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There are TWO PARTS to this very long article!

Part 1: Word Processing; making documents; editing E-mail messages. 
INCLUDES a section on traveling, using foreign computers. 
Entering or printing or sending special characters from your computer.

Part 2:  Useful URL/sources for BMW motorcyclists;
parts, links to people, websites, companies, services.
Several useful sub-sections.

Copyright, 2013, R. Fleischer


There is also a References page; which has a LOT of information! It has a long list of where to go for specific things & services, that are not shown here. 
For MANUALS, a specific article, #80, should be looked-at.

I have NO financial or other interest in ANY company, product, or person I recommend!

Preliminary information:
This information 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 very long article you are reading. It contains basic as well as advanced information.  If you are relatively new to computers, you WILL find a lot more information here than you can possibly assimilate even with multiple readings unless you have a huge IQ or already have an extensive computer background.  You will need time & practicing, 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, and 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. 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 can also furnish a MUCH more techy reply than this bit you are reading, dealing with how the problems came about, what DMARC is, and so on.  I do NOT get into how to edit the addresses and pasting, in DIGEST what follows in the below article.
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.

What follows is BASIC editing of just about ANY text.  These things have been in use for DECADES!    If you do not know these things, I HIGHLY suggest you learn them!  I will not get all that deep into this, just address the BASICS!  The editing I describe in this article is nearly universal, & you will find it in most word processing programs, 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 (or, most any internet mailing list or forum) are automatically in PLAIN TEXT. 
Yes, I know that Micapeak's 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, & various special effects and characters are not available, & therefore are NOT SENT.  This is not an overly strong recommendation though.

Please read this short section surrounded by horizontal lines SEVERAL times SLOWLY.  Absorb what it REALLY means. 
If you are a REAL newbie, just starting out with computers, do read & absorb what you can, then come back now & then, and re-read it, until you understand it completely.  Don't try to send images or colored text to as Micapeak's servers will strip them off, sometimes leaving 'weird stuff'.   Just where you will find in YOUR E-mail program preferences or options or settings for these things is a matter of what program you use.   In every E-mail program I know of, you can set any particular E address (in the computer address book) you send messages to, for plain text composing & sending.  You can also set the program itself, so that ALL messages are in plain text or in what is called HTML.  In some old programs, HTML mode is called Rich Text.  Many programs are 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 probably best.   I simply have all LISTs I am on, in the contacts or address book list in my computer, associated with E-mail, set for plain text (that is, NOT rich text, NOT html).   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, you CAN send photos, and rich text, etc.      MOST DO have HTML turned OFF. 

On those with HTML turned OFF, you must post images to some on-line hosting service (many are totally free), and show a link to the photo(s) in YOUR message to the LIST.  On those 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 this:  Quotable Printable
That means far more than the words seem to indicate!

From this point onwards, I will get into details.

There can be some complications when using foreign characters, foreign keyboards, & especially with special symbols, etc. 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, 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.  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. 

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, just enough left to show what is needed).  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).  

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.  

I have NO objections to YOU top posting, bottom posting, or inside message posting.

I DO OBJECT, STRONGLY, if you fail to edit any of the prior post(ings) in your message.  SNIP what is not needed.
DO NOT reply by including an entire Digest.  This is 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 all the other replies & chit chat from a Digest Mode message that you are replying to!...just leave the 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 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....repetitions by you may be dealt with in a stronger manner.

BASIC EDITING, a simple method:

I will 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.  

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

                   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 now 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, 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 Ctrl, hold
      it, & press V.   You can do this multiple times if you ever had a reason....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 not pressing both keys at precisely the same time.   There are
      actually some commands that use three keys, all three ending up pressed at the same
      time...but those are NOT used for editing documents. 

To grab/copy an image or do some things I 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 elatively 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 fully 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 or a 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 editing.  Most mailing lists and forums do not allow html anyway, so plain text is nice to use.  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 PLAIN TEXT setting will save you a bunch of time and bother! 

Look at your E-mail contacts list, 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. 

If you don't use Rich Text or HTML in any form very often, set your whole E-mail program to always 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.

Finally, after all that above verbosity, DO read:

There is a short and simple section about editing, etc.

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:

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 @, 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.  Then release ALT.   On normal large keyboards, that 6 and then 4 is 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"
(no, not your crazy friends!!!) 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.

What follows is NOT intended to be a course in ANSI/ASCII, 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 personal 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 to 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.  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 even for basic English.   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 of things are available.

Because this website is devoted to BMW motorcycles, a German brand, you might want to know how to make some characters appear on screen, 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, 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, whichever you like.  E-mail programs have settings for fonts.
This is Times New Roman.
This is Arial.
This is Courier.
None of the above three examples is in BOLD.

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 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...that is...into some 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, and so on.  

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 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 WORD version of 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 to where you find the function.

When you press the keys combination, 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.  

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):
   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 almost always do NOT have the numerical keys located on larger 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 key, HOLD IT DOWN while you press the keys on the laptop that
     have the more 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, 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.

I will first repeat something from earlier:
For a rather complete listing of all or most all special characters (be prepared to print them if you want-to):    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 gotten into these things/methods, earlier in this long article.  Here, below, I get slightly deeper into it again, in a simple manner.
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.  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.

(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

(2) Beginning at ALT + 0140,  non-keyboard characters are available.   Type any 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. 

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

PART 2.  Useful URL/sources for BMW motorcyclists; parts, links to people, websites, companies, services:


        Sub-section, BMW Parts:
 I have NO financial stake or other interest in ANY company or product I recommend!

Antique BMW's:  Anything before 1970 models are regarded as in this category, by ME.
          Parts sources are varied.   A little known source for parts (and, $$ restoration services!) is BMW themselves.
          Previously called Mobile Tradition, the new name is BMW Group Classic.

It is OFTEN to your great advantage to speak to someone in ANY parts department that KNOWS your bike!  Many a time these folks will steer you in the correct direction.  Just ordering from someone via a part number YOU provide (or they provide!), might get you into trouble.

Below are Internet sites that, somewhat differently, give you part numbers, or allow you to look up part numbers from sketches; also these have prices, etc.  Each of these websites does things if you need some sort of tech or  information on a part, you might want to try them all.

Sometimes we do need to enter known part numbers, not just search for the proper part number).  When entering part numbers into most sites they do NOT want hyphens nor spaces between the numbers groups.

Here are the websites I use now and then for finding part numbers or for entering part numbers:   Useful, sketches, but I don't use it but rarely, finding it much more of a PIA than using maxbmwmotorcycles, below:
If that link does not work for the fiche, just use the main page and find the place to click. 
I find this website to be very useful.     I use it rarely.  BUT:  This website works nicely by model, year, and you can go back as
far as 1948 if you use the Archive feature. 

Every one of the above websites uses some form of the BMW parts catalog with useful sketches (often referred-to as the ETK catalog), but they are not all the same, nor do they all work the same.  I suggest you try each of the four above & give a hard look-see at the illustrated parts listings, & then decide which one of them you like the best. You MAY have to use more than one, or all of them, for some part to get the full information on that part.  The maxbmwmotorcycle site is the one I find the most easy to use and most useful.  Most of the time it displays various notes with the part number charts, telling you things you need to know about DATES for changes, etc.

All will sell you parts, of course.   Keep in mind that there are Independent BMW repair places, such as Beemershop and RubberChickenRacingGarage, that have super-knowledgeable folks, who can properly guide you, and save you a LOT of time...and money!

Motobins of England; and some of the German sites, may be useful at times.  Many times Motorbins is cheaper, even after freight is considered.  If you want GENUINE BMW parts, be sure to inquire about THAT. Do NOT forget your local dealer, who may well offer a discount if you are a good customer & you ask!    If that local dealership has a knowledgeable parts person, you are doubly benefit. Keep in mind that any local dealership, or independent service that you develop a relationship with (particularly on a first-name basis) is likely going to be the place you will get the best service from, for parts, and sometimes advice on parts, etc.  In general, the independents, such as Tom Cutter, Ted Porter, Bob Clement, Anton Largiader, me, etc., will have the best information, and know things the dealership parts folks may well have no idea about.    On top of these things, the folks mentioned, can give advice the dealership parts person may have NO knowledge-of.  That can be very valuable.   This site contains all sorts of information on BMW bikes, including Airheads.  It is in German, but you can click and use the translator.  HUGE amount of information.

        Sub-section:  BMW SERVICE....and many parts too; Technical information, service, how-to's, etc:
 I have NO financial stake or other interest in ANY company or product I recommend!

On the West coast, in California, is Ted Porter's Beemershop. They are very knowledgeable about parts & service.   ALL BMW bikes, old and latest.  Website has some repairs articles. Large inventory of parts too.
Excellent top end work, transmission overhauls, etc.

East Coast area:  Tom Cutter's Rubber Chicken Racing Garage.  Meticulous workmanship on BMW motorcycles.  Airheads, Oilheads, ETC.  Some modest tech info on website.

East Coast area:  Anton Largiader:   Another knowledgeable source, and his website is loaded with tech info.
You can also use the following, which produces a list of articles that you might NOT find so easily from the above primary URL:

East Coast area:  Bud Provin:  Another knowledgeable source.

Bob Clement in Montana who does business as BMW Montana;  Bob's Motorwerks   (406) 445-2044

Murphs BMW  in Eugene, Oregon.

These, above, are my short list of truly knowledgeable 'wrenches' for repairs and overhauls and parts sources.

The PRIMARY source for AIRHEADS technical information, is the Airheads Beemer Club mailing LIST, also called the Airlist.  Information on subscribing is at the top of my technical articles list page: .    I say PRIMARY, because while my website is intended as a major reference source, the LIST covers anything & everything Airhead, & you can usually get a reply rather quickly.  Once a LIST member, you have access to the list archives.  A MAJOR reason to join that LIST is the LARGE number of Airhead owners on it; and the various Guru's who will reply. Some of the non-guru's are also knowledgeable!     For those who are already Members, here is the archives address:

The primary source for technical help for Classic K bikes, is the KBMW list on yahoo groups.

Some of the LIST 'guru's' tend to discourage direct inquiries (I do! as they would benefit only one person), but at least one does not:
Oak Okleshen:

Oak writes a new technical article, published every month in the Airheads Beemer Club magazine called AIRMAIL.    See for information on joining the Club.   Oak has an index of past articles available.   He also does...or maybe he has retired from repair work??..... SUPERB repair work!  I worked as a BMW wrench and also for a BMW dealership as the Head of the Shop.  Later, Oak became MY personal mentor/guru/advisor.    If you contact him to do repair work for you, be sure to ask how realistically long the job will take; Oak is doing less and less....(we all get old and have ailments).

I have additional listings under S, for Service, in my REFERENCES article.


        Sub-section:  BMW Electrics....and other parts in a few instances:
I have NO financial stake or other interest in ANY company or product I recommend!   

A source for all sorts of parts including electrical items for all BMW motorcycles & some Guzzi & even    They are at 18195 Augusta Drive, in Monument, Colorado.  (719) 487-9397.  They stock electric's items, including ignition items, starters, alternators, parts to repair these ETC.  They also stock fuel filters and much more.  They also repair these things...and also sell the EnDuraLast Alternator (it is THEIR product); and, many items that are NOT available from BMW, such as internal diodes & regulators for the oilhead and K bike alternators, ETC.   Compare their prices with BMW's on BMW-sold parts.    I don't have any financial stake here, this is just a hint.   They carry Bosch repair parts, Valeo repair parts, and new Valeo starters (both 8 and 9 tooth, with the updated magnet structures); and have always provided prompt shipping.

NOTE!   For genuine Jeff Lee products (dba Emerald Island), such as the ignitions, alternators, etc;  see, ONLY these two sources:
  This is Motorrad Elektrik, run by Rick Jones.  Rick sells an Airhead electrics
                                                                 and charging manual that is very worthwhile.

You may have head of these Jeff Lee items under the name Omega alternators and Alpha ignitions, and there are other things, such as LED tailight conversions, etc.  These are the genuine items, not cheap imperfectly-fitting and not as reliable products.

There are other sources for some types of electrics, such as Thunderchild,

Jim Davis, owner, Eastern Beaver Company: 
Motorcycle Relay Kits, Modulator Kits, Powerlet, Centech, Posi-Lock, and other parts.   A knowledgeable guy, with a somewhat different viewpoint at times.  Quality products, some of which are VERY handy.

Here is the URL for the Chicago Region BMW Club, the source for their various repair manuals.
The tuneup manual; 10K manual, tire manual, etc., is still available. 
The Electrics manual, now priced at $30 (?),  is simply THE best electrics manual for airheads, and Oak was primarily responsible for that manual.  HIGHLY recommended.  This is THE Airhead electrics manual to own.  It covers EVERYTHING, almost anyway.   That website also has some information on the background of that Club, and the background on Oak, etc., and those various manuals. There is a CRITIQUE of the Electrics School manual on MY site:   chitechelmn.htm   If you own one of these manuals, I suggest you use my critique, to update your manual.

        Sub-section:  A few more references:
This is Phil Hawksley's website.....lots of good information there.
Yeah, I know, a K bike group.  A good one.  I participate on that LIST.    Forum style.  K bikes.   Active, lots of opinions, watch for awhile to sort out who knows, who guesses, etc.
Has factory bulletins for the pre-/5 bikes.  This URL for them has a LOT of literature, all sorts of things, definitely worth a long look-see.  This one is NOT just for the pre-/5.  This one may not be linked from the main site, so be sure to try it, and scan down to be sure it is the much longer list of things.
This URL link will take you to the Mark Huggett BMW Mobile Tradition site.....a source and reference for, especially, OLD BMW parts, restorations, work, etc.

Mobile Tradition was BMW's own outlet for information, parts, and restorations, etc., for older BMW products.  BMW has been changing the website address for such as their Mobile Tradition Teilekatalog, and you may have to do a search, or contact your dealership, to find out the correct web address, and, note that
anything before 1970 models are regarded as in this category, by ME.     >>>Previously called Mobile Tradition, the new name is BMW Group Classic.

NOTE!    Snowbum has not worked on Vintage BMW bikes in decades.  Snowbum's extensive notebooks on the /2 era bikes disappeared around 1975.   Please refer to knowledgeable folks listed on this page, not Snowbum!...who has very little on his site on them (he does have cleaning the slingers, and some on the electrics, such as the voltage regulator, carbs, etc.).

NOTE:  See article 78A for lots of additional references, for airheads....and some pre-airheads.

Duane Ausherman:   His website with a lot of technical articles covers much of the /2 era, as well as the /5 and some applicable to later models.  He has a somewhat unique way of presenting information:
This is also the home to Randy Glass' major and SUPERB illustrated article on /5 (and later) front fork alignment.     this is the Vintage BMW club.  Has a forum, and a fair amount of 'stuff'. Some VERY knowledgeable folks here, and they have a magazine, etc...well done too!  If you are into the pre-airhead bikes, you need this.

        Sub-section:  Miscl sources:   Adventure Riders site. This is an all-brand site, but has a LARGE amount of information and traffic for BMW GS bikes and a LOT is applicable to all Airheads.   Be careful who you pay attention to.  

Bayrische Magnetznder    German website, magnetos parts and service

Bob's BMW   A good source

Blue Moon BMW.  Online catalog, exploded parts diagrams.  Bikes, parts, tech.


TOOLS:   FOR SURE see my ENTIRE article!
                FOR SURE see my References article, under T for Tools.

Darryl Richman.  Reach him through his website   Lots of knowledge and can probably direct you to where you need to go for things for pre-Airhead bikes.
THE premier auction site.    Some sources for vintage BMW parts even have full-time stores run through Ebay.

Alex Gaenssle.      Machine shop and other work.   In Germany.  English spoken.  His old website address does NOT work.

John's Beemer Garage.   Catalogs, drawings.
Has factory bulletins for the pre-/5 bikes.

Kradrider LIST      War bikes

Mark Hugget GmbH; in Switzerland.   Restoration forum, on-line shop, lots of parts.

Old Timers Garage.   New made parts.   Poland.

Slash 2.
One of the Yahoo groups.   It does NOT deal 'just' with the /2 bikes, but with all vintage BMW bikes.
The following site is extensive, and deals mostly with a restoration of a /2:

Hans Radstaack   Dutch specialist, speaks English.  For early magnetos.
Vintage BMW Motorcycles. One of the many Yahoo Groups   In Germany!

Bench Mark Works, Craig Vechorik:
An excellent source for information, parts, and technical help, etc.    Two divisions, one in Mississippi, one in Canada.  Snowbum disagrees with his remarks on not using GL5 oil on Airheads and later.   Vetch stocks parts for the old BMW's....and quite a few for the later bikes, including manuals and other literature.   Well worth your time to browse this site.  Almost a must if you have a pre-airhead (before 1970 models).    check it out for /2 parts sketches/etc.

****I don't typically discuss the /2 and /3 bikes.  I also do not "follow" Vech's site, nor the sites for the older bikes. Two reasons.  One is that my huge notebook on the /2 and /3 era bikes was somehow lost.   The other reason is that these old bikes have a specialized following, some of who are much more knowledgeable than I my memory has faded on them over the years, as I got further and further away from working on them.  However, there are some sources for information, such as /2 LIST on the internet, and in a very few books. One of the books that is just about a must to own is the Barrington Motor Works BMW /2 Restoration and Service Manual.  This is a well done book, reviewed by many 'experts' in the field before it was published.  The book is roughly $100, and worth it.
contact  or call 607-664-2673

        Sub-section:  model specific websites: 
as you can see from the URL, this is a forum-style site.  Last time I looked at it, was not very active.  Obviously, it is for the R100R bikes, the last Airheads.
I am sure you can figure out what -BS means on the above  R45 and R65     This is a site for the F650 and G650 SINGLE CYLINDER BMW bikes. 
Previously this forum group was known as "The Chain Gang".   
Worth looking at. ILLUSTRATED HOW-TO articles.
NOTE:  The bmwscotter website appears down for non-payment of ISP fees.   10-20-2013    
This is almost entirely for the CLASSIC K bikes (K1, K75, K100, K1100).   High on TECH.    Forum style.  Classic K bikes.   Active, lots of opinions, watch for awhile to sort out who knows, who guesses, etc.

You can get a list of motorcycle makes, models, various groups, from the server at

 Just one such group is:
The above URL has a lot more than just GS.  You will find good descriptions of all the various Monolever and Paralever bikes, including GS; G/S; ST.....

        Subsection:  other sites:
This is a U.S. Government website that allows you to enter the 17 character VIN of any car, truck, MOTORCYCLE, and find out if there are any open recalls on that particular vehicle.
for serial numbers and general production dates, there are several sites for this sort of thing, here is another one:

There is a vin decoder of a different sort on my (this) site too....see the article IDnumbrs.htm   Lots of information, including HOW TO READ VIN NUMBERS.
Instruction sheets for Dyna ignition conversions, etc.
BMW Motorcycle Owners of America website.  Click on Country Store to get back issues.
Lots of stuff on this website.

Mike Hamende has sold Airhead Salvage and Sales, that was near Austin Texas.
The company is now called Martindale Motorcycle Works, in Martindale, is still in business; ....airhead, oilhead, and K salvaged parts.  The new owner is Mike Orloff.
The new phone number is (512) 357-3842  Same website and e-mail address as before:

See my REFERENCES page for more salvage places, MORE sources for parts and sources for most everything else.

Koni no longer makes shocks for our airheads.  The Koni name and tooling was sold, and the new company DOES have products, including repair parts:
You can also probably get the Ikon AND Koni parts you need (or, even overhauls) from Dave Gardner;  ikonusa@gmail.comHe is located in San Francisco.

Wilbers is a good aftermarket shock, available from sources that are Members of the Airheads Mailing List, of
Sidecars, SideCarTalk is the group name, sometimes referred to as SCT2.   This is THE group for sidecar technical help.
NOTE.....there is a sidecar section on my website, more than just one is a link to just one article, it has some sidecar specific URL's: sidecarURL.htm

Lots of references are on the Airheads Club website: 
That website has technical articles written by myself....and many others.  Click on that main page under Technical Tips.  A clickable link on the left side of the page.  There are quite a few pages to the Technical Tips section.  You may...or may not... have to be a Member of the Club, before you can access these; and, the Table of Contents MAY, or MAY NOT, be shown if not a member.

Here is the name of a source for electrical sockets, plugs, cables, kits, far beyond what is in most autoparts stores or your BMW dealership.  High quality stuff here.     Powerlet Products.   You can do a Google on that, or try Whitehorse Press, they have a catalog that includes Powerlet Products.   Powerlet's website is the more comprehensive.  Here is information on a solid source, repeated from earlier:
Jim Davis, Owner, Eastern Beaver Company: 
Motorcycle Relay Kits, Modulator Kits, Powerlet, Centech, Posi-Lock, Parts.   A knowledgeable guy, with a somewhat different viewpoint at times.  Quality products, some of which are VERY handy.

03/12/2006:  incorporated all prev. revisions, and updated URL's for parts and prices sources,
                    re-arrange order of things for clarity.
05/22/2006:  add
07/19/2006:  update URL's, and information on a few companies
08/01/2006:  add R45/R65 URL; and r-arrange the entire page
01/13/2007:  update salvage yards
02/16/2007:  re-arrange for electrics stuff in one area; add latest contact info for Chitech; P.A.S.
06/01/2007:  minor editing.   
06/02/2007:  more ASCII information; add Jim Davis' Eastern Beaver
08/06/2007:  Update Anton's website URL information
12/14/2007:  added more info on beemergarage
01/01/2008:  Fix Chicago BMW Club address
01/03/2008:  Add hyperlink for German words
01/06/2008:  move driveshaft information to References page
01/07/2008:  fix country store hyperlink problem
01/07/2008:  fix website url; remove "For the R80GS and R100GS, only, take a look at:
                    wendell/gs/node1.html  The link and top domain is dead
01/18/2008:  remove F, OT, Z, S information to article 39
01/19/2008:  Update Cycleworks (tools)
07/10/2009:  Minor updates, re: Barrington
08/31/2009:  update on Chicago's manuals.  Check buchanan's site...still has wrong notations.
10/31/2009:  lots of updating of URLs, information, etc.
12/31/2009:  Update entire article, add lots more to ASCII too.
01/01/2010:  Add Mobile Tradition information, inadvertently left out during a prior update
03/16/2010:  Clean up the article, still messy, but I eliminated MANY duplications, huge font
                    changes, etc.
03/27/2010:  Updated Airhead Salvage information
04/20/2010:  Remove and modify some hyperlinks
08/22/2010:  Update Vech's URL
09/21/2010:  Clean up article a bit.
11/25/2010:  Clean up & clarify my listing of websites for ETK type information; add some
01/15/2011:  remove references, thunderchild & buchanan pages...I have the information in
04/13/2011:  Add editing information
06/04/2011:  Add link
08/19/2011:  Add Meyer bikes link
10/21/2011:  Remove Chicago BMW, as was going out of business
05/15/2012:  Edit for clarity
05/24/2012:  add
10/15/2012:  Add QR code, add language button, update Google Ad-Sense code
10/25/2012:  Update Google Ad-Sense code properly, as was NOT done on 10/15/2012. 
                    Clarify many details in Editing section, expand it.  Fix a LOT of underlining
                    that were not links.
11/10/2012:  Clean up for new size; add MAC information.  Re-arrange order of sections;
                    make formal sections.
12/17/2012:  Add link to
04/05/2013:  Update the article for more clarity on editing and special symbols too.
05/24/2013:  Add
08/14/2013:  Add new site for The Chain Gang (F650 and G650 singles)
10/20/2013:  add note:  NOTE:  The bmwscotter website appears down for non-payment of ISP fees.   10-20-2013
01/03/2014:  revise article rather completely; additionally, add section on lane splitting.
10/03/2014:  Revise.  Move lane splitting to its own article.  Clean up rest, for smaller screens too.
12/08/2014:  Revise entire article.  Further updating later in December.
03/05/2015:  More revisions, all were made for increased clarity
03/19/2015:  Minor change to above URL of 10/03/2014, so will always come up with correct URL. Another update 07/19/2015.
08/21/2015:  Remove two dead links
11/17/2015:  Update much of the entire article, but not much on the last 30%.


Copyright 2013, R. Fleischer

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