How to Type Foreign Letters on a Computer Keyboard

Written by michael o. smathers
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If you regularly type documents in a foreign language, you may have to insert special characters, accent markings or currency symbols into your document. Microsoft Word, the most popular Windows word processing program, contains tools that allow you to easily insert characters from foreign languages and create easy keyboard shortcuts for future use.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Microsoft Word

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  1. 1

    Open your document in Microsoft Word, navigate the cursor to where you want to type a foreign character and click the "Insert" tab on the main toolbar at the top of the window. Choose the "Symbol" option.

  2. 2

    Click the arrow in the "Subset" dialogue box and scroll through the available list to navigate to your language group. If necessary, alter the font in the Font box. For example, if you need to insert Japanese hiragana, change the font to "Asian symbols" and the Subset to "Hiragana."

  3. 3

    Scroll to the symbol you want to insert. According to the Washington State University Department of Foreign Language, you then hold the "Alt" button and type in the four-digit number on the number pad of your keyboard. If you use a laptop, the "Alt" key may be replaced by a "Function," "Fn" or similar key and you type the keys that correspond to the mapped numbers.

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