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How to quickly type accented capital letters in Windows

Putting accents on capital letters, or typing special characters in uppercase on Windows is a real pain. Unlike macOS, where you only need to activate the Caps lock key to highlight capital letters, Windows obliges the user to indulge in a funny gymnastics.

If there are software patches to overcome this cruel lack, it is also possible to quickly type accented capital letters by learning the right shortcuts. Several methods exist.

The first is to use ASCII codes, a computer standard for character coding born in the 1960s and which allows different characters to be displayed by combining the Alt key with a number.

  • : Alt + 144 or Alt + 0201
  • : Alt + 212 or Alt + 0200
  • : Alt + 183 or Alt + 0192
  • : Alt + 128 or Alt + 0199

Unfortunately, if the use of these codes is possible on a keyboard with a numeric keypad, the method cannot be used on keyboards which do not have them, which is notably the case for many portable machines.

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The second method, which had to work on all keyboards, allows you to type accented capital letters using a combination of two shortcuts.

The first is used to define the accent, the second to enter the capital letter.

  • : Ctrl + 4 then Shift + S
  • : Ctrl + Alt + 7 then Shift + S
  • : Ctrl + Alt + 7 then Shift + A
  • : Ctrl + (comma) then Shift + C

The use of the 4, 7 and comma keys obviously seems to have a logical explanation. Each one allows you to enter a character (apostrophe, reverse apostrophe and comma) that could define the direction or position of the accent to add to the capital letter.

Please note, however, that certain shortcuts may not work in all applications, some of which already have a shortcut using the same keys.

If it works perfectly in Word, the shortcut Ctrl + 4 followed by Shift + E will not display an accentuated E in a window of web browsers where the shortcut Ctrl + 4 is already used to switch to the fourth open tab.

When the above shortcuts don't work on your machine (most likely for the and the), you have one last solution: call the Character table.

You will then only have to copy and paste the accented character in uppercase, which is more tedious certainly, but will be useful as a last resort.

To open it, simply click on the Windows Start menu, and look for Character Map.