If you’re new to Chromebooks and you’re a bit of a globe traveler or routinely speak in a language with accents, such as French or Spanish, you’ll need to learn how to write them on your Chromebook.
Add Keyboard Layouts
It is feasible and simple to swap between keyboard layouts on a Chromebook. Click on the three horizontal bars in the Chrome toolbar or your user icon in the system tray at the bottom right of your screen, then choose “Settings.” Choose “Keyboard Settings” and “Change Language and Input Settings” from the Device menu (or lower down in the “Languages” menu). Click “Add,” then choose the language.
When you click on a language in your list, you may choose a keyboard layout, whether Chrome should be shown in that language, whether to spellcheck in that language, and whether to translate websites in that language. You can only choose one language for Chrome displays and spell-checking, but the translate option is really useful for those of us who use Chromebooks for business travel.
Once you’ve chosen your preferred languages and keyboard layouts, you may switch between them by clicking on the bottom-right system tray. You may also swap between your chosen keyboard layouts by pressing Alt-Shift or Ctrl-Space, or by using Ctrl-Space to return to your previous layout. The first time you do this, a notice will appear, but after that, it will just switch between them without notifying you. The instructions states that using Alt-Shift will cycle between keyboards, however using AltGr-Shift (the Alt button on the right) will take you from US to INTL.
If you can touch type on both keyboard layouts, the ability to switch between language-specific keyboards is fantastic. Not so good if you can only type in QWERTY and wish to utilize accents.
Accents/Diacriticals On Your US Keyboard Layout
This will need the usage of the US extended keyboard, so go into settings as described above and add either the US extended keyboard or the US international keyboard, depending on your accent requirements. To move between layouts, utilize the previously described shortcuts. When you use the US International keyboard, you’ll see INTL in the toolbar, and EXTD when you use the US Extended keyboard.
Accents may be input using the shortcut keys on the US Extended or US International keyboards, such as AltGr-e for an accent over your e like this: é. To locate shortcuts and see your keyboard layout, follow the steps outlined below. As you can see, switching to the INTL keyboard with AltGr-Shift, followed by AltGr-Letter and Ctrl-Space is very speedy once you start going.
Keyboard Layouts and Shortcuts
It’s one thing to utilize a foreign or international keyboard, but you’re still trapped if you don’t know which keyboard shortcuts to use on your Chromebook. The current keyboard layout may be seen by entering Ctrl-Alt-/. This will also remind you that you can hold Ctrl and view what the shortcuts for Ctrl are, as well as Alt, Shift, and Search. It does not, however, provide you the shortcuts for AltGr, which is normally the method to do accents. (Please, Google, make it work!) See Wikipedia for a complete list of all the characters you may create with AltGr on the US International layout. It also displays data for the UK and Ireland layouts, but not the US Extended layout, which differs somewhat from the International configuration.
Punctuation is one of the key distinctions between the US Extended layout and the US International layout. You may obtain é by typing’followed by e in the International layout. If you wish to write ‘, hit the key and then press the space bar. This may be really frustrating if you don’t often type accents, since it also happens with other punctuation keys.
In US International:
- The’key (left of the 1) plus the letter will create a grave accent, such as è, ù, à.
- If you input a c, for example, á, é, ç, the’key (left of the enter key) plus the letter will create an accute accent, or a cédille.
- The key (Shift-6) with a letter will result in a circonflex, such as û, ê.
- The ” key followed by a letter produces a tréma/umlaut, such as ü, ö.
You can use Unicode notation to make any character appear in your text. To achieve this, press Ctrl-Shift-U, then release the u. You’ll see an underlined u emerge, indicating that you’re ready to enter the character’s Unicode. It will appear if you type the numbers and characters (without capitals) and then hit space. Ctrl-Shift-U-00C0, for example, offers you (A Grave).The whole Unicode character set may be seen on Wikipedia.
The UTF8 Extension
Chrome, as usual, has an extension for almost anything. The UTF8 extension could be useful for adding characters. It makes it simple to copy characters for pasting elsewhere in Chrome. All you have to do is click the star in your toolbar and scroll until you discover the character you’re looking for. Then just cut and paste — it’s that simple!
If you often switch computers or are unsure about Chromebooks, you may desire a keyboard input solution that remains with you in Chrome. If so, you might look at the Google Input Tools Extension, which allows you to switch between languages inside the browser.
Which of these strategies appeals to you the most? Do you like the oddities of the US International keyboard layout? Or would you rather have the US Extended layout?
There are many ways to examine your Chromebook’s specifications and system information while you’re on the road.
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