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At work I'm using a Dell Vostro laptop running Windows 7 Enterprise and it does not have a NumLock key nor a numeric keypad accessible with Fn.

In this case, how do I enter an Alt code (holding Alt and typing a number on the numpad)?

Before you ask, the on screen keyboard doesn't work.

Character Map is quite horrible, and I'd rather avoid it.

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Wordpad/Word/Outlook etc. allow also to use Alt-x combination. Enter hex code and immediately after press Alt-x (eg. 41 Alt+x will produce A). Detailed instructions (with much more information) in this Wikipedia article

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If you don't have a numeric keyboard to input the desired code, you can use the build-in windows Character Map Utility:

  1. Click "Start" menu button;

  2. Select: Programs → Accessories → System Tools → Character Map;

  3. A window should open with a grid displaying the characters:

    Character Map

  4. Select the font you're using on your target application;

    Arial works very well across the board and presents all characters. There are exceptions of course.

  5. Scroll the chars grid to locate the desired character;

  6. use the button "select" to select it to the copy area;

    Character Map - Selected

  7. Copy the characters when you're done;

  8. Past them on you desirable location.

Character Map Utility comes with lots of useful features, take a look at this article that explains all this with greater detail.

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I forgot to state that I don't like this program. In another question I'm going to ask about alternatives. – CyberSkull Aug 10 '12 at 3:10
    
Character map is missing a bunch of characters and subranges. I need something better. – CyberSkull Aug 11 '12 at 0:05

There is a subset of characters directly available if you enable AltGr which means changing your keyboard type to International. This changes your Right Alt key into a special kind of shift key, letting you type characters like « and » or letters like á and Þ.

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