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For the most part, Esperanto utilizes the standard Latinate character set. This means that the better fraction of its alphabet can be typed using your typical QWERTY keyboard. Unfortunately, you cannot type the entire alphabet using your normal keyset…There are a handful of straggler letters that are unique.
If you’ve been following this blog, you may have noticed the occasional “-x” in the middle of a word. Astute Esperantists will realize that there is no X in the Esperanto alphabet! I’ve been using what’s called x-coding, which you will often see in typed Esperanto documents. If you’re using a program like NotePad, where you cannot have characters outside of the English alphanumeric set, it is acceptable to use an “x” after an accented letter to indicate the accent. The e-texts on Project Gutenberg often do this, too! So, you’ll see…
Cx Gx Hx Jx Sx Ux
Where we cannot type the letter.
Some word processing programs have found a way around this problem. In OpenOffice, for example, there is a command under “Insert => Special Characters” that allows you to place Esperanto letters. It can be slow to constantly click through the menus to place those letters in the midst of a typing spree, but it results in authentic Esperanto characters!
If that does not suit your fancy, a free tool exists on the Internet called Esperantilo (-il-, you may remember, means “tool”). This program functions like an Esperanto word processor, complete with spell checking! Moreover, there is an option you can enable so that whenever you type an x-code letter, it automatically converts it into its Esperanto equivalent. Fast and effective!