I ran into a problem trying to write some special characters like {}, @ etc using AltGr key. It is not system-wide issue, I encountered it just in Android Studio IDE and I already solved it in Android Studio IDE using this answer.
BUT that answer says that some newer keyboards don't have AltGr key, so some software doesn't rely on it's presence. That sort of implies that there is another way to write special characters like these {}<>[]@& on non-english keboard.

I was just wondering if there in fact is such a way other than changing input language every time I want to insert special character or having to punch in its entire ASCII code using alt+numpad combo.

Just to be clear, I have Czech keyboard and Windows, but answer for OSX would be appreciated as well.


The simple answer is to use Ctrl + Alt instead of Alt Gr. That works for all special characters on my keyboard.

I would imagine that the keyboard layouts you're referring to (that doesn't have an Alt Gr key) simply only have two versions of input characters on each key, i.e. the normal character, and the one produced when holding Shift.

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  • What if one really wants to press a ctrl+alt+key shortcut? – phuclv Jan 28 '15 at 2:01
  • My point is: Ctrl + Alt + key is exactly the same as Alt Gr + key. So any shortcut is effectively the same even if you can activate it with two different (physical) key combinations. – Kristian Jan 28 '15 at 10:58
  • My point is if it is exactly the same then how can you use the other feature. For example if ctrl+alt+C maps to some special character then how can you do if you want to press the real ctrl+alt+C shortcut? – phuclv Jan 28 '15 at 11:07
  • That's where your Alt Gr key comes into play. But this question is about what you do if you don't have that key on your keyboard – Kristian Jan 28 '15 at 11:16

Here's a general way. Not the fastest, but for any character regardless of keyboard layout:

  • Click the Start button (or Windows key).
  • Type: "Character Map" without the quotes.
  • Enter.
  • Select the character you want.
  • Click Select.
  • Paste it wherever you want.
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Assuming that needed characters are easily available on a US keyboard:

  1. Install US keyboard layout and switch to it
  2. Press the combination for your desired character (e.g. @ is Shift+2)
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The easiest way to insert special characters is to use alt codes* if ctrl + alt doesn't work

Please note that it is not the same as AltGr, but it does work. For a full list of alt codes, refer to https://www.alt-codes.net/.

*you need a number pad for this to work, as the numbers above the letters don't work

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  • This answer has already been given. There's no reason to post an answer if it doesn't add any additional information. – music2myear Sep 3 at 4:54
  • @music2myear it tells about alt codes. Isn't that additional information? – cd-CreepArghhh Sep 3 at 5:03

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