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I've noticed that it's rather difficult to manually copy and paste characters with accent marks (such as ñ) whenever they are needed, so I'm trying to find a keyboard shortcut that can combine accent marks with other characters.

If I could find a keyboard shortcut to do this, then I wouldn't need to manually copy and paste the ñ symbol whenever I wanted to combine the characters n and ~. (I'm using a QWERTY keyboard, with en_US layout, which doesn't have a compose key, so I'm trying to find an equivalent Windows keyboard shortcut for this purpose).

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Uhm. What happens when you type ~ followed directly by n? <: Or have you disabled dead keys? – SBI Jun 10 '13 at 18:31
@SBI This is what happens: ~n. The characters don't combine automatically when I type them like this. – Anderson Green Jun 10 '13 at 18:32
Unless you've modified anything, that isn't the default behaviour. See – SBI Jun 10 '13 at 18:34
@SBI On the default US-english keyboard layout, there are no dead keys. You have to switch to the US International keyboard layout or another keyboard layout to enable dead keys. See Ignacio's answer. – Darth Android Jun 10 '13 at 19:08
You can get a fully working compose key with WinCompose. (I don’t feel like posting this as an answer, because I’m the author, but honestly it’s pretty good) – sam hocevar Apr 3 '14 at 19:42

The US-International keyboard layout will enable dead keys. Simply add it to your keyboard configuration, then use the assigned key combination to switch between layouts to enable and disable dead keys as required.

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Saying you use a QWERTY keyboard is not enough - there are many layouts like that. Assuming you use english layout (en_US) there are some accented characters available through Alt Gr + other keys (eg. Alt Gr + n for ñ).

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Yes, it's an en_US keyboard layout. – Anderson Green Jun 10 '13 at 18:48

I'm late on this one but you may want to use the keyxpat tool. It will allow you to just type n, wait a certain number of millisecond, hear the small click sound and release. You get your ñ. That way, no need to move your hands or remember weird shortcuts.

Disclaimer: I'm the author of keyxpat. I use it everyday on a qwerty keyboard to get all my accentuated characters. A translator I know also uses it to get the diacritics in sanskrit.

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