Setting Up the Spanish Keyboard

This file will explain several ways by which you may add accents, inverted punctuation marks, and other international characters to your keyboard. This information applies to systems running Windows 95 or later.

There are two ways to do it. Keyboard Mapping should work with any text program running under Windows 95 or later. Inserting international symbols by creating Macros only works with Microsoft Word.

Keyboard Mapping

You can change the layout of your keyboard by going to the Control Panel of Windows 95 or later.

Introduction to Keyboard Mapping

If you choose an International keyboard, then you can create an accented e by holding down the alt key then typing the e. What you actually see on the screen is é. Holding down the alt key and typing the / will produce an inverted question mark, ¿.

Here are the steps to enable The English (International) keyboard using the keyboard mapping method.

Click on the Start button in Windows 95 or later using the left mouse button. The Start button is usually in the lower left-hand corner of the screen. A menu will drop down. See instructions for Windows XP below.

Move the mouse arrow down the drop down arrow to Settings. Shortly, a second menu will fly out to the right. Move the mouse arrow to the icon called Control Panel and left click the mouse on that icon. Your action will cause the Control Panel to display.

Find the icon called Keyboard and left click the mouse button on that item. Across the top of the resulting window, you'll see a tab called Language. Left click on it.

Probably, the language that appears in the window will be English (United States). If not, assuming that you want to set English (United States) as the default language, click the Add button. Click on the down arrow (the black triangle) to see the selection of available keyboards. Use the scroll bar or the down arrow on your keyboard to scroll through the options until you come to English (United States).

Next, left click the Properties button. This action will display the Keyboard Layout drop-down list.

Use the down arrow on the screen to scroll down to United States-International. Click on that choice and click OK. Click OK again.

You may be asked to insert your Windows 95 or later cd in order to copy the required files. Do so and click OK. You have now completed the installation of the English (International) keyboard through keyboard mapping.

Setup instructions for Windows XP (Home or Professional)
With the left mouse button:
Click Start
Click Control Panel)
Click Regional and Language Options
Click on Languages then Details then Add
In the window immediately below Input Language, you will probably see displayed English (United States)
Click the check mark next to Engish (United States) and you will get a drop down list.
Select Spanish (International Sort) (or any other language choice) by clicking on it
In the Keyboard Layout/IME window, you will probably see Spanish displayed
Click on the check mark next to Spanish (or whatever language appears)and you will get a drop down list
Select United States-International from the list by clicking on it.
Click OK
Click Apply
Click OK (Honest, you have to do several steps more than once)
Click Apply
Click OK
You have now completed the installation.

Below is the International keyboard layout.

International Keyboard; small image
(Click on image to enlarge)

Creating Macros

The Macro method for inserting international symbols described here only works with Microsoft Word. While it may well be possible to create macros with other word processing programs, I am not familiar with those procedures. The Macro method allows the user to insert symbols that aren't available on the English (International) keyboard.

Introduction to Macros

A macro is a little program that runs when you hit a certain key combination. My suggestion is to create macros for accented characters. Once that you create the macro, you'll be able to type an accented e by holding down the alt key and typing the letter e.


Open Word

Click the left mouse button once on the Insert tab at the top of the screen. A drop down menu will appear.

Find the option called Symbol and click on it. A new window will appear. It has two tabs, Symbols and Special Characters. Click on the Symbols tab. (It should already be displayed.)

There is a drop down window for fonts and one for subsets. Initially, the font displayed is called Symbol .

Click on the down-facing triangle and scroll to the choice (normal text) Use the scroll bar and the up and down arrows. Normal text should be the first entry on the font drop-down menu.

You will now see a grid with numerous symbols. Find the accented lower-case e. It's the sixth row down, the second from the right. Click on it with the left mouse button.

Click the shortcut key. The Customize Keyboard window will appear.In the box marked Press new shortcut key, hit the alt key on your keyboard and then hit the e key.

Click the Assign box in the right area of the window.

Click the Close box.

You have created a macro whereby hitting the alt key and then hitting the e will produce an accented e on your screen.

Click Close again only if you are done creating macros. We're not done, so repeat the previous process, until you have created all of the desired shortcuts.

Continue to create additional shortcut key combinations for the other desired characters. For the sake of consistency, I suggest that the shortcut combination for the inverted question mark be the alt key followed by ? and that the ñ shortcut be the alt key followed by n.

You are finished.

Whether you choose the keyboard mapping method or the macro method, the process is much simpler to perform than to describe. You should be able to set accents up in less than 10 minutes, whichever option you choose.

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