My Keyboard Speaks French

27 Jun

When writing these posts I quite often run into a scenario where a letter needs to be accented or inflected or look funny.  Sometimes I’d just hunt it down in Microsoft Word by adding a Symbol.  Other times I’d track the bugger down on the internets.  Both ways felt slow and a bit like cheating.  I felt like there had to be a better way to get my “e” all fancified.  And, of course, there is.

çookie, çookie, çookie starts with ç!

Frequent reader and current co-worker, Lori, pointed this one out to me after her recent visit to the UK.  She’d been working there and her British counterparts explained that all she needed was an [Alt] key, a character map and a little patience.  You hear that, Axl?  Anyway, should you be the kind of geek I am/we are, you might like this info. 

FUN WITH CHARACTER MAP!

  1. Go to > Start > Run
  2. In Open: field type “charmap”
  3. Click OK
  4. You’ll get something that looks like my screen shot on the right
  5. Pick out a character you like, click ç, for example
  6. The Keystroke info will appear in the bottom left
  7. For ç, hold down your [Alt] key then type “0231”
  8. Let go of the [Alt] key and voilá!, your keyboard speaks French… or Italian or German, etc.

In the tech industry, the main European languages are often referred to as EFIGS or English, French, Italian, German and Spanish.  Now what if you speak Romanian or Dutch?  Those characters exist, of course, but they don’t play nice with the [Alt] key.  These letters weren’t originally included in the unicode alphabet, which is the standard for coding text for HTML among other systems for writing.  Unicode has included these letters for awhile but most operating systems fail to play nice with them and there is still limited support for these characters.  So never fear, there is increasing support for Arabic, Greek, Hebrew, Scandinavian and Cyrillic alphabets, it’s just not standard yet. 

Some characters you might fancy:

  •    –   [Alt] + 0128   –   Euro Symbol (the number behind this should be multiplied by 5,000 to get the current exchange rate in dollars or $)
  • §   –   [Alt] + 0167   –   Section Sign (used in notations/footers but basically I just think it looks cool)
  • ß   –   [Alt] + 0223   –   Double S (Germans use this in place of “ss” as in “Grüße Gott” which translates into “God’s greeting” and is pronounced as “groose goot”.  The Austrians use this as a greeting because they’re Austrian and that’s how they roll, playa.)
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