French, German, Spanish etc.

Keyboard shortcuts

To input special characters in Word, e.g. é and ä, use keyboard shortcuts. Before typing the letter use:

  • Ctrl and ' for an acute accent
  • Ctrl and ` for a grave accent
  • Ctrl-Shift and ^ for a circumflex
  • Ctrl-Shift and : for an umlaut/diaeresis

This method is not working for umlauts and cedillas at present on WTS. Use AutoCorrect instead (see below).

For more information, see the Keyboard shortcuts for international characters item on the Index tab of Help | Microsoft Word Help in Word.

Insert | Symbol

Another method of inserting special characters in Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook is by using Symbol on the Insert menu:

  • Select Insert | Symbol.
  • Select e.g. normal text to view the character set.
  • Use the scrollbar to see all the characters.
  • When you click on a character, any keyboard shortcut will be displayed at the bottom of the screen.
  • You can also double-click on a special character to insert it.
  • For the more complex shortcuts (e.g. 0133 followed by Alt-x for Dutch ij) you may find it easier to put the character in Tools | AutoCorrect.


Eureka shows you how to make full use of AutoCorrect, which is available in Word, Access, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. The system described is worth implementing if you regularly input characters (including Greek etc.) with unusual accents.

Note that you need to customise your file to make alterations to AutoCorrect available in future sessions. After you have made your changes, close all Office applications, open Windows NT Explorer and make a copy of mywork\worddocuments\mytemplates\ or mywork\word\template\ and rename it