, sake).
Press Shift and the number key 6 with the circumflex. Then press the letter key. Examples: French - disgrâce (disgrace) and chêne (oak).
Accent Grave (à)
Press the key corresponding to the accent grave (the key usually has the tilde and accent grave), then press the corresponding key letter. Examples: French – père (father).
Last but not least
To enter single quotes, you have to press the quote key and then the spacebar (remember, the first time you press it, nothing happens until you press the second key, which in this case is the spacebar). To enter double quotes, press Shift and the quote key, then the spacebar. The same is true of all the keys mentioned above that you use in combination with other keys to enter different characters.
The other advantage of using this keyboard layout is that the keys are that of an English keyboard, and that is what most people have. This means that what you see on the key itself, is what you get… so you don’t have to guess where the brackets and other symbols are located in your keyboard!