The Characters You Don’t See

Whenever I send a message to my friend @marclijour, I really don’t want to send the word garcon when I really mean garçon.  If you have an English keyboard on your computer, you quickly learn how to create these letters with cedilla so that the words are spelled properly.  If it’s your first language, you might change the language settings on the computer.  In my case, I learned the ALT plus three digits to generate the characters.

Visit any French classroom that uses computers and you’ll probably see a table of the most popular ones on a wall.

What do you do on your iPod or iPhone though?  There is no ALT key.  As it turns out, all the characters are there – if you know how to find them and use them on your English keyboard.  The process is actually pretty simply.  You could go into the settings and change alternate keyboards or use this technique.  Hold a key down and a popup of options based upon the letter pressed appears and you choose the character you want.  There is literally a world of additional characters available to you so that you can spell any word that you wish to use correctly.  All you need to do is learn the technique.

The technique is similar to shifting case.  If you want a capital letter, you don’t have to click the caps lock, then click the key, then turn the caps lock off.  Just touch the keyboard on the caps lock key and then, without lifting your finger, slide to the letter you wish capitalized and release.  The technique may be a little odd at first but it’s a real timesaver in the long run.  Just remember, it’s where you release your finger that determines what is displayed. 
To get you started, you’ve see the .com key when you browse the web, right?  Not every domain is .com though.  Click and hold the .com key to reveal even more


So, at great personal expenditure of time, and thanks to the Twittelator application for the keyboard, here are the characters that you don’t see on your keyboard!  Of course, Twittelator has another way to generate the characters but that’s for another day.


Please feel free to let me know of ones that I missed!

links for 2010-05-01