How to type symbols, accents, special characters, and weird punctuation

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Typing is easy. For those of us who are penmanship-challenged, the ability to be able to write using a keyboard instead of a pencil is a Godsend. It's faster and a whole lot more legible, which means that the message can be communicated without the recipient having to be an Egyptologist sufficiently skilled in the deciphering of hieroglyphics. Of course, there are some challenges here.

If you need to type a letter or a number, it's easy. Find it on the keyboard, press the button, and you're good. But what about the characters that aren't included on the standard keyboard? A "cent" symbol, a registered trademark marking, even a plain old obelus (the division symbol comprising a hyphen with a dot above- and below it)—these are all challenges. Yes, you can use the help system from Word to figure it out (if that's the tool you're using), but they may have a better solution at How To Type. If you can think of a symbol you need to type, this site can probably tell you how to do it. Not only that, but they'll tell you how to do it on a Windows machine, a Mac, and even the HTML code you need to use to incorporate that character in your page. You don't have to have coded too many pages to know that the "<" and ">" characters have to be properly encoded to prevent them from messing up your page.

How To Type is a free online service. You'll need a web browser to access it. And if you need that division symbol, on Windows hold down the [Alt] key and type 0247; on a Mac, hold down the [Option} key and press /; for HTML, use the named entity &divide; or the code &#247;.

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