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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Diacritical Marks in MS Word

A Diacritical mark is simply what we usually call an accent mark that is added to a letter to provide a different pronunciation. While not common in English, they are used occasionally, and I personally believe they are important to include in transcription where appropriate.

One way to make your life easier when typing words such as crème brûlée, façade and éclair is by learning the shortcut keys to typing them. It will make you smile the first time you get to use them without stopping to look them up in the symbols box.

Each of the diacritical marks below are formed by typing the key sequence, releasing and then typing the letter you want it applied to. For example, you would type: control + ', then release and type e to get é.

DiacriticKey Sequence
grave accent àControl + `(key above Tab key)
acute accent éControl + '(apostrophe)
umlaut öControl + Shift + :
circumflex accent âControl + Shift + ^
tilde ñControl + Shift + ~
cedilla çControl + ,

So, the next time you need to type your résumé you won't need to resume typing after searching for the accent mark you are in need of. While those seconds may not seem like much, when working under a deadline or on a rush file every second counts.