How To Enter Special Spanish Characters On Your Keyboard
As you've seen, there are special characters used in the Spanish language that aren't used in English.
Sometimes the special character is an accent mark above a letter like this á. Or, the special character could be the waved line above the n that looks like this ñ, and changes the n sound so it sounds like the "ny" letter combination in the English word canyon. And you'll remember that when you use a question mark or exclaimation mark in Spanish, there is also a ¿ or a ¡ character at the beginning of the sentence.
In this lesson you'll learn what these special characters are, and how to work with the special characters, especially on the computer. You'll learn how to enter the special Spanish characters with your keyboard. And you'll learn to enter the special Spanish characters in any program you use on your computer.
Why do I need to use the special Spanish characters?
Even if you have no plans to do professional Spanish translation, or type Spanish books into your computer, you'll still want to be able to type the special Spanish characters into your computer. You'll need them when you send an email to a Spanish speaking friend, or post a message in Spanish to a Spanish Chat Room, or use an online Spanish forum.
The question sometimes comes up, "Do I really have to use the special Spanish characters at all?" After all, the letters look very similar, and won't I be understood if I just use regular characters? And the answer is, Yes, you really need to use the Spanish special characters. They're an important part of the language and they make it much easier for others to understand what you've written in Spanish.
When you see these special characters, a common question is "How do I enter the special characters for the Spanish language on my computer keyboard?" There are several different ways of entering special Spanish characters on the computer keyboard. Most word processing programs allow you to change the special keyboard layouts specifically designed for the Spanish language. This is a very good feature to have for extended Spanish word processing such as writing a book in Spanish or doing Spanish translation services.
The Best Method for Entering Special Spanish Characters
So which is the best method for entering special Spanish characters into the computer programs I use? The most reliable way to enter the special Spanish characters is to use the keyboard to directly enter the key-codes by holding down the "ALT" key while entering the 3 or 4 digit number for the letter you want to type.
This method works best because it works on all programs -- It works in your favorite word processor and it works in Microsoft Notepad, and Microsoft Word. This method works just as well in your favorite Web-based email program like Yahoo mail, Hotmail, or Gmail.
Listed below is a table of the special Spanish characters you need and all the character code numbers that you will enter as you hold down the "ALT" key on your keyboard. There is also a table of special characters using the ampersand character. Be sure to experiment with you computer system to find the codes that work best. If you'd like, you can print this page and keep it near your computer for a handy reference.
|Letter / Character||Keyboard Keys|
|Letter / Character||Keyboard Code|