Using the ALT Key to Enter Special Characters

February 7th, 2007

TipsOld hands from the early days of DOS and Windows will remember entering special characters by holding down the ALT key and typing a 3-digit number on the numerical keypad. This was essential when using the line-drawing (╠╣║) or block-drawing(▐▬▌█) characters. Then Windows got more advanced and began supporting multiple character encodings in unicode format. And the number of ALT-key digits went from three to four, with the leading zero making a difference (for example, ALT-0174 is “?” while ALT-174 is “?”). I’ve never yet figured out the mapping between unicode and the ALT codes (sometimes it’s very straightforward, sometimes not), so I just gave up and learned to use the Windows Character Map applet (like this: ?). Or, if coding HTML, I would use the HTML character entities (like this: ©).

The linked site gives ALT codes for common non-typeable characters. It shows me that I can simply type ALT-0169 to get ?. The site presents its lists in a manner amenable to printing and posting on the wall near a computer. It’s a bit of a time saver if you frequently use non-English characters or non-typeable special characters.

(via Lifehacker)

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