There are many Spanish keyboards to choose from, usually specific to individual countries. These are not recommended for non-native speakers. Non-native speakers will probably be more comfortable with the standard International Keyboard.
If you do prefer to use a keyboard layout that is specific to a particular Spanish-speaking country (in order to get used to it before going there, for example), then please refer to the general instructions for Enabling Foreign Languages on your Computer. Be sure to come back here once you are finished!
See my page on Visual Keyboards for using the built-in utilities of Windows and Macintosh. They are handy visual guides when you are learning to type to the keyboard layouts installed on your computer.Windows
Once the appropriate keyboards are activated, Spanish characters can easily be typed in Word documents. However, if you want to spellcheck documents typed in Spanish you will need to install the appropriate proofing tools. Tools for Spanish and French must be installed from the Microsoft Word installation CD.
With Spanish proofing tools installed, you can then spell check your document.
For every document, you must first tell Word that you are typing in Spanish:
- Go to the Edit menu > Select all
- Go to Tools > Set Language > Spanish (Traditional Sort)
Now you can spell check by clicking the Spell Check icon in the toolbar or going to Tools > Spelling and Grammar:Spanish (if you still see English on this menu, you must set the language again).
Office for Macintosh automatically installs many of the necessary foreign language proofing tools, including Spanish, so simply follow the instructions provided for Windows to set your text to Spanish. Once the language is set, Word should automatically use the appropriate dictionary when you run a spell check just as you would for English.
Google (is there really anything else?), has some built-in language preference tools that allow you to search in both English and Spanish automatically.
Go to the main Google page and click on Preferences. Here you can set your preferred interface language, and any languages that you want to include in your searches. You can also configure Google's SafeSearch settings (for blocking explicit content), the number of results per page and whether or not to display results in a new window.
These preferences are done via cookies, meaning that you'll need to change these preferences in every browser you use (and on every computer).
Spanish works extremely well in Moodle. I have found no areas in which it is a problem. If you encounter problems using Spanish in Moodle, please report them to me immediately.
Mozilla's e-mail program Thunderbird offers options for working in many different languages, including Spanish.
If the appropriate keyboards are installed for windows, Thunderbird automatically displays Spanish accents in e-mails you send or receive. However, you will need to download proofing tools from Mozilla if you want to spellcheck any e-mails typed in Spanish (the downloads page provides good instructions for installation.) Once the Spanish tool is installed, you will be able to choose Spanish from the Language drop-down menu when you check spelling in Thunderbird.
The second option is to download a full version of the program, completely in Spanish (this includes all the menus, buttons, the installer, etc.) The installer can be downloaded from the Thunderbird website.
Mac Mail (included with OSX) is the best choice of e-mail programs for Mac users. As with Thunderbird, it will support input in any language or keyboard already set up on the computer. Mac Mail comes ready with several dictionaries, so it isn't necessary to install a Spanish dictionary if you need to check spelling in e-mails. Simply check spelling as usual, and choose Spanish from the Dictionary drop-down menu in the check spelling window that pops up.
Trillian, a chat program for Windows is the best option for chatting in foreign languages. Trillian supports unicode and will allow Spanish accent characters to be typed via the international keyboard or other windows keyboard or character set.
For Macintosh the program iChat (included with OSX) is the way to go.