Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. The Complete list of alt codes pdf key is held down while entering the digits on the numeric keypad. Often this is the best or only method many computer users know for entering non-ASCII characters. Originally on IBM PCs, the user could hold down the Alt key and type a decimal number on the keypad.
Applications reading keystrokes from the BIOS would behave according to what action they associate with that code. When Windows later transitioned to Unicode, there was a desire to extend this to allow entry of any Unicode code point. 256, or ignores any digits after the third. ANSI code pages prevent entry of some very common Latin accented letters. So a third method was developed to unambiguously enter Unicode. Unicode, so they all work. Third-party software can be run on Windows to replace the default keyboard handling to allow more possible ways of input, such as typing in number systems other than base 10.
Modern input methods for foreign languages often have much more user-friendly methods of choosing characters, such as picking them off a popup window or using mnemonic sequences of letters, however the Alt key combinations remain very popular and often the only scheme a user knows for entering letters that are not on their keyboard. Alt code may cause unexpected results in some applications, due to the controls used on the same key. The OEM Code Page setting changes what characters the numbers produce. The Alt key method does not work on Linux systems and there seems to be little interest in replicating it, due to it including the dated IBM PC character encoding as part of its definition. However, numeric entry of Unicode characters is possible and it is done by the application or the UI toolkit library. This entry method has been somewhat standardized though there are slight variations.
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