Monday, September 23, 2013

Writing special characters… why is this so hard?

Ok first of all, the title is not quite correct. It should end with "why is it so hard on Windows" ;P

Why this topic?

I usually don't use Windows (except on my tablet and there I usually don't write a lot ;)) but lately I have been using it quite a lot – for work. And when it comes to writing, I usually try using the correct characters, like the ellipsis (…) or the different dashes (-, – or —). Don't ask me why, I just like using them ;).

The problem

Now the problem is, that I am so used to OS X and the comfort of typing those special characters, that I just can't understand why it's such much more difficult when using Windows.
Every time I want to use such a special character, I have to look up the 3 or even 4 digit code that has to be entered in combination with the [Alt] key.


Some examples (I am always using the QWERTZ shortcuts!):
  • … on OS X is a simple [Alt] + [.] but on Windows you have to hold [Alt] while pressing [0], [1], [3], [3].
  • – on OS X os also simply [Alt] + [-] and on Windows you have to hold [Alt] and then press [0] [1], [5], [0].
So on OS X you can just try the [Alt] key in combination with the most logical "base key" but on Windows you have to remember all the number-codes to write special characters. I haven't using Linux in a long time, so I'm not sure how complicated it is there – but my guess is: similar to Windows.

A solution?

One solution is to just remember the often used codes or always google or copy them… but that's not a real solution.
Unfortunately I have no real solution to this until now. It would be nice to have this as an operating system feature but until then: anyone with a tip for a great application that will provide me with shortcuts similar to OS X?

BTW: a similar problem is with special language characters like æ, ë, ū, … Press and hold on OS X and what about Windows? ;)

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