If your computer is intended for the US market, and does not already have an actual foreign language keyboard, I would strongly recommend that you install the "United States-International" keyboard layout and NOT a Swedish, Spanish, or other keyboard layout.
I work in English and Spanish every day, and since 1996 I have used the United States keyboard set to the "United States-International" layout. I have installed this on other computers for at least a dozen other people. Each one has told me that it is the best way to work both in English and many other European languages using the US standard keyboard.
This layout is available in Win 95, 98, Me, 2000, and XP. The following installation steps apply to Windows 2000, but the others are similar.
Result: Almost all characters in major western European alphabets are available, in one of two ways (sometimes both):
First, certain keys become "prefix" or "dead" keys:
This will be confusing at first, because nothing is visible on screen after the first key press. The combination character is not displayed until the second key is pressed to complete the sequence. If the subsequent character does not represent a proper "accented" character, then the prefix sequence is aborted and two consecutive ordinary characters are obtained. For example: since there is no letter p with a tilde ~ on top, the key sequence ~ p will produce the separate characters ~p.
Second, the behavior of the right-hand "Alt" key is modified. Hold the Right Alt key and press other letter or number keys to obtain a wide variety of other letters and accents. Some of them are duplicates of the "prefix" combinations, others are new. I don't use this much, but here are some of the letters you can obtain (the last ones use the Shift key):
This is the only one that I can think of, in 10 years):
For more information (from Microsoft.com)
Other useful references:
Last revised: December 13, 2006
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