Writing some characters require a combination of keys that include the [alt] key and some digits from the numeric pad. For instance, [alt]+[174] will write a Spanish quote («). Such combinations only work when the numeric block is set. When it isn't, the combination will run a completely different action, which may include leaving the current page, landing somewhere else, and losing some work in the process.

Is there a way to avoid running these completely different actions, when I try to write the special character, but the numeric block has been accidentally unset?

  • I think this is dependent on both your operating system and the application you're using. You might be able to unset shortcut keys in your applications settings.
    – user54131
    May 9, 2022 at 11:23
  • @towr. Firefox and LibreOffice, both on Windows.
    – Josep
    May 9, 2022 at 11:49
  • 4
    I’m voting to close this question because it's not about writing. May 9, 2022 at 12:44

1 Answer 1


Seriously? Go slow and double check.

If your system (like mine) allows you to program keyboard macros, learn that and make it easier. I write on a Linux system, but on Linux the little four-square "Windows" key can be programmed like a special shift key, so in combination with another keyboard key, this can produce any character code I want, or add features. Like I have one to put an accent on any character that normally accepts one, like á, or é.

I'm pretty sure Windows or Mac have similar facilities to make it easy. Otherwise, print out a table of your recipes and keep it handy.

Another strategy is to make yourself a document that has JUST all the special characters you commonly use, so you can bring that up and cut-and-paste from it when you need one.Or even leave it up while you are writing, in another window.

  • Or, you know, just use the tool Microsoft delivers with Windows for this very task. Every Linux system I've ever used has something similar available, as well.
    – JRE
    May 9, 2022 at 12:33
  • @JRE I wouldn't know about any tools Microsoft delivers with Windows; I haven't used Windows or Mac in over 30 years.
    – Amadeus
    May 9, 2022 at 12:53
  • I've been using Linux at home since about 1996. I have to use Windows at work. In both cases there's a tool available from the system itself, making the document with special characters a clunky workaround.
    – JRE
    May 9, 2022 at 12:55

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