Brilliantly Simple Utility Makes Typing Accented Characters Easy

Here's a really neat Windows utility which makes it easy to type accented characters into any Windows application.  Even if you're not in the habit of typing in a langauge that your keyboard doesn't natively support, it's still useful if you want to type certain words.  Here in the UK, for example, I don't use a French keyboard but it's still handy to be able to type café or rôle properly.

The program is called Holdkey and, once installed, it's incredibly easy to use.  Hold down the key which you want to type, for a couple of seconds.  When you release it, you get a list of possible options.  Press the number corresponding to the desired option and the correct character is generated.  It takes seconds to learn, and works very well indeed.

Stop hunting for complicated Alt codes.  Get Holdkey.  It's free, less than 1 MB to download, works on all recent versions of Windows, and VirusTotal swears it's free of malware.  Point your web browser at but make sure you choose the free version rather than Pro.




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by John Anonymous (not verified) on 12. September 2012 - 16:08  (99167)

I only use a few characters, and I have simply printed the Alt+# and pasted them in front of me. The ones I use most are:

é = Alt+130
è = 138
º = 167
½ = 171
¼ = 172
± = 241
² = 253
– = 0150 En dash
— = 0151 Em dash
™ = 0153
¢ = 0162
© = 0169
® = 0174
¾ = 0190

by lovingthesixties on 11. September 2012 - 19:46  (99127)

does it include special symbols such as for degree, squared/cubed, etc.?

by Irfanview Fan :-) (not verified) on 10. September 2012 - 21:56  (99071)

I installed the US International keyboard which has a lot of special characters available with the help of either left Alt+Ctrl+whatever key that has your sign, or AltGr+whatever key...
Gets you stuff like this:

by skatta on 10. September 2012 - 9:23  (99043)

I've been using Thomas Bigler's IKB (International Keyboard) for many years on windows systems. (On Linux I can set up a compose key facility to achieve the same function). It works with European languages.

Once loaded you just hit the control key quickly and tap a two key combination for the character you want to insert (so EA for E Acute). Very similar to the accented character facility in MS Word but it works in any windows programme.

Available from the Authors site at :

The author has kept his programmes updated - IKB currently works with 9x/NT/2k/XP/Vista/7

by David Green (not verified) on 10. September 2012 - 8:42  (99040)

I installed the free version and discovered that it hijacked the normal operation of my mouse*. The right-click action became left-click and after trying a reboot etc, I was forced to uninstall this utility to make my mouse behave normally.

My mouse is configured primary and secondary buttons switched (for left hand use) but I'm not sure whether that's connected to this problem.

Disappointed because this is a useful idea.

*Microsoft USB Wheel Mouse optical

by pvilan (not verified) on 10. September 2012 - 8:22  (99039)

Thanks again Rob!

One of the best in your list of recommendations!


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