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  1. #1
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    Can't type @ symbol in Chrome

    Hi. Just recently (no particular system changes or new installations), I find I cannot type the @ symbol, or any of the others requiring AltGr prefix, e.g. pound sign, u with a grave accent, square brackets, etc. But this only happens in Chrome, which is why I'm posting the query here. Only workaround is to switch to a different browser, which is a hassle when you have a whole history of relevant tabs you need to keep, or go to Character Map, select and save it, and return to Chrome and paste in. Problem seems to be linked to use of the AltGr key. My kbd is Italian, and it can't be the physical keyboard because I can type all of these characters in word processor, spreadsheet, etc.

    Grateful for any advice.
    Jef

  2. #2
    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    Here are two possible solutions for you:

    1. "Combination" characters -- Some programs (such as Word) allow you to build a "combination" character, that is, two characters in one, put together, to make one new character, such as an "a" with an accent. In Word, you hold down CTRL while typing a single quote; you then let go of CTRL and type "a". The resulting character displayed on the screen is an "a" with an accent. I'm not sure if Chrome allows you to do "combination" characters, but you could try.

    2. Perhaps Chrome, Windows, or your keyboard, allows you to define some keys. If so, you could map them to characters in the Character Map.

    The following isn't really a solution, but it might make your life easier until you find a solution:
    I used to type a lot in Spanish, with the accented and other multilingual characters. To make things easier, I would copy all of the multilingual characters I needed to a Word document. I would then copy them from there as needed, and paste them into my document. That was easier than going to the Character Map each time I needed a multilingual character.

  3. #3
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    Have you tried using CTRL+ALT instead ?

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    Thanks for input.
    1. Haven't found anywhere in Chrome settings to be able to build a combination character like Mr Jim suggested. Nor could I find any way of remapping keys from the keyboard. Mr Jim's third suggestion is great for word processing - I've used it in the past for writing in German, with its four extra letters. As Mr Jim says, much easier (and faster) than going to Character Map every time. But not in a browser!
    2, Thanks also to Sudo15 - no, I hadn't thought of that, but I tried your suggestion. Unfortunately no.

  5. #5
    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    You might try Unicode characters, which you can input from the keyboard. Here and here is more information.

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    Thanks again, Mr Jim - the (Alt+numerical keypad) trick doesn't seem to work for these particular characters, although it does for more frequently used ones (but then of course, for those I don't need it!).
    This in any case wouldn't be a solution, just a temporary workaround while I look for a permanent solution, getting things back the way they were up to a week or so ago.
    But until I fix that, I'll explore your Unicode tip some more (tomorrow, as it's now late here in Europe), and maybe I can make that work until something more permanent crops up.

  7. #7
    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    You could, of course, just roll your own 'special character inserter'. I've attached an AutoHotkey script that will do the job for you.

    I've commented each line to explain exactly what happens.

    To use, download and install AutoHotkey from here first.

    Next, save the attached file and rename it from special_chars.txt to special_chars.ahk. (The forum doesn't allow attachment of scripts.)

    Double click on the special_chars.ahk file to run the script.

    Now, whenever you want to insert a special character into Chrome (or anywhere, really), just click on your mouse's scroll wheel. The following dialog will appear:
    _chars.png
    Click to enlarge

    Click on a character in the list. The dialog will disappear and the selected character will be inserted at the cursor point. To exit the app, click the scroll wheel to make the dialog appear then press the Escape button top-left on your keyboard. Alternatively, right-click on the script's icon in the Notification Area (bottom right of the screen, by the clock) and choose Exit. The icon's a white H on a square green background.

    Hope this helps...
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by Rick Corbett; 2016-02-11 at 18:16. Reason: Attached script as TXT file

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    Many thanks, Rick: I'll experiment with that today and report back.

    Of course, no offence intended, but it's still a workaround, albeit the least clunky. My final aim is to restore the "normal" situation I had before this glitch occurred. But until I can do that, this seems to be the most elegant way to be able to continue working. I suspect I may need to abandon my ingrained habit of holding down the central mouse wheel and pushing up or down for a fast scroll, but that's no great sacrifice.

  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsw1942 View Post
    Many thanks, Rick: I'll experiment with that today and report back.
    Right after installing it, I played with it and it worked fine. Then I tried to use it on Chrome, but no luck. So I went back to Word - still no luck: clicking the central mouse wheel just brings up the usual fast scroll, so I assume I've closed it. I've also tried launching it out of the .exe items in the installation folder C:\Programs\Autohotkey, but they all bring up only the help dialog.

    What am I doing wrong?

  11. #10
    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    Perhaps there was an update to Chrome which interferes with this feature. You might look back to see what update got installed at about the time the problem started happening, and uninstall that update.

    Possibly (but not likely) there was a Windows update installed about that time which somehow caused the problem.

  12. #11
    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsw1942
    Right after installing it, I played with it and it worked fine. Then I tried to use it on Chrome, but no luck. So I went back to Word - still no luck: clicking the central mouse wheel just brings up the usual fast scroll, so I assume I've closed it.
    Can you see its icon in the Notification Area? If not then the app isn't running.
    _ahk_icon.png
    Click to enlarge

    If you right-click on the taskbar and start Task Manager, can you see one or more AutoHotkey.exe (or AutoHotkey.exe *32) processes? If not then the app isn't running. If you have more than one then close all instances and re-run the special_chars.ahk file.

    Let me know what happens.

  13. #12
    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    I've just double-checked and used it in both Word 2010 and an online Notepad running in Google Chrome, so I know it works with both.

    _chars01.png _chars02.png

    I suspect I may need to abandon my ingrained habit of holding down the central mouse wheel...
    The problem is that I had to choose an input method that didn't take away the focus from whatever window you're currently working in. I'll have a look and see if I can use a double-right-click instead of clicking the scroll wheel but, I quite agree, it's only a workaround. Do you have a Restore Point a bit earlier than when the 'glitch' happened?

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    I think I've made some progress here.

    1. You're right - AHK wasn't running at all before. So I've made a desktop shortcut to special-chars.ahk to launch it whenever needed, and it now doesn't close again after use. (I'll not add it to startup yet as I don't need it often enough to justify the permanent overhead.)

    2. It now works fine in any app which allows keyboard input, and even on the bareass desktop.

    3. But it won't work in Chrome, which is my default browser (but works in iE). Or rather, it works, but just isn't visible. Looking closer, I now notice that I seem to have Chrome opening in Chrome. When I open a page in the browser, it looks like Screenshot 14 (the light one), and if I close that, I then still have Screenshot 15 open (the dark one). When I trigger AHK in Chrome with the central mouse wheel and then return to the desktop, the AHK dialog has been opened and is waiting there for me on the desktop, but hadn't been visible under Chrome.

    4. So I assume this is a problem of focus - is that right?

    PS: this is a wonderful toy. I'll now be able to use every time I write in German, which needs the and characters - great!
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    If you are able to, you can use the US International keyboard, where a sequential press of, for example, <"> and <u> gives you <>, <'> + <e> gives you <>, and so on.

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    Red face

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnFleming View Post
    If you are able to, you can use the US International keyboard...
    Thanks for the suggestion, John, but I'm too old to learn to type all over again!

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