Central European: June 2007 Archives

Getting the ř of Dvořák

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If you've been visiting accent code pages looking for the hachek R (ř) found in the famous Czech's composer's name...chances are it's not there. That's because the tables only cover those accented letters found in Western European languages, or in Unicode terms, accented characters with code points #0-255. You can see the Penn State Encoding Tutorial if you want the full details.

If the code point is over 255, you have to switch to a new method of inputting things. As it happens the "exotic" accented letters in Central European languages like Czech, Polish, Hungarian, Croatian, Serbian and Slovenian are all over 255. So this means...

Windows

If you're just typing in a few names like Dvořák, then the Windows Character Map will let you insert the characters above 255. The ř character is in the Latin Extended A range. Note: There are numeric ALT codes, but they don't work in all applications.

On the other hand, if you're typing text in Czech or other Central European language, then it's probably better to activate the appropriate language keyboard which lets you type the accented letters directly from the keyboard.

Macintosh

I personally recommend the Extended Keyboard because you can type a wider range of accented letters. I wish Windows had one of these... (maybe on Vista?)

However, you could also activate the Character Palette or the specific language keyboard depending on your needs.

As you can see, not all Unicode code points are equal (especially in the U.S. market).

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About The Blog

I am a Penn State technology specialist with a degree in linguistics and have maintained the Penn State Computing with Accents page since 2000.

See Elizabeth Pyatt's Homepage (ejp10@psu.edu) for a profile.

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