Shortcuts for french accents on qwerty keyboards?

Are there shortcuts for french accents in libreoffice writer when using qwerty keyboards?

EDIT: the language keyboard I use is “EN Anglais (Etats-Unis)”, at least this is what I can see in the little icone in the bottom task bar, OS is Windows 7.

EDIT2: I reformulate my question: in Writer tools->personal settings (personaliser in french)->keyboard, it seems one can create shortcuts. I just can’t find the way to create a shortcut for accents (or letters with accents). Is there a way to do that?

Any solution depends on the operating system, and is thus somewhat unrelated to LO, but a fairly generic one is to use the US International keyboard layout. This allows dead (combining) key combinations to be made e.g.,

  • ` + e = è (grave / backtick and then e)
  • ’ + e = é (single quotation mark then e)
  • ^ + e = ê (circumflex then e)

To obtain the first mark in isolation, follow it with space (or any non-combining character) e.g.,

  • ^ + space = ^

EDIT: The instructions for obtaining this keyboard layout under Windows XP, Vista, and 7 can be found here.

thank you too oweng. I was not aware of the “EN Anglais (Etat-Unis) International” layout and its difference with “EN Anglais (Etat-Unis)”. There are such subtilities!

See also: Accent marks?

You do not say what language keyboard you are using. For example, I am using a UK international QWERTY keyboard on Ubuntu 12.04. This has an Alt Gr key on the right side of the space bar. To enter French characters such as éáç I hold the Alt Gr and then eac whatever program I am running. However this is a system question as the solution is independent of the application you are running.

thank you petermau. I did try this combination with Alt Gr but it does not work. In LO writer, Alt Gr + e does not write anything but opens the LO help menu. The language keyboard I use is “EN Anglais (Etats-Unis)”, at least this is what I can see in the little icone in the bottom bar (under windows 7).

The base EN Anglais (Etat-Unis) qwerty does not support the Western European accents. You need to define the keyboard as EN Anglais (Etat-Unis) International to add the accents. This is a Windows setup requirement. My American qwerty keyboard and my English qwerty keyboard and my French French and my Swiss French all work without a problem with LibreOffice under Ubuntu, Linux Mint and Windows XP.

thank you very much petermau, it works. I was not aware of the “EN Anglais (Etat-Unis) International” option.

I use the Compose Special Characters extension on a daily basis. It is an OpenOffice extension, but it works flawlessly in the current LibO Writer release (I’m using 4.2.2.1 as this answer is posted). It has been discussed on Ask LibO before.

(Platform(s) for me are Ubuntu and Mint, btw.)

Thank you David. Actually I would prefer not to use macros (I just don’t know how to use them) and was just wondering if the same sort of shortcut exists as in Word, where typing CTRL+’ followed by e results in è.

thank you. I already tried this but it does not work, what I get is:
'+e = 'e
How do I get the US International keyboard layout? (I’m on windows 7)

Please use the “add a comment” link for further queries related to answers. I have update my answer to include a Windows link.

thank you oweng. Actually I would prefer not to change the keyboard layout (because it will change other things) nor to use macros (I just don’t know how to use them), and was just wondering if the same sort of shortcult exists as in Word, where typing CTRL+’ followed by e results in è. The language keyboard I use is “EN Anglais (Etats-Unis)”, at least this is what I can see in the little icone in the bottom bar.

There is also a tool called keyxpat that can help you, under any windows software. It attaches the characters you want on the key you want, so there is no other keys to type at the same time. For french for example, all chars é, è, ê, ë are all on the same E key. To choose one, keyxpat uses a metronome (you chose the period in ms) and you release the E key when necessary to get the right accent. This is straightforward and unobtrusive, an it allows you to type quickly.

Disclaimer: I’m the author of this tool. I did it for myself first because I need to write in french on a US qwerty keyboard all the time.