You might be confronted with this problem if you bought your PC in the States and are using it to write in French. Writing even a short text can be very tedious when you have to use the insert symbol function everytime you want to write an “e” with an accent aigu…and there are a lot of accent aigus! Here’s an easy technique that will allow you to type French accents in a snap:
- Go to Start > Control Panel > Regional and Language Options
- When the new window pops up, select the 3rd tab: “Keyboards and Languages”
- Click on “Change keyboards…” to see a list of your keyboard languages.
- Add the following language: “United States-International”.
**I would advise you remove your previous language as it can be a pain to switch from one keyboard to another, and it sometimes does do this while typing. Very irritating…. Or you can leave it as it is and come back later. Just make sure “United States-International” is now at the top of the keyboard list (using the “move up” button).
Now, open now a blank e-mail or Word document to try it out! If you wish to write a word with “é”, type your accent first “ ’ ” followed by “e”
Here is a summary for the most common accents and tricky French letters:
‘ + e = é
` + e = è
^ + e = ê
^ + u = û
‘ + c = ç
` + a = à
“ + o = ö
“ + i = ï
One thing you will notice now that you have switched to the United States-International keyboard is that some of your actions in need to be followed by the space bar to become effective. This is the case with apostrophes. If you’d like to cite something, you need to type on the apostrophe symbol and then the space bar to make it appear.
This can seem a bit complicated at first, but I can assure you it all becomes automatic and efficient after a short while.
Here’s to the being rid of “accentless” or painstakingly tedious French texts for good!