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How do i type ♣ (alt+5) and ♥ (alt+259) and other characters like it on a keyboard w/o a numberpad? using the numbers 1-9-0 doesnt activate those characters. Note i want to TYPE and not use that windows program to select/copy/paste

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consider adding the windows tag, because all of this is windows specific – Justin Smith Feb 19 '10 at 18:41
Windows tag added. – Broam Feb 19 '10 at 20:23
up vote 7 down vote accepted

For some programs that use a "Rich Edit Control" (I just tested with Word 2007 and it works), this method should work, as described here:

There is a fifth related method, but it does not actually use the numeric keypad:

HexadecimalUnicode, ALT+X

Enter a Unicode value in hexadecimal (EG: Enter 00A5 for U+00A5), then press ALT+X or ALT+SHIFT+CTRL+F12 to yield ¥. Note that this shortcut does not actually use the numeric keypad. Later versions of Word or Wordpad, or anything that uses a "Rich Edit Control". (FYI: Typing ALT+SHIFT+x converts the Unicode character preceding the insertion point to the corresponding Unicode hexadecimal value.)

  • EG: 100, ALT+X yields Ā in Wordpad but does nothing in Notepad.
  • Dr. International:
    • 'This method should work in both Wordpad on Windows XP SP1 and Word 2002 and Word 2003, but it does not work in Notepad.'
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See this post: Three ways to enter Unicode characters in Windows

The three methods are

  1. Using Alt-X in Microsoft Word.
  2. Changing a registry setting to enable Alt-+ to work with more applications.
  3. Using the UnicodeInput application.
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+1 but only cause you're the author of that (very good) post. a great answer for this site would also summarize the various methods in the linked post. – quack quixote Nov 6 '09 at 12:47
@quack: Thanks. I edited my answer in response to your suggestion. – John D. Cook Nov 6 '09 at 15:53
there ya go. thanks! – quack quixote Nov 6 '09 at 16:23

If only a certain number of symbols are important to you, but you find yourself using them all the time, you might consider replacing your keyboard layout with a custom built one, using MSKLC.

  1. Download and start the program.
  2. Load your current keyboard layout.
  3. Edit the keyboard to put the characters you want in places you can remember them. I find AltGr combinations rather useful. With dead keys you can put dozens of extra characters in.
  4. Save the keyboard layout.
  5. Install the new keyboard layout.
  6. Set the new keyboard layout as your standard input method and disable the old one.
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You can also open Character Map (Start -> Run -> CharMap) and double-click on any symbol you want. Then copy and paste.

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When you said "Strange letters" I thought you meant accents on letters for non-english languages.

While that's not what you meant, I wanted to add my answer anyway, because other people may find this helpful.

  • In the control panel, open "Regional and Language Options"
  • Click the Languages tab
  • Click the Details button
  • Click the Add... button
  • Change the Keyboard Layout to United States-International.

This gives you the option of changing to the US - International layout, which makes creating accents much easier: typing 'e for example, will give you an é. Typing `e will give you è, ^e will give you ê, etc. There's no futzing around with the unicode/alt-254 thing.

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Many laptops without separate numeric keypads nevertheless have a numeric "overlay" keypad, usually on the u-i-o-j-k-l-m-,-. keys. To use those keys as numbers, you usually have to hold down a special function key, labeled something like Fn, usually in a different color than the rest of the keyboard labels. Once you've figured out how to activate the overlay, you should be able to use it for Alt+Num shortcuts. (Emphasis on "should", not "will": on some laptops, the Alt+Num stuff will simply never work, because the implementation of the numeric keypad is buggy.)

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