Help:Special characters

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Special characters are alphanumeric characters that are printable and acceptable for representation (i.e. numbers, letters as well as punctuation marks and symbols) which do not belong to the "American Standard Code for Information Interchange" (ASCII), a.k.a us-ascii- or 7-bit-character set. Especially, genealogical characters and European special characters are among them.

On usage in a wiki-system you can find help at [1]. Please take a look there.


Genealogical Special Characters

Genealogical characters are used to replace often repeated terms. Therefore they have to be easily recognizable and space saving, as well as obvious in their meaning so that they can be used without an additional legend. Often-used characters which are also included in the ascii character set are:

* born ~ baptized    
married o engaged o|o divorced
died image:B2216.png buried image:G1716.png fallen
(*) illegal
†* stillborn o-o illegal

For symbols not included in ascii character set or for a more elaborate printout there are special genealogical fonts that have these characters.

Usage in E-Mail

E-Mail, especially in mailinglists, are in plain text format, which means that genealogical characters can only be used within the scope of characters on the keyboard.

Entering Characters using the Keyboard

For genealogical special characters that are included in special fonts there is no standard of coding. The manual of the font will specify which characters can be generated by which key strokes.

European Special Characters

For usage of European special characters in a document it is necessary to indicate a character set including these characters; e.g. iso-8859-1, iso-8859-2, Unicode (utf-16) or utf-8.

Usage in E-Mail

The unicode standard was published in 1991. There are still e-mail programs that cannot handle such a character set. The usage of iso-8859-1 especially in mailinglists is therefore recommended. This option is set in the e-mail program as a property of the email to be sent.

Entering Characters using MS Windows

For entering special characters from the keyboard there are two ways: either hold key <Alt> plus numeric keypad or by switching the keyboard to a special national keyboard.

<Alt>-numeric Entry

Each character has a code number. You can enter a character by holding down the <Alt>-key and entering the code number from the numeric keypad on the right hand of the keyboard, then releasing the <Alt>-key. Here are some code numbers:

Character ä ö ü Ä Ö Ü ß ą ć ę Ł ł ń Ś ś Ź ź Ż ż
Code 0228 0246 0252 0196 0214 0220 0223 0185 0230 0234 0163 0179 0241 0140 0156 0143 0159 0175 0191

As stated in the above document the appropriate character set has to be chosen as well as a chosen font which includes these characters.

Attention 2:
A numeric entering of vowels with an accent is not necessary since these can be obtained directly - first the accent and then the letter yields the accented letter.

Switching the Keyboard

Under <Start> - <Properties> - <Control> - <Keyboard> use "Properties of Keyboard". Choose tag "Language" and e.g. "Add", "German". Set an option to "Show language in task bar": you then have an icon showing the chosen keyboard layout which can be switched by clicking on it. All you have to know is where the characters are on your new keyboard... ;-) Learn by heart or take notes:

Keyboard Layout US
Keyboard Layout German
Keyboard Layout Polish

Entering Characters on a Macintosh

For entering special characters from the keyboard of a Macintosh, use key combinations with the <option>-key.

Character ä Ä ö Ö ü Ü ß
Code <option>-u, a <option>-u, <shift>-A <option>-u, o <option>-u, <shift>-O <option>-u, u <option>-u, <shift>-U <option>-s
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