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Introduction

Writing systems
-   Western alphabets
-   Non-Western alphabets
-   Phonetic and offbeat
-   Varying glyphs
-   CJK
-   Miscellaneous

Solutions
-   -
Types of fonts
-   Inserting single characters
-   Inserting diacritics:
á, à, â, ä, ...
-   Keyboard layouts
-   Input methods
-   Multilingual browsing
      In Windows, characters with diacritical marks (such as the letter "â") can be rendered in two ways:


Option A: Use a ready-made character.

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  Recommended uses: This is the standard procedure used for most languages.

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  Requirements: You need a font that actually contains that character. This may be a Unicode font or a language-specific one-byte font (see above). For example, the Western font codepage includes characters such as â, ñ, é, etc.

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  Input method: There are various methods available. For example, you can use a French keyboard layout and press a and the "dead key" ^ on your keyboard to get â.

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  Behind the scenes: No matter how many keys you press, the resulting character is stored by Windows as a single character.


Option B: Use a non-spacing diacritical mark.

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  Recommended uses: This procedure allows you to add "odd" diacritical marks like the ones contained in phonetic alphabets. For instance, check the following IPA transcription of a word in Spanish:
  A phonetical transcription using diacritical marks

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  Requirements: You need a Unicode font that includes non-spacing diacritical marks. A good example is Lucida Sans Unicode (see here), which ships with Windows XP.

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  Input method: You can use the Windows Character Map or VTrain's on-screen Virtual Keyboards for this purpose (see here). You type in a 'regular' (spacing) character (such as the letter "a") followed by a non-spacing character (such as "^"), and get a combined character (such as "â"). Of course, the resulting combined character is displayed as a single character (provided that the editor or viewer you use behaves properly).

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  Behind the scenes: Keep in mind that the resulting character is stored by Windows as two characters (or more, in case you combine several diacritical marks).
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! For this reason, non-spacing characters are
not suitable for common text edition, since most search engines will fail to find words containing non-spacing characters.


For more information about diacritical marks in Unicode, check out the
Unicode.org FAQ -.

Check out
Mike Colley's font collection -.
   
                 
                 
   
     
   
    Updated: 2016 January 16
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