Here’s the scenario: You’re typing a report for work when the term “Jones née Berkowitz” appears on the screen. Alternatively, you can add a statement in Spanish and use the term ‘años’. How can you use your Windows 11 PC to add special characters to letters?
Although special characters (also known as diacritics) are more common in some languages, English speakers may need to utilize them in a variety of situations. Native English speakers may not know how to add certain characters to documents, emails, or other works because they are so uncommon in English.
It’s not difficult to add them to your Windows document, though it isn’t as simple as it is on a Mac, where you simply hold down the proper key. (In fact, you should look up the symbol character codes at some point.)
When using a Windows 11 computer, there are numerous options for adding special characters:
Making Use Of The Touch Keyboard
Enabling the Windows touch keyboard is the simplest way to add diacritics to a document. If you’re using a Windows tablet or a PC in tablet mode, the touch keyboard shows automatically. If you don’t have a touchscreen, you can use the keyboard icon in the taskbar next to the date if you don’t have one. Do you not see what I mean? Here’s how to acquire it:
- Search for ‘touch keyboard’ using the toolbar’s search icon. Alternatively, navigate to Settings > Time & Language > Typing > Touch keyboard†.
- To enable Show the touch keyboard when no keyboard is connected, select Show the touch keyboard when no keyboard is connected†.
Now, if you wish to use a special character, do so as follows:
- Select the touch keyboard icon from the drop-down menu. (It’s normally on the right-hand side of the taskbar).
- The touch keyboard is displayed. Long press the letter you want to use (with your mouse button or, if you have a touchscreen, your finger).
- You’ll now see a few more keys that show you how to type that letter using other symbols. Choose the one you want to use, and it will be added to your document.
- Click the emoji icon to add an emoji or a GIF. (It’s the heart icon in the keyboard’s top-left corner).
Use The Emoji Keyboard To Express Yourself
The Windows emoji keyboard is another keyboard you can use to easily add special characters to your text. Yes, it’s primarily for adding emoji to your text, but it may also be used for other things. It’s also simple to use.
- Press and hold the Windows key while pressing the period key.
- The emoji keyboard is displayed. At the top of the page, select the Symbols tab (fourth from the left).
- Scroll down until you locate the person you’re looking for. You may also use the categories at the top to get to different types of characters (such as “General Punctuation” or “Currency Symbols”).
Take Advantage Of The Character Card
You can utilize the Character Map, which is a less polished and more complicated version of the touch keyboard but provides a comparable function, if you wish to try a more traditional approach of introducing special characters to Windows.
To gain access to your Windows 11 system, follow these steps:
- Select your taskbar’s search icon, type “character” into the search field, and then select the Character Map app.
- A pop-up card with some special characters for a specific typeface is given to you. The font can be changed by selecting it from the font drop-down menu at the top.
- Click the “Select” button after selecting the letter(s) or special characters you want to utilize in your document. They show up in the field for Characters to Copy.
- To copy and paste the character(s) into your document, click the to copy and paste the character(s) into your document button once you’ve picked all of the relevant characters.
Use The International Keyboard Of The United States
If you’re multilingual and use a lot of special characters, the US International Keyboard can help. It maps your keyboard to make it easier to type unique characters. (The tip comes from “shiroledat.”)
To begin, you must first install the US international keyboard on Windows:
- Select Settings > Time & Language > Language & Region† from the drop-down menu.
- To search Preferred languages, select English United States (assuming you speak English in the United States). Then Select Language options from the three dots on the right.
- Look for the Keyboards area, which will probably only have one keyboard icon labelled US / QWERTY† if you’ve never been there before. You’re currently using that keyboard card. To the right of Installed keyboard, click the Add a keyboard button.
- Scroll down to United States-International† / QWERTY and click it in the pop-up option that displays.
You can now choose between the conventional US keyboard and the US international keyboard at any time. By looking at the date in the lower right corner of your taskbar, you can see which one is active. Either ENG / US or NL / INTL† will appear. When you click it (or press Windows key+spacebar), a pop-up menu appears, allowing you to swap from one to the other.
You can add special characters to your US International keyboard in two ways:
- One of the most typical combos is to use the right Alt key in conjunction with the correct letter. For instance, pressing Alt + e will result in It is to be†
- Select the symbol you wish to use, then the letter with which you want to use it. For instance, if you press the † symbol first, then the n key, you will receive n †.
Washington State University has created a useful chart that lists all of the symbols available on the US International Keyboard.
Use The Value In Unicode
Are you familiar with the character map? After selecting a letter or special character, look in the lower right corner of the character card for the words keystroke, alt, and a four-digit number. This number indicates the symbol’s Unicode value and is the time-honored method of adding characters.
If you use a few special characters frequently, it can be easier to just type the character you want using your regular keyboard. There are various options; here are two of the simplest (each with its own set of drawbacks):
- Then type the four-digit Unicode value while holding down the Alt key. You’ll need a separate numeric keypad on your keyboard and the NumLock key enabled for this to operate.
- You can type the Unicode value and then press Alt-X† if you’re using Microsoft Word, WordPad, Outlook, or any other Microsoft software.
- You may also highlight a letter by pressing Control + a symbol + the letter you wish to highlight. If you’re in a Microsoft app, for example, Ctrl+’ and e will result in To be.