Written by Lucinda

How do I use keyboard characters in Windows?

You can try to avoid them as much as possible, but occasionally you cannot escape them: words with special characters. In this article, I explain how you can use the characters above the numbers on your keyboard in Windows. In addition, you will know exactly how to get the proverbial dots literally on the "i".

Use the characters above the numbers

Enter at sign

There are other characters on the row of keys with numbers on it. To use this, a key combination is required.

  • The visible characters, such as the @ with the 2 and the! for the 1 you activate by first holding down the shift key and then choosing the number with the character that you would like to see appear.

Please note: the ^ on key 6 will only appear if you type a space after the key combination or type a letter with a joke like the e.

The Euro sign

Euro sign type

The Euro sign is a special case.

  • For this symbol, hold down the CTRLkey and the alt key while briefly clicking on the 5.

A € appears on your screen. Although this symbol is not always visible on a keyboard, this combination always works. Among the rest of the numeric keys are also hidden characters that you activate with ctrl + alt. You can find the ² above 2 for example to express square meters and the ½ below 7 to indicate 50%. Give them all a try and you might discover a handy shortcut for a character that you often use yourself.

Stripes and dots on letters

E type with dots

E with dots (ë)

To get a diaeresis e, or acute accent, a different combination of keys is needed.

  • Hold down the shift key and briefly press the key with ". Release both keys and type the e.

Now an ë, or e umlaut, appears on your screen. If you do the same, but instead of typing the e, you get an i with dots. This also works with the u, the a and the o.

Dash on the e types

Dash on the e (é)

  • For an e with a dash, or acute accent, briefly type the ". You don't see anything appearing yet. If you immediately type the letter e, you will see an é on your screen.

This also works with the i, o, u and a. A line that is on the other side is called an grave accent. You type this by briefly pressing the button next to the 1. Then you type the e and appear and è. The same happens if you do this with a u, i, o and a.

A different character appears than the one I entered

Sometimes you get to see a different character than you typed on the keyboard. For example, you may see a "=" appear if you actually have a? wanted to have. Chances are that the input language of your keyboard has changed. You can solve this by resetting the language of your keyboard. You can read how to do this in the following article.


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