Spanish Accents CapsLock

The Basics

A simple hotkey program that provides a quick and intuitive way to type accented characters used in Spanish. Hold down CapsLock and press ‘a’ to type ‘á’. Hold down Shift as well to type Á. No need to memorize obscure ASCII numbers that don’t work on many laptops anyway!

The program does not require installation; simply download and run, and you can start typing accents!

To prevent accidental activation of CapsLock when typing accents, you must hit the CapsLock key twice in rapid succession to turn CapsLock on and off.

This program is and always will be 100% free: free to use, free to modify, and free of viruses (certified by Jotti). The source code for all my programs are here, for you to inspect yourself.

You can contact me at onehourprogrammer@gmail.com

Download Spanish Accents CapsLock.exe (normal install)

Download Spanish Accents CapsLock.exe (portable for thumb drives)

Download German Accents CapsLock.exe

Quick Reference Guide

You type…

Out comes…

CapsLock + a

á

CapsLock + e

é

CapsLock + i

í

CapsLock + o

ó

CapsLock + u

ú

CapsLock + n

ñ

CapsLock + w

ü

CapsLock + ? OR CapsLock + /

¿

CapsLock + ! OR CapsLock+1

¡

CapsLock + < OR CapsLock + ,

«

CapsLock + > OR CapsLock +.

»

Tab + a OR Shift + CapsLock + a

Á

Tab + e OR Shift + CapsLock + e

É

Tab + i OR Shift + CapsLock + i

Í

Tab + o OR Shift + CapsLock + o

Ó

Tab + u OR Shift + CapsLock + u

Ú

Tab + n OR Shift + CapsLock + n

Ñ

Tab + w OR Shift + CapsLock + w

Ü

CapsLock+4 OR CapsLock+$

CapsLock+? OR CapsLock+/

¿

CapsLock+! OR CapsLock+1

¡

CapsLock+<

«

CapsLock+>

»

CapsLock+8 OR CapsLock+*

º

Tab+8 OR Tab+*

ª

Shift+Tab

Help File with all keyboard combinations

 

All The Details

Update 1/5/2013: Added setup version and ordinals.

Update 9/5/2011: Significant changes. Upgrading is recommended. Changelog here.

Update 4/18/2011: Minor updates. Changelog here.

Update 2/28/2011: Updated version. Changelog here.

Update 1/3/2011: New version! For a list of changes, see here.

Update 10/14/2010: If you have a UK keyboard layout, please download this version instead.

Update 9/11/2010: The program’s been updated for better compatability with non-US keyboards. Please update if you’re having problems with the old version.

Info in Spanish here.

 

Detailed Instructions

1. Download the program.

2. Double click on the downloaded file. A new icon (an “á” on a white background) should appear in your system tray. Note: You must restart the program every time you restart your computer.

3. To type “á”, simply hold down your CapsLock key and press “a”. Use CapsLock for é, í, ó, ú, and ñ too. To type ü, since CapsLock + u already types ú, type “w” instead. To help you remember this, realize that in Spanish, “ü” sounds like a “w” in English.

4. To type capital letters, use the Tab button instead of the CapsLock key. For example, Tab + n produces Ñ.

5. To type punctuation (¿, ¡, «, and »), hold down CapsLock and the corresponding key. For example, to type “¿”, hold down CapsLock and press the ? key. The “«” and “»” keys correspond to the “<” and “>” keys respectively, found between “m” and “?”.

6. To temporarily disable the program, click the program icon. The icon will then be crossed out in red. To reenable the program, click the program icon again.

Program Requirements

1. Windows 95 and later should all work, but I have only personally tested on XP, Vista, and 7. Sorry, no Mac version is available, and for technical reasons, there won’t be one in the foreseeable future.

Afraid of downloading a virus?

Upload the downloaded file here or here to have it scanned by a bunch of different antivirus programs.

The source code is also available on the Downloads page here.

Suggestions, Complaints, Bugs, etc

Please contact me and I’ll get back to you ASAP.

 

Comparison with other methods

In short, the only situation where another solution is better is if you need to type other languages regularly than English and Spanish. In that case, I would recommend the U.S.-International keyboard method.

The alt-key method is impractical because it only works with the number pad, which the vast majority of laptops lack (although some laptops have methods of simulating a number pad). It also involves memorizing arbitrary codes like Alt+0224 to type á.

The U.S.-International keyboard is much better than the alt-key method because it is more intuitive, but is still not optimal because of the somewhat complicated setup (at least, compared to Spanish_Accents_CapsLock) and the fact that it interferes with some very important keys like the apostrophe and the quotation mark. It requires you to type an extra space when typing these keys, which doesn’t sound too bad until you realize that it permanently changes your muscle memory for typing so whenever you use a computer with a normal keyboard setup, you find yourself entering extra spaces everywhere. What was once a minor annoyance turns into a major headache. Also, though better than the alt-key method by leaps and bounds, it’s not as intuitive as it could be. This is because it is not specific to Spanish; it must support characters from other languages such as ç, ø, and œ.

Changing your keyboard layout to a Spanish version is another great option, and if you grew up using that keyboard layout, that’s probably the best. However, for people used to their own keyboard layouts, it can be frustrating to imprint the new layout into your muscle memory. For example, when you mean to type a colon (:) you’ll end up typing an ñ because the placement of the keys are different. Luckily, most Spanish keyboard layouts are pretty similiar to the standard, US, QWERTY layout, but there are enough changes to be frustrating. And don’t even get me started on the French, AZERTY layout!

Copy-and-pasting is what I was using before I buckled down and wrote this program; it’s simple and effective for the occasional typing in Spanish. However, it’s impractical if you’re typing say, an essay a week. Also, if you’re not copy-and-pasting in plaintext, this could mess up your formatting.

Using the Windows character map is a lot like copy-and-pasting only even slower. It completely disrupts your flow of thought to have to hunt for a particular character.

The Microsoft Word method is pretty good, but you can only use it in Word, not your email program, not in your browser, etc. Even if you only use Microsoft Word, it’s not as simple and intuitive as Spanish_Accents_CapsLock. For example, to type ñ using the Word method, you need to hit four keys instead of two (Ctrl+Shift+~+n vs. CapsLock+n). This is not only because of bad design, but a critical limitation since the Word method is not specific to Spanish, and thus needs to support characters such as ç, ø, and œ.

 Buying special hardware is another option I recently discovered. I stumbled upon “The Original Accented Keypad” (Amazon link here). It seems to cover the basics at least, though I’m not sure if it supports typing capital letters using shift. The big problem I see with it is that it interrupts the flow of your typing, because you need to move your hand away from your keyboard. And of course, it’s not free. However, I have to give it credit for simplicity; I’d rather use that than copy-and-pasting.