I am now posting angry and frustrated.....

+40 votes

but to keep it corteous, please, please, please do not ignore the dots, tildes and slashes in foreign characters. There is a distinct difference between the plain O and Ö or Ø. Also A is a different character from Ä, Å or Æ.


in The Tree House by Juha Soini G2G6 Pilot (108k points)
In "Windows" most foreign characters can be found in "Character Map" in "Windows Accessories".
If you are going to be using them regularly you can also set your computer up to have alternate keyboards. I can switch mine between English and Norwegian bokmål.
I use Wikipedia as my source for characters and symbols that aren't on my keyboard. If you open an English Wikipedia page in edit mode, near the bottom of the edit box you'll see a menu of characters or symbols available to be inserted into the article text. There are several such menus. The letters being discussed here are found under Latin; other choices include Greek, Cyrillic, Hebrew, Arabic, and Symbols.

Put your cursor in the edit window, click on the character you want to use, and the character will appear at the cursor location. Copy it and paste it into WikiTree -- and DON'T SAVE THE WIKIPEDIA PAGE!

There are ascii codes that can be typed for most foreign characters. You can do a web search for the codes. To enter them you press the ALT key then use the numeric keyboard and type a number, for instance, the Danish letter


I type ALT 0216
Familysearch offers some help: here is the Danish help page in how to use/configure for the Danish language
In Windows you can have multiple languages which you can select by an icon down near the clock (when configured for more than one language). For instance in Win XP (sorry, I haven't used Windows since then, no on Linux) go to control panel, then Regional and languages, and on the languages tab there is an option where you can add another language. Once I have added another language EN will appear down near the clock. I can then click onto that to select the other language.
Having said all that, sometimes it is just easier to cut and paste the character from somewhere else ;-)
On a Mac keyboard, holding down the base letter (e.g., a) will present a list of alternate characters, each over a number which, when pressed, will generate the desired character (e.g., ä, æ, å).

Thank you so much Juha for this as there are many of us who did not understand fully until you posted your very kind message!  We all appreciate all the extra help we can get and this post is really a good one.

In fact, I just added that link as one of my Wiki Help in the Editing category that I use for new members & MYSELF!  Color me grateful!yes

Thank you Juha for bringing up this topic.  Do not forget the contributions of GEDCOM for imbeding Öberg with a LNAB of èOberg .  Surely a bot can be contructed to auto correct these.


It is corrected. I can't stand to leave those alone. smiley

Thank you for the correction. But as you make a correction look and see if other easy corrections can be corrected.  Are theirs eO in the profile. Do we need to add Sweden to a location?
I have developed a reference aid in a Word document where I have written or spelled all the letters, names, parishes and regions, etc, for my Swedish ancestors correctly. I open that document whenever I am working on my Swedish lines and then copy and paste.  I have found this solution easier than remembering the ASCI codes or going through the symbol tables.  Just a quick tip for folks who will need this more than once.

5 Answers

+22 votes
I can totally understand your frustration. In many cases, it might not even be laziness that accounts for the lack of the proper symbols, but different official records may leave them off, causing confusion about which name is the correct one!
by E Childs G2G6 Pilot (104k points)
+11 votes
Depending on your OS things are a bit different, but Windows provides a program called character that will bring up a screen with special characters in it and you can copy and paste. MacOS has a similar program that is enabled on the Keyboard preferences panel and it puts an icon in the top bar.

Also, you can type them directly if you remember the sequences. For Windows there is a table of special characters. When I used Windows I had that posted on the wall in my office. I use a Mac so things are different and I know the ones I need.  See the page https://support.office.com/en-us/article/insert-ascii-or-unicode-latin-based-symbols-and-characters-d13f58d3-7bcb-44a7-a4d5-972ee12e50e0 for Windows support.
by Doug McCallum G2G6 Pilot (462k points)

You missed a word--it's call character map, aka charmap.exe ;)

(Edit: removed some nonsense I typed about alt-key shortcuts because I glossed over Juha's link.)

Gotta stop typing on my phone.
+10 votes
On my Mac, if I hold a letter key for a few seconds a menu will pop up over the letter with options, so I can press and hold e and get è, é, ê, ë, ē, ė, ę.

I tried a few others: O, Ø, Ö -- you have to hold the shift and the letter keys together if you want capitals...

A yields : Æ, Ä, Å, etc

Are there Windows keyboard shortcuts?
by Christine Daniels G2G6 Pilot (131k points)
It does too - never knew that. thanks for the tip - still can't find an English pound sign though.

On a Mac it is Option key and 3 key. Makes sense, and easy to remember if you think of Shift key and 3 key gives you the symbol formerly known as a pound sign (now called hashtag laugh)

+9 votes
Hey there,

Very important indeed.  However, sometimes after you copy and paste, or even copy from a site that shares free fronts, it's not always certain that your text will appear the way you thought it would.  In a case like these, it's wise to double check your text.  Just open another tab, or remember where you copied and pasted, then look at your text to see if it came out correctly.  Accuracy is most important in typing any form of language.  Always, proof read and double check.  This was a good topic/question/post but not to get frustrated or angry about.  It's going to be fine.  Good day all.

Happy WikiTree Exploring!

Paula Ann
by Paula Reinke G2G6 Mach 9 (91.3k points)

My frustration came from something not mentioned here, and I wanted to avoid finger pointing making this a generic request. wink

+7 votes
Very easy to do these entries on mobile devices by holding down the letter.

Problem is that some searches are symbol sensitve and some not.

Sometimes the name will be different in Polish/Lithuanian it will show the vowels instead of using the symbols whereas Latvian more often and most often in Swedish
by Lloyd de Vere Hunt G2G6 Mach 3 (33.5k points)
Some smartphone keyboard apps also let you add languages--so my latin keyboard on my phone is labeled en/no. It also adds a Norwegian dictionary to the text prediction, which can be amusing or annoying depending on my mood ;)

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