I often see people in minor (OK, very minor!) frustration out here because they want to write the name of a foreign food but don't know how to get accented characters to appear on the screen.
If you're using Windows, there's a simple trick that involves evoking the underlying ASCII code, a set of instructions that tell the computer what characters to reproduce on the screen. You have to be using a keyboard that has a number pad, and make sure that NUM LOCK is turned on (it usually is by default).
All you need to do is hold down the ALT key, press a four-number sequence on the number, then release the ALT key, and the character appears - voila! You can get things like é (ALT + 0233), ñ (0241), ç (0231), even £ (0163), € (0128), and ° (0176 - the degree sign, for use in recipes). The codes are different for lower- and upper-case letters.
I'm going to try to attach a little cheat sheet I made up for myself, hopefully it will be visible.
There's a similar trick for doing this on Mac-based machines, but I don't know what it is, I'm just an old PC guy. Hopefully someone else can post it.
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