Howard’s Technical Writing Blog

A technical writer’s miscellany

Typing special characters in Windows applications using ANSI codes

Posted by Howard Silcock on 3 March 2010

You can use ANSI codes as a quick and easy way to type common accented letters and special characters in Windows applications. The trouble is, you either have to memorise the codes or keep looking them up—which is harder than it needs to be, because the tables contain many codes you’ll never need (including codes for everything you can type directly) and the symbols aren’t grouped at all logically but in the numerical order of the codes. So I created my own table, listing just the codes I thought I might use and setting them out in a way that I find logical.

To type any symbol in this table hold down the Alt key and then type, on the numeric keypad, a zero followed by the ANSI code in the column immediately to the right of the symbol. For example, to type é you hold down the Alt key and then type 0233 on the numeric keypad. (You may want to check out this Warning before using these codes indiscriminately.)

à 224 À 192 ° 176 £ 163
á 225 Á 193 ± 177 128
â 226 Â 194 × 215 ¢ 162
ã 227 Ã 195 ÷ 247 ¥ 165
ä 228 Ä 196

 

å 229 Å 197 ¹ 185 ½ 189
æ 230 Æ 198 ² 178 ¼ 188
è 232 È 200 ³ 179 ¾ 190
é 233 É 201
ê 234 Ê 202 182 134
ë 235 Ë 203 § 167 135
ì 236 Ì 204
í 237 Í 205 150 © 169
î 238 Î 206 151 ® 174
ï 239 Ï 207 133 153
ò 242 Ò 210
ó 243 Ó 211 145 146
ô 244 Ô 212 147 148
õ 245 Õ 213 « 171 » 187
ö 246 Ö 214 ' 39
ø 248 Ø 216 " 34
ù 249 Ù 217
ú 250 Ú 218 ¿ 191
û 251 Û 219 ¡ 161
ü 252 Ü 220
ç 231 Ç 199
ñ 241 Ñ 209
ß 223
š 152 Š 138
ž 158 Ž 142

Warning. I should point out that you need to exercise care with this method of typing special characters. When you type an ‘Alt code’ on a Windows PC, you will see the corresponding character listed above only if that is what the ‘ANSI code page’ for your current input locale dictates. For most systems in North America and Western Europe, the code page is Windows-1252, and in this case the codes work as shown in the above table.

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