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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Typing out Special Spanish Characters on a Laptop

Most people know that you can insert special symbols into documents as you are typing. However, JAWS talking software does not "talk" the symbols as you search for them, therefore symbols require a sighted person's help. A big advantage of having Office 2010 is that JAWS can talk the first 20 most recently used symbols, so when the student is in class, they can easily access at least 20 symbols. Sadly, between math and Spanish class you quickly run out of options.

Another option is to memorize the special combination of letters and numbers to automatically insert any symbol. For my Spanish student, she was having difficulty with doing all the letters and numbers in the correct order to insert the correct symbol. I asked a Microsoft friend about other options and he sent me to this page, which has made all the difference in the world (Spanish symbols)

The student uses a laptop so now needed to learn how to use the numpad on the laptop, which is actually the letters ON the keyboard. Using the FN or function key with scroll, she now turns on her numpad and m j k l and so on become her numpad for entering the special characters --No, you cannot use the regular numbers to do these commands). For example, the upside down exclamation mark ¡ as you see is ALT+173 and an upside down question mark ¿ is Alt+168 and so on. She was typing out Spanish words in correct format almost as fast as the wind blowing through the trees. I could hear her smile and joy through the computer, once she understood how to do symbols on a computer. I then taught her the quick way to access Spanish accents and that is through JAWS with insert+4.

She now has the ability to type out every Spanish word exactly as it should be and complete her work far faster than thought possible.

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