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Ecrivez-Vous Français? How to Type French Accents and French Words
Though you may live in the U.S.A., your international outlook often prompts to type letters to recipients living in France, and to pepper your essays with French expressions. Or perhaps you’ve decided to take French to broaden your travel horizons, and need to type essays in that language. Unfortunately, your American-bought keyboard, while perfectly functional for English, lacks any facility for Gallic characters.
Actually, if you’re using Windows, you can use a standard keyboard to create French accents and French words. However, you will need to use a word processor or entry box that accepts formatted characters. For example, Microsoft Word or WordPad can handle French characters, but the text-based Notepad cannot.
The simplest method of typing letters with French accents is to press the CTRL key and the accent mark, and then the corresponding letter. The following are examples:
- To enter “á”, press the CTRL and apostrophe (‘) keys, and then the “a” key.
- To enter “è”, press the CTRL key and apostrophe (`) key next to the “1” key on the main keyboard. Then, press the “e” key.
- To enter “ç”, press the CTRL key and comma(,), and then the “c” key.
- To enter “ê”, press the CTRL key and (^), and then the “e” key.
- To enter “ä”, press the CTRL key, SHIFT key and (:), and then the “a” key.
You cannot type ligatures like “æ” with this method.
You can also type French accents and French words by using ALT codes. This requires pressing the ALT key and while keeping it pressed, entering the corresponding code below using the number keypad.
À ALT + 0192
Â ALT + 0194
Ä ALT + 0196
à ALT + 0224
â ALT + 0226
ä ALT + 0228
Ç ALT + 0199
ç ALT + 0231
È ALT + 0200
É ALT + 0201
Ê ALT + 0202
Ë ALT + 0203
è ALT + 0232
é ALT + 0233
ê ALT + 0234
ë ALT + 0235
Î ALT + 0206
Ï ALT + 0207
î ALT + 0238
ï ALT + 0239
Ô ALT + 0212
ô ALT + 0244
Œ ALT + 0140
œ ALT + 0156
Ù ALT + 0217
Û ALT + 0219
Ü ALT + 0220
ù ALT + 0249
û ALT + 0251
ü ALT + 0252
Ÿ ALT + 0159
ÿ ALT + 0255
Switching to the French Canadian Keyboard
When typing long French documents, you may prefer to
temporarily switch your keyboard to a French layout in Windows 7.
the Start button and then click “Control Panel,” “Clock, Language and
Region” and “Change Keyboards or Other Input Methods” under Region and
Language. The Region and Language dialog box appears.
the “Keyboards and Languages” tab, if it is not already active. Then press
the “Change Keyboards” button to display the Text Services and Input
Language dialog box.
the “Add” button, if French does not appear as an installed service. This
shows the “Add Input Language” dialog box.
the variant of French that you need. I recommend using “French (Canada)”
and under that, choosing “Canadian French” because this keyboard most
closely resembles the American QWERTY keyboard. The France keyboard from
France has a slightly different, and more confusing layout.
Press “OK” to close the Add Input dialog box. The “FR” icon appears next to “French” in the Installed Services box. Press “OK” twice to close the Tex Services and Input Languages dialog box and the Region and Language dialog box.
The “EN” icon for “English” appears on the far right of your taskbar. Select that icon to show the Languages popup. Pick “FR (French)” to activate the French language keyboard.
Using the French Canadian Keyboard
You type French accents on French words as follows:
- To enter a vowel with an acute accent like “é”, press the apostrophe (‘) key and then the vowel.
- To enter a vowel with a grave accent like “à”, press the apostrophe (`) key next to the “1” key on the main keyboard. Then, press the “e” key
- To enter a vowel with a circumflex like “ê”, press the SHIFT key, the “[“ key and then the vowel.
- To enter a vowel with a trema like “ä”, press the SHIFT key, the “]” key and then the vowel.
- To enter the “ç”, press the “]” key and then the “c” key.
You cannot type ligatures like “æ” with French Canadian keyboard.
For information on typing Spanish accents, see How to Type Spanish Accents on Spanish Words.
© 2011 by Aurelio Locsin
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