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HINTS FOR E-MAIL.  TEXT EDITING. 
HOW TO INSERT ASCII SYMBOLS & CHARACTERS.
HOW TO USE FOREIGN COMPUTERS.... 
WHERE IS THE @ CHARACTER??


http://bmwmotorcycletech.info/E-mail-and-special-characters.htm

78C

Copyright 2016, R. Fleischer


 

Preliminary information:
This article is somewhat pointed towards the Airheads LIST, but MOST of this information is applicable to ANY text document, or E-mail message, to anyone, or any list, or any forum....even for printing letters/documents for any use.  The assumption is that you are using a conventional keyboard.  Adjust for your device.

While there are other methods for editing, my recommendations are simple & generally work well. 

If you are very new to computers, I suggest you open any text editing program first.  That could be Notepad, Wordpad, Word, etc...and practice a few things at a time.  You WILL learn all this stuff...SO BE PATIENT!   It WILL all pay off for you as you become more knowledgeable!

E-mail:  Assuming, again, that you are new to computers you will need to do some very basic practice; so, simply take any E-mail message you have received, click on REPLY, and play with the message.  NOTE that clicking on REPLY is not the same as REPLY ALL, or FORWARD. Experiment. So long as you have not clicked SEND, you won't 'send' your 'practicing'.
 

This is a long article you are reading. It contains basic as well as advanced information.  If you are new to computers, you will find more information here than you can possibly assimilate even with one reading. You will need time & practice to understand it all. Be patient.  You'll be glad you did. 

Many who are quite familiar with computers do not know some of the things in this long article.

What happens when you try to REPLY (or, REPLY ALL) to a message will depend considerably on the settings your computer (or smart phone or tablet) has or you have made, & what type of E-mail program you are using and its settings.  The settings & software in the recipient's computer (for E-mail and sometimes other document types) also has a major effect.  Because of this, MANY folks do NOT see your, or any message, in exactly the same way/format/etc., that you do!   At the end of 2013, and well into late 2014, many changes were made in how E-mails are handled by Internet Service Providers, & in E-mail programs themselves.  Changes began in a wholesale manner by such as Yahoo, Comcast, etc.  The result is/was that the FROM line may not be accurate if you are on a mailing LIST, for identifying who actually sent the message...the message may only show the LIST name, or something similar.  There were major problems with the Airheads LIST.  Micapeak.com whose software and hardware runs that LIST (for free!) made changes to try to best cope with the big problems the various changes made.  One result is that if you are using DIGEST MODE on the Airheads LIST, you may have to do EXTRA editing and pasting of messages.    You can ask on that LIST on how to utilize the Digest Mode.   I do NOT get into how to edit the addresses and pasting, in DIGEST MODE, in what follows in the below article.

I previously would, upon request, furnish a MUCH more techy document reply than the above, how the problems came about, what DMARC is, and so on.  I no longer have that document.

NOTE that the information in the article you are now reading is NOT just for E-mail, but for almost any document...especially if you are composing it.
 



BASIC text editing on computers has now been in use for DECADES!    If you do not know how to do editing, I suggest you learn them!  I will not get all that deep into this, but I will address the basics.  The editing I describe in this article is nearly universal, & you will find it in most every word processing program, even that ode to complexity called Microsoft WORD or its simpler cousin, WORDPAD, heck, even the bare-bones Notepad; as well as most other word processing software.

>>>>***For those of you having Mac computers:   When using a Mac, the Windows Ctrl key is called the CMD key (command); and the Windows ALT key is called the OPTION key.

If you are a Member of an E-mail LIST, I recommend that you set your Email program, if you can, so that replies to such as airheads@micapeak.com (or, most any internet mailing list or forum) are automatically in PLAIN TEXT.  Yes, I know that Micapeak's latest E-mail program will strip off HTML (photos, colors, etc), and that some others do not, but I have other reasons...and don't feel like getting into the confusion or a long-winded explanation here.  PLAIN TEXT means that all colors, images, & certain special effects and certain characters are not available, & therefore are NOT SENT.  
The result will be that messages are likely to look the same to all who read them.

HTML (and versions called Rich Text, etc.) is computer-speak for computer code for such things as photos, colors, and many other 'fancy things'.

I suggest you do not send images or colored text to micapeak.com as Micapeak's servers will strip them off, sometimes leaving 'weird stuff'.  

Your E-mail program LIKELY has a setting for PLAIN TEXT. Just where you will find in YOUR E-mail program preferences or options or settings for that is a matter of what program you use.  

In most E-mail programs you can set any particular E address (in your computer E-mail address book) you send messages to, to "plain text composing & sending", or, some such words.  Many programs are also set up, or you can set them up, to reply in the same way (plain text or HTML) in which they are sent. 

You could always just click, each time, on the appropriate place in a program to be sure that your message is sent in Plain Text, IF you have it set for HTML (or Rich Text) for normal use.  I find that to be annoying to remember, and the reverse is a bit better in that regards, but setting an address for the Airheads LIST in your E program for plain text is best.  It can help, some, if strange characters are being sent....which confuse or annoy recipients.  The vast majority of LISTS and FORUMS on the Internet have HTML turned off by the list/Forum owner/Administrator.  That is for safety purposes & to limit the size of messages.  SOME LISTS, forums, and Groups (such as SOME Yahoo Groups) do NOT have HTML necessarily turned off.  For those that allow it, you CAN send photos, and rich text, etc.      MOST DO have HTML turned OFF. 

On those sites and mailing lists with HTML turned OFF, if you want to post images you must post them separately, to some on-line hosting service (many are totally free), and show an address, called a link, to the photo(s) in YOUR message to the LIST/GROUP.  On those sites and LISTS with HTML turned ON, you can post photos.  Please keep them reasonably small in size.  MANY of those that allow photos will reduce the size of your photos automatically, some do NOT.  ALSO, keep in mind that there is NO REASON, for the purposes of viewing photos on a computer monitor screen (even very large screens), to have photos in a RESOLUTION of over 72, nor, a size over maybe 8 inches in any dimension.

DO NOT set your E-mail program for Quotable Printable.  That means far more than the words seem to indicate!
  It can cause all sorts of fun and games for those trying to read such a message.  Perhaps strange line breaks, strange use of equal symbol ( = )....ETC.  It can get even messier than I describe here.


There can be complications when using foreign characters, foreign keyboards, & especially with special symbols, etc.   SO....to avoid all or most sorts of weird problems, this is another reason I suggest you spend a bit of time & ensure that all messages to your mailing lists, groups, forums, etc, such as Airheads@micapeak.com, are automatically sent in plain text.  

Set your E-mail program preferences so that the original message is always quoted in the reply.   That makes it easier to have the message you are replying to be on the page, and you can then edit out what you do not want left.  You can add notes inside that message, if you want to, by identifying YOUR portion.  I do that now and then by placing ASTERISKS in front of my reply, but, usually, replying to messages does not need to have that method used. Sometimes I do use it for very long originator's messages where I don't want to edit out much. Those of you on DIGEST mode may want to rethink being on that mode.
 

It is/was standard protocol (for the Airheads List) for all replies to be inserted AFTER the original message (and, you should be sure to edit the original message, leaving just enough to show what is needed).   That means that replies are NOT placed at the beginning of quoted material.  This came about originally from the way the "internet" worked a LONG time ago in certain programs.  Today folks DO top post AND bottom post.  I MAY do EITHER myself IF the prior message or messages in a thread, and shown in a particular E, was done that way, or I think it best or better.   I have NO objections to YOU top posting, bottom posting, or inside message posting.  There are, every year, threads/arguments on this subject, but...please, folks, ...... internet etiquette WAS/IS that replies are placed AFTER quoting the original (which you are going to edit so only the needed information is left).   I am not at all interested in debating this point.  Disclosure: I sometimes DO post on top, when it seems appropriate.

I DO OBJECT, STRONGLY, if you fail to edit and thus leave all of the prior post(ings) in your message.  SNIP what is not needed.  DO NOT reply by including an entire Digest.......a HUGE annoyance for those reading your reply.  This especially happens if YOU are on Digest mode, or receive Digest Mode messages..... and then reply with the entire digest without editing out most of it.    PLEASE, do NOT fail to remove unnecessary other replies & chit chat from a Digest Mode message that you are replying to!... just leave the needed bare basic information from the last reply!  NOTE that some folks pay by the byte, that is, they pay by "bandwidth".  PLEASE be courteous & snip/edit your messages & replies!   I personally find Digest Mode NOT worthwhile.

NOTE:   The use of hand-held Smart Phones & Tablets has been increasing & are likely to eventually surpass the use of laptop & desktop computers. Smart phones & tablets are a world unto themselves as far as 'funny stuff' that CAN happen when trying to (or, gads, forgetting to) edit messages.   That is due to the operating systems & mail programs being used.  Be extra cautious & careful.  

Here is my personal method for dealing with those folks who do not comply with courteous editing of a Digest:   I do NOT try to read hardly any of it.  I SCAN IT VERY QUICKLY, just enough to make sure it really is a big long Digest being posted.  I then DELETE the entire posting.  I simply do not read nor respond, unless I am so annoyed that I post a response about having had to wade through an entire digest....and I can be NASTY if the person repeats and repeats doing this.   I consider postings of entire digests DISCOURTEOUS.  Can you imagine what Smart Phone readers are seeing!....and they or others are paying for? Yes!! there ARE people who pay by time/byte.

I am an Administrator/Moderator on some Lists and Forums.  In that capacity I am usually gentle, forgiving, but may post to you about your editing problems....BUT..........repeats and multiple repetitions by you may be dealt with in a stronger manner.


BASIC EDITING, simple methods:


I assume you are using a mouse.  If using a touch pad, or touch screen, modify your method appropriately.

To edit out parts
you do NOT want sent in YOUR reply, there are several ways, and you would be in REPLY, REPLY-ALL, or FORWARD modes:

Method #1: Move your mouse to move the cursor to the beginning of the portion/part you want to delete, & left click once.  That changes the cursor typically to blinking & places it at that point.  Now move the non-blinking mouse cursor to the END of what portion you want to eliminate, THEN press & hold the SHIFT key down, & while that key is down, left click the mouse.  That has now highlighted just the area you wish to delete.  Press DELETE.

If you are left-handed, & have set your computer to reverse your mouse button functions, you know what to do!

Method #2:  Move your mouse to move the cursor to the end or beginning of the portion/part you wish to deal with. Hold the left button of the mouse down (or appropriate button on the laptop while you move your finger on the touchpad) as you move the mouse sideways to highlight the area of interest.  Raise finger from the button and touchpad if using that, and press DELETE.

You can in many instances also move the mouse both sideways and downward; with the left button held.

Note that the computer 'works on' areas you HIGHLIGHTED.  Highlighting is important, it tells the computer you wish to do something to THAT area.

A FEW simple commands you will want to know:
((For those of you having Mac computers:   When using a Mac, the Windows Ctrl key is called the CMD key (command); and the Windows ALT key is called the OPTION key)).

Some folks like to find some of these commands on the toolbar, usually near the top of their E-mail program, but here are the pertinent important key strokes.  NOTE that capitalization of the key character is NOT required; rather, just press the key with the character on it:

1.  To COPY an already highlighted area (perhaps you want to just copy, or copy & move a paragraph or section, or copy to someplace else in the computer, or print that part, or any number of reasons), press the Ctrl key, & HOLD IT DOWN, & WHILE HELD DOWN, press the C key. That copies the highlighted section into what is called, in Windows, the Clipboard.   The Clipboard is a hidden thing & is just like the name sounds like, in function.  Whatever you save to the Clipboard remains there until you either put something else there; or, turn off the computer.  If you want to, you can 'use it' as many times as you wish with the same information you had temporarily saved to that Clipboard!

2.  To PASTE that copied item (which is now on the Clipboard), to anyplace in a page, move the mouse pointer so the cursor (usually most computer users have the computer set for the cursor to be blinking) is at the place you want to put the information you copied, & then left click.  Then press & HOLD Ctrl, & press V.   You can do this multiple times if you ever had a reason to....yes, no limit to the number of copies...until you place something else on the Clipboard, or, turn off the computer.  It is even possible to copy an image to the clipboard & insert it, in the same computer session, to a document, or many documents, E-mails, ETC.  So, yes, you can copy or copy-delete or paste not only text, but images, in the same way.  In fact, you can even do it with entire documents & even sound & video files.

3.  Instead of JUST copying, as in 1.,  above, if you wanted to copy AND delete the highlighted area, use Ctrl and X, instead of Ctrl and C.  You can still paste as noted, by Ctrl and V.

4.  By commonly accepted computer use, instructions to press and hold a control or option type key, while you press another key,.... is displayed in text as:   Ctrl + C; or Ctrl + V; or Ctrl + X.    It could be ALT + something else; or a Cmd key if you have that; these are for other functions besides the simple copy or copy-delete, and copy insert (pasting) I have already explained.  It is best to press & hold the first key & THEN while holding it, press the second key.  This avoids any problem with both keys not making electrical contact at precisely the same time.   There are actually some commands that use three keys, all three ending up pressed at the same or alternating times...but those are NOT used for editing documents. 

5.  To grab/copy an image or do some things I have and have not mentioned, use the RIGHT button to click on the image (or text area, or?), see what options you are given.  You may have to first HIGHLIGHT the item.   So, yes, there is a RIGHT CLICK function on your mouse, which has additional things you can do, including copying photos & either placing them someplace as a COPY, or MOVING the photo.  Lots of functions are available.  Experiment!  Become proficient!

If the right and left click functions are not as you like, there is a mouse command function settings page in your computer, in Windows it is in the Control Panel. NOTE that some LEFT-HANDED folks like to set their mouse buttons interchanged.

***Many of you have Mac computers.   When using a Mac, the Windows Ctrl key is called the CMD key (command); and the Windows ALT key is called the OPTION key.

.........................................

HINTS...for E-mail:

You might RECEIVE messages & have trouble editing out (or editing at all) old material when posting a reply.  This happens now and then, seemingly randomly, which it is not, actually.   The problem is due to the wide variety of coding behind the scenes in the various E-mail programs in use by those sending you a message.  The internet is relatively standardized regarding such as WEBSITES coding, but this is NOT SO for E-mail.  MANY E-mail programs are in use. It is UNFORTUNATE that E-mail was not standardized long ago.

The EASY answer to the problem, if you have trouble editing, is for YOU to convert the message to PLAIN TEXT & send your reply message in PLAIN TEXT format.  All e-mail programs have that capability, usually via some often semi-hidden setting place to CLICK.  The down side is that PLAIN TEXT eliminates your ability to use colors and eliminates other HTML (Rich Text) things such as photos.   THE answer, is, 99% of the time, to change the reply you are doing to PLAIN TEXT, doing this in the beginning before you do further editing.  Most mailing lists and forums do not allow colors and photos anyway, so plain text is best. 

Some E-mail programs allow you to set individual contacts, in composing mode, as HTML or plain text, which is nice, as you can use HTML as the general setting, if you'd like to, and when you compose a new message to, say, a LIST, it automatically is in plain text, if you wanted that. 
You may find that a PLAIN TEXT setting will save you a bunch of time and bother! 

Look at your E-mail contacts list, I mean the part that automatically inserts addresses you are sending to, see if there is a setting for individual addresses to have your messages to THAT address be in PLAIN TEXT.  That includes LISTs and Groups.  The address you probably are interested in is:   Airheads@micapeak.com    (amongst others).
Set your E-mail address book so that address has composing done in PLAIN TEXT.

If you don't use Rich Text or HTML in any form very often, set your entire E-mail program to use plain text.  You can always 'click' on the appropriate button, to convert any one message you want to initiate or otherwise work with, to HTML.
 


Foreign travel, foreign computers:

If you went into your computer settings for KEYBOARD (the location of this function varies by operating system; for Windows it is usually in the Control Panel as KEYBOARD on early Windows and Region and Language on later Windows computer operating systems), you could reset your keyboard for MANY different foreign styles.  UNfortunately, you would need to catalog and then remark your keys unless you owned a foreign-marked keyboard.   Unless you really need or want a foreign keyboard layout, I suggest you leave yours for English.    You may be very interested in the settings in your Control Panel program just mentioned, as it controls how all sorts of things are displayed. 

When you travel to SOME foreign countries, they often, but not always, use foreign keyboards.  They may have keyboards that look just like yours, but pressing some keys do totally different things than you are used-to.  They MAY OR MAY NOT be using a keyboard corresponding to that country's settings for the keyboard.  You can change keyboard settings, as noted above, IF YOU HAVE ACCESS TO THE CONTROL PANEL PROGRAM FUNCTIONS, see the prior paragraph, above (which you may not have access-to if in a hotel or motel & the computer is 'protected'); or, you must find out which are the important keys you must know.   There is ONE KEY that is critical to know about. There is ONE key combination that may drive you crazy, if you do not know about it. I highly suggest that if traveling to a foreign country, you write down the following information, shortening the information as you desire:

The @ symbol is NEEDED to send E-mail (yes, are other methods, far too complicated to show here).

If you cannot find the @ symbol, or even if you do find it (usual place is on the numeral 2 key near the top left corner of the keyboard), and you find it will not display that symbol @, by using the shift key and 2 key....you could ask a local person.   Or, you can know about a universal method.  NOTE that on some keyboards & software, you may have to have the NumLock light on the keyboard either turned on or turned off, to have the following work OK:

While you are looking at the composing area of an E-mail, looking at the blinking cursor on the screen:  
Press ALT + 64.   DO NOT type the + symbol; here it simply means press and hold ALT, while pressing 6 and then 4  (press 6 first, then release, then press 4).   Then release ALT.   On normal large keyboards, that 6 and then 4 is to be pressed on the RIGHT SIDE numerical keys, NOT the ones at the top of the keyboard!!    On LAPTOPS and small devices, consult the owners booklet on how to obtain ASCII symbols from the keyboard. 

Keep in mind what I said about the Numlock key, you may or may not have to have it on or off.

Here is what pressing ALT, and while holding it, pressing 6 and then 4 on the RIGHT SIDE numerical keys area, does in my computer, and probably yours:  @


Composing/printing/sending special "Characters" from your computer:


I suggest that you either print this section and then practice on your computer; or, you open your E-mail application, start to compose, and have BOTH windows open on the monitor, read this article on the left, practice on the right.  If you print this section, some of the special characters may not print correctly.  In fact, some of them may not display what I intend them to look like, on your monitor screen right now!!  This is one of the problems with computer settings.

What follows is NOT intended to be a course in ANSI-ASCII,.....it is intended to QUICKLY give you a working knowledge.  You can put  characters, accents, etc., including 'foreign ones', that you want.... into WORD and other word processing documents, as well as in E-Mails!!...this tells you how to do it.  I already gave you  ALT + 64, above.  TRY that in E-mail composing mode, before reading further.  You can also try it in almost any word processing application.

Way back when we nerds first started using computers, there was a set of 256 characters we had access-to, numbered from 0 to 255.  Two standards were used, that have some close similarities.  There was the America Standard Code for Information Interchange, ASCII (typically spoken as ASS-KEY), and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), typically spoken of as ANN-SEE.   Most of the letters, numbers, and a few other things like grammatical items such as these:  )(*&^%$#@ and others, are ANSI specified.   There are two, three, and 4 character CODES that you could enter on the right side number area of the keyboard (laptops can be very different), in a special way, and the screen would display some certain character, regular character, even various shaped lines, hearts, spades, etc....all of which had various computer purposes, for the basic to moderately advanced user....and for programmers for advanced work.   This is simplified information.

Modern computer programs have text formatting and many other things, like margins being specified, bold, italic, underline, tabs, and embedded objects, ....and things got complicated.    ASCII does not support layout nor embedded objects....and is often just called DOS or PLAIN TEXT.  There is no need for me to explain that last sentence any further here.

The names ASCII and ANSI are often used interchangeably, and often wrongly so, but for our purposes here, just use the special characters we are going to be involved-with, in the slang & generic way, so...just call them ASCII (ass-key) symbols.    There are VASTLY more than 256 now.  We have all sorts of different world-wide languages that need to be displayed on screens, and a whole vast array of punctuation marks, that are commonly used.   Accent marks of numerous types are an example.   Chances are GOOD that you only need to know a FEW of these codes.  For a bit more advanced information, there is likely, in your computer, a way of getting characters from almost any language used in the World; and all sorts of icons too.  THOUSANDS are available.

Because this website is devoted to BMW motorcycles, a German brand, you might want to know how to make certain characters appear on screen (for such as E-mail composing), using your keyboard.  There are a couple of methods, but I teach the simple method in this article.  You CAN easily get THESE, and MANY others:       
You can easily get commonly used Spanish characters, these and MANY others:   
Other things, just as example, are available, EASILY:  ™          €            Ω
Get the idea?

Almost any symbol or character is available to YOU, from YOUR computer.  On a practical basis, you can obtain the characters from a character map chart (built into your computer), or, from a paper or screen chart showing all the various forms and how to display them, or from inside a program that has the character charts.    OK, confused yet?  Don't be!

NOTE:  Even on the same computer, some of these things will work on one of your programs, and maybe not another.  Most of the time these things always work.   On most computer systems, the FONT you are using will have effects, and you can get the wrong symbol.  On OTHER computers, and in some E-mail programs (Outlook, as an example), you must be in PLAIN TEXT mode to have all the symbols correctly displayed and coded as YOU want.   So, if something I tell you to do/try here does not display the correct character/symbol, maybe you are not in plain text mode.   BUT:  MANY programs display the characters just fine, either plain text or HTML/RichText mode. 

I do NOT intend to get into fonts hardly at all.  I will simply suggest you use either Times New Roman, or Arial, or Courier.  E-mail programs have settings for fonts. There are MANY.
This is Times New Roman.
This is Arial.   This is Arial in bold.
This is Courier.


Just for fun, I have put some other fonts below, but I suggest you do NOT USE THEM. There are hundreds of fonts, and you have MANY in your computer.
This is Calibre.
This is Broadway.
This is webdings    Yes, that is a font, called webdings.
This is algerian.
This is one of many script fonts
Lucida handwriting.
adfe0=29cj;lakjg       Yes, you can display and even print in Greek.

 

So, you now know that foreign characters & every sort of special characters are available from your computer.   

***Many of you have Mac computers.   When using a Mac, the Windows Ctrl key is called the CMD key (command); and the Windows ALT key is called the OPTION key.

There are TWO basic METHODS of getting these characters on screen...so that you can put them into a  document or E-mail, etc. 

ONE method in Windows systems is to find the Character Map (usually something like this path: Start->Programs->Accessories->System Tools->Character map) and use it. IT IS SLOW TO DO IT THIS WAY, SINCE YOU MUST DO SEVERAL OPERATIONS.  Still, the character map can be useful; and there are different character maps for each font that you select in that character map program.    If you want to experiment, you might want to put a shortcut icon to the Character map, on the desktop.  Right click the listing, and send it to the desktop as a shortcut.   Using the Character Map is a bit of a hassle. You might want to spend some time looking at the various Character Map versions (try changing the font inside the Character Map...this won't affect your regular computer use).  The Character Map does allow you access to hundreds of special symbols, and all sorts of fonts variations, which have their own sets of characters sometimes, etc.  


I seldom use the Character Map, as I typically only use a dozen special characters, and those are easy to either memorize, or write the key strokes down someplace, or print a chart of them from the internet.

Programs like Microsoft's WORD (especially later versions of WORD) have most of these special symbols/characters built-in, and you can call up the chart IN WORD while composing or editing IN WORD.  There are a number of various charts located at the same access box.  Although it may not seem intuitive, and probably isn't, the various charts are called up by asking for different FONTS in the SYMBOL program ITSELF.  For example, in Office WORD 2007, you can find the function by clicking on INSERT, and then selecting what you want, which is either the sub-heading EQUATION (yes, has those too!)....or, in this case, SYMBOL.   Select the character (try different FONTS, see how it changes things a lot). 
95% of you will NOT need, nor use, the information in this particular paragraph...and things are different in later WORD programs...as to where you find the function.
 


Nerdy:
When you press the keys combinations, if the special character does show on your screen, it USUALLY will display OK on other folks screens.  There are a few exceptions.  The 'and' symbol    &   might show a question mark... and a few other anomalies...on FOREIGN (non-English keyboard) computers.   I need to remember that, myself, as I have used a lot of  & characters in my articles!

Even more nerdy (you can likely forget this paragraph):
Just how ANSI-ASCII works on YOUR computer will vary with the "character set" that is in use by your computer.  This is SETTABLE in certain places and programs.  IF your character set is Western European, you may find the coding in a page, if you ever looked deeply enough, to say something like this:  charset=iso-8859-1   or, perhaps  Windows-1252.  The setting determines some nuances of the character YOU will get from a key combination.   If you do not get the character you expect, see the next section, you are probably using a foreign country setting.  Look it up on the internet, find a chart, print it.


For a rather complete listing of all or most all special characters (be prepared to print them if you want-to):
http://www.keyboardhelp.net
There are a number of topics, and a LIST of ASCII and ANSI codes are available, etc.   If you really want to know more about special characters, this is a good, fairly simple place to study about them.   Laptops, particularly smaller ones, almost always do NOT have numerical keys located as on large keyboards, which have them ON THE RIGHT SIDE.  Laptops vary by manufacturer as to how to use the laptop to obtain special characters.  MANY laptops do it this way:

1.  First, press the key that has this marking:  NmLK.    This may be in blue, as shown here.  It means NUMBERS LOCK.  It may be combined with some other function which is not in blue, and if so, that other function does not use step 2.

2.  In NmLK mode, press the Fn (FUNCTION) key, HOLD IT DOWN while you press the keys on the laptop that have the tiny NUMBERS on them.  Most laptops have a set of number keys along the top area, and SOME of them may also have these tiny numbers...but you will usually find some, if not all, of these tiny numbers printed on the other keys of the laptop, seemingly randomly. 

If these things do not work, look up the documentation for YOUR laptop.
 


Open any text editing program, it could be Notepad, Wordpad, Word, etc...and practice a few things at a time.  You WILL learn all this stuff...SO BE PATIENT!   It WILL pay off for you as you become more knowledgeable.

For a rather complete listing of all or most all special characters (be prepared to print them if you want-to):
http://www.keyboardhelp.net    There are a number of topics, and a LIST of ASCII and ANSI codes are available, etc.  If you really want to know more about special characters, this is a good, fairly simple place to study about them.
 

MOST of you will only use A FEW ANSI/ASCII characters, and there is a MUCH easier way of dealing with them, which follows below.  It is this SECOND method that I teach.   This is primarily what you will probably end up knowing.....and using!   I have mentioned these earlier in this long article.  Now, I get slightly deeper into it again, in a simple manner, but with more information.

These are examples of a few symbols and how to get them into your document or E-mail, etc.   Note that in most instances of foreign letter characters, they are available in both lower and upper case.   Reminder:  the plus sign +, as used below, means only that you HOLD the ALT key down, and then, still holding, push the number keys on the RIGHT side of your keyboard, one after another in sequence, THEN RELEASE the ALT key.   Laptop owners may need to press the Fn key, or some other combination, as there is no right side number keyboard for most laptop owners (except some quite large ones).  See your documentation or my earlier suggestions for laptops, that may work for you.

@, the at symbol you have already learned is    ALT + 64

, the degree symbol, is ALT + 0176  
, the cents symbol, is ALT + 0162
, the money pound symbol, is ALT + 0163
, the copyright symbol, is ALT + 0169
, the Spanish beginning sentence question mark, is ALT + 0191
, the widely used German character, is ALT + 0252.   You can, as with most letters, get an upper case, here it is  ,   from ALT + 0220

The ASCII  ANSI charts listings include 'strange' punctuation marks, even a space non-character and some
exponent numbers, and some fractions.
 

NERDY:
(1) When you type on the regular use section of your keyboard, for 'regular' letters (both upper and lower case), and all numbers, and all punctuation, ETC., as shown on your keyboard, those are all actually ASCII ANSI; that your computer converts to an ALT + xx or ALT + xxx or ALT + xxxx type electronic signal.  This is a very simplified way of describing it, but is adequate for here.     

(2) Beginning at ALT + 0140,  non-keyboard characters are available.   Type any such number while holding the ALT key...see what happens (use any word processing program, open a blank page, and try these things).

(3) Some ANSI/ASCII items do not show up in some particular programs.  Sometimes, if you try them, will cause strange happenings.

SO....Have fun, and try some out.  If intrigued, get a chart of them from the Internet, and print it.


Rev:
05/16/2016:  Moved entire article from inside URL.htm article to here as new article 78C.  Update: proper scripts, layout, fonts, colors, metacodes, etc.
08/16/2016:  clean up article some.  Fix where I failed to internally and externally link to this article after I made it!

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Last check/edit: Tuesday, August 16, 2016