Installing an extra keyboard
The easiest way to type accents using a Windows computer is to install an extra Windows keyboard. For the Mac, see this page.
Installing the keyboard is easy, and once installed on your own computer, you can change to it at any time by clicking on a little indicator like this or like this in your system tray (bottom right). Notice that Windows may revert to the default keyboard (English) each time you change programs. So if you leave Word and open Netscape, you may have to select the keyboard again if you need it.
For French, you can install the French or French Canadian keyboard, and for Spanish the Spanish keyboard, but in the University of Calgary language laboratories we have been using an international keyboard for many years and find it the most convenient. It allows you to type accents for French, Spanish, Italian, German and Portuguese without changing any of the key assignments on the keyboard. All that happens is that accent keys (the two apostrophes '`, the tilde ~, quotation marks " and the circumflex ^) become “dead” keys so that when you hit them followed by a letter, they accent it.
Windows 2000 and XP
In Windows XP and 2000, you need to install the US International keyboard. Unfortunately, successive editions of 2000 and XP have very slightly different ways of installing it, so you might have to adapt the following a little. To install, go to Start > Settings > Control Panel > (Date, Time) Regional and Language Options, and click on the Languages tab at the top. Click on the Details button. Then click on Add. In the dialogue box that appears (Add Input language), leave English (United States) or English (Canada) as the Input language, check the little box next to Keyboard layout/IME and from the drop-down list, choose US International. Then click OK as many times as necessary to get out. You should then have the right keyboard. You can choose it from the little popup that appears usually at the bottom of the screen, either or
Windows 98, ME
To install, go to the Control Panel (Start > Settings > Control Panel), choose Keyboard, then click on the Language tab. Click the Add button and find Portuguese Brazilian (yes...) on the drop down list. Then click ok. You might be asked for you original Windows CD. If you don't have it, you might be able to give as an alternate place to look the subdirectory c:/windows/options/cabs.
Where are the accents?
To type accents with these two keyboards, use the apostrophe for acute (or Spanish) accents (as in é), the back apostrophe (usually just under the Escape key) for grave accents (as in à, ù) and the circumflex key (above the number 6) for circumflex accents (as in û, ô, î). You type the accent, then the letter. To get the apostrophe (as in it's, George's), you type apostrophe, then space, then the next letter. The ñ is obtained by using the tilde (below the escape key usually), then n, and this works too for Ñ.The umlaut or dieresis (ü) is like the acute accent, but using shift to get the “.And the ç is apostrophe + c.
What if I’m working on a University computer?
The International keyboard is already installed in the language department labs (CH E212 and D428) and in the Tri-Faculty Lab (SS 018). Elsewhere on campus, if the keyboard is not installed and you can't install it yourself, you need to use an Alt + number pad combination. For more information on this, and also for the Option combinations needed for Macintosh, go to this page.