You can use shortcuts to insert accented characters and common symbols into your Word documents. For example, you can type deja vu or get fancy and type déjà vu or café or résumé.

Diacritical symbols appear over certain letters in foreign languages and in foreign words borrowed into English. To create a diacritical symbol when you’re typing in Word 2007, you press a special Control-key combination. The one you press somewhat represents the diacritical symbol you need, such as Ctrl+’ to produce a ’ diacritical. The Ctrl-key combination is followed by the character that needs the new “hat.”

For example, to put an é into your document, press Ctrl+’ and then the letter E. Uppercase E gives you É, and lowercase e gives you é. That makes sense because the ’ (apostrophe) is essentially the character you’re adding to the vowel.

Ctrl+’ followed by a D equals Ð (or ð).

Some Foreign-Language Characters
Prefix Key Characters Rendered
Ctrl+’ á é í ó ú ý
Ctrl+` à è ì ò ù
Ctrl+, ç
Ctrl+@ å
Ctrl+: ä ë ï ö ü
Ctrl+^ â ê î ô û
Ctrl+~ ã õ ñ
Ctrl+/ ø

Be sure to note the difference between the apostrophe (or tick) and the back tick, or accent grave. The apostrophe (’) is next to your keyboard’s Enter key. The back tick (`) is below the Esc key.

For the Ctrl+@, Ctrl+:, Ctrl+^, and Ctrl+~ key combinations, you also need to press the Shift key, which is required anyway to get the @, :, ^, or ~ symbols on your keyboard. Therefore, Ctrl+~ is really Ctrl+Shift+`.

The Word 2007 AutoCorrect feature has been trained to know certain special characters. For example, when you type café, Word automatically sticks that whoopty-doop over the e.