Windows Legacy OS forum

General discussion

Entering non-ASCII characters with <ALT> Number Pad

by TreknologyNet / August 20, 2009 11:25 PM PDT

I have search the fora, and cannot find evidence of anyone else encountering this problem.

Admittedly, I think Unicode sucks, it was set up to handle 65000 characters, and now has a table of some 95000 many of which are compounds of existing characters.

As a "typographer", I go for the closest to correct "spelling" as possible which often includes compound characters like "

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And what font?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 20, 2009 11:52 PM PDT

I've seen people lose months on this one. When we use the alt number method we have to also see if the font in that form or application has some character of interest at that location.

CHARMAP is good to know about here. But what font is being used in the app?

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Arial Opentype
by TreknologyNet / August 21, 2009 1:01 PM PDT
In reply to: And what font?

Months? Don't scare me like that!

When I say I get "nothing", I don't even get the little square that says, "I was too lazy to put a character here."

If can copy from Character Map and paste into a box (primarily this type of comment box in browser pages), then I see no reason why ALT + #### shouldn't work.

The two characters I most frequently use are lowercase "AE" and lowercase "e-acute".

Do I need to instal an auxilliary keyboard driver?

Personally, I think it was incumbent upon Adobe to define every PostScript character properly in, say, Courier so that when an undefined character was invoked, the Courier default was shown instead of a silly box, which Microsoft should then have mimicked in TrueType and which is a definite necessity in OpenType or, failing that, default to displaying the location number.

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Let me narrow down my question to one line.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 21, 2009 10:16 PM PDT
In reply to: Arial Opentype

-> What FONT is in use when you use ALT+nnn?

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It's all in the heading.
by TreknologyNet / August 22, 2009 7:19 PM PDT

Arial Opentype in both the Character Map and the Internet Browser entry box. Fixed pitch font is Lucida Console Opentype. Both fonts have the relevant characters defined.

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Try simpler.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 22, 2009 9:03 PM PDT

Try Wordpad since IE can have ADDONS that block this. is where I find that Lucida Console Font. Correct me if I'm wrong but it looks like we are dealing with a modified Windows. That is, what is not stock may be at issue.

There is no single cause of this issue and the clue in not here yet. But that font tells me you may be dealing with some machine that some one has done some changes to.

Let's be sure that a basic item is set proper. The numlock is enabled.

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Yes, there are modifications.
by TreknologyNet / August 22, 2009 10:41 PM PDT
In reply to: Try simpler.

I have even tried Notepad with the same lack of result. I can copy and paste such characters, but I cannot invoke them from the keyboard.

The machine has only recently been re-installed from scratch, and has its original fonts, those of Office2003 and those of Corel Draw 3. Because of my new back-up procedure there are no registry entries left over from Office or from Corel.

It's an HP/Compaq nx6320 which insists on using it's own install discs. If I try to install from a standard/generic XP Pro disc, it suspiciously fails to find the hard drive. All the extra junk that self-installs has been removed.

The keyboard is a STANDARD IBM Model M Extended AT layout (the expensive tactile/clicky ones that were built to last) with PS/2 plug connected through a USB port (there is no keyboard port), and of course, being a laptop I can't do ALT + #### on the internal (gak!) keyboard.

Yes, the NUMLOCK is ON.

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Notepad ?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 22, 2009 10:47 PM PDT

Try WordPad next and try OTHER fonts. Commercial fonts can be trouble. I can't tell why that bit long ago. shows three numbers so let's stick to 3 numbers for now.

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Re: characters
by Kees Bakker / August 22, 2009 10:58 PM PDT

It's strange indeed. To exclude font effect, try any standard font (Arial, Times New Roman, Courier New) and standard characters:
Alt-97 = a
Alt-101 = e
Alt-3 = ♥
With numlock on and alt pressed before you type the characters and using the numeric keypad, the character comes up when you let the alt key go.
That's how it should be.

As far as I know, there's no way to influence it.

So it could be the keyboard or the PS/2-USB connector in my opinion. Try a real USB-keyboard in stead of this setup?

And, yes, as Bob writes, it should work with the internal keyboard also. Numlock activates the numbers around the j.


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What you say SHOULD be true.
by TreknologyNet / August 22, 2009 11:29 PM PDT
In reply to: Re: characters

The original (ASCII-based) <ALT> + ### was a BIOS implementation by IBM.

Apart from DOS, MS's flagship commercial product was Word, which was acquired from another developer. It's menu structure hung entirely off the <ESC> key, but the team developing Windows for no reason that has been logically explained to the public elected to use the <ALT> key instead. This means there are significant layers of code that are over-riding the machine BIOS, to seperate the <ALT> menu invocation and the Unicode <ALT> + #### activity, and sticky keys is negatively interacting with one or more of those layers.

It's amazing what you can figure out in hindsight.?

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In some cases ...
by Kees Bakker / August 22, 2009 12:30 AM PDT
In reply to: Arial Opentype

(it might depend on the language settings, I think) NUMLOCK has to be on for the ALT-### or ALT-0### to work.

After that, I'd try it with one of those keyboards you don't like, just to be SURE it isn't an issue with this specific keyboard.


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A Touch of Instinct: Sticky Keys!
by TreknologyNet / August 22, 2009 11:02 PM PDT
In reply to: In some cases ...

Because of the ridiculous speed with which I type, I use sticky keys because I've moved on from the Shift Key before I get to the key that's meant to be shifted.

This doesn't matter when I'm using my IBM Golfball, because the ball hasn't had time to register the release of the Shift Key before the next key stroke.

On impulse, I turned sticky keys off, and the "problem" disappeared. Alt + 0230 now produces "

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Thanks for telling us.
by Kees Bakker / August 22, 2009 11:41 PM PDT
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