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HP PCs - Typing alternate characters from your keyboard in Windows

This document describes how to type an alternate character on your keyboard and how to change the layout of your keyboard by language. This feature is used to type characters such as "É" and "€." On some international keyboards, the alternate character of a key is found in the upper- or lower-right corner of some keys.

Alternate character symbols on keyboard keys

Typing the alternate character on a key

Use the alt key to type the alternate character for a key.

  1. To type the alternate character for a key, press it and the right alt key simultaneously. For example, type alt + e to type € on a French or German keyboard.


    The right alt key might be printed as alt gr or alt car, depending on your location.

Different keyboard layouts have different alternate characters. Examine your keyboard to see what alternate characters are available.

Right alt key (English keyboard)

Switching between character sets

You might have multiple languages or keyboard language layouts available on your computer. Follow these steps to check the current keyboard language layout and change the layout if necessary.

  1. On the taskbar, select the keyboard language icon to check the keyboard language.

    • If the language is correct, but you cannot type the correct alternate character, continue to the next step.

    • If the language is not correct, select the correct language, and then try typing the alternate key again.

    • If the correct language is not listed, see Changing the keyboard layout.

      Change the keyboard language
  2. Select the keyboard icon to switch between keyboard layouts for that language.

    Switch keyboard language layout

Change the keyboard layout

In some cases, the keyboard language is correct, but the layout set in the Control Panel does not match the physical layout. Choose one of these options to add a language option or alternate layout for the keyboard.


Some alternate character options might not be available.

  • Press and hold the Windows key , and then repeatedly press the spacebar to cycle through all your installed keyboards.

  • Select the language abbreviation on the far right of the taskbar, and then choose the language or input method to use.


If neither option has any effect, you might need to add a keyboard language.