Do you communicate with clients from foreign countries? Do you do business in non-US dollar currencies? Do some of your employees have names with non-English characters such as ç or ñ?
Each of the major operating systems have character maps that correlate to Unicode. Unicode is a system that assigns a uniform hexadecimal value for each text and numeric character so that systems can communicate clearly across platforms. While you may not understand what I just wrote, here is the takeaway. There are shortcuts available to all computer users that will create characters that other computers will understand.
For Windows Users:
You can use your ‘Character Map’ available to Windows users (All programs, Accessories, System Tools, Character Map) or use a handy chart of Alt codes. I use this one all of the time, it is from the Foreign Language Department of Washington State University. You simply hold down your ALT key and then enter the code from the list.
- Go to Apple menu > System Preferences and select International.
- Select Input Menu, then select Keyboard Viewer.
- Select “on” next to language’s keyboard layout you want to use.
- Select Show Keyboard Viewer from the Input menu on the right side of the menu bar.
A flag will be in the menu bar. When you want to type a special character, click the flag and select “Show Keyboard Viewer“. When you press Shift and Option buttons, the on-screen keyboard will show up.
In no time, you will comfortably communicating with the rest of the world and not struggling to find a way of avoiding typing something unfamiliar!