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How to type these special letters from European languages in latex? ä, é, and L'?

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4 Answers

Save your file as UTF-8 and put

\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc}
\usepackage[T1]{fontenc}
\usepackage{lmodern} % load a font with all the characters

in your preamble.

Then you can just type the characters normally into your source file.

Or, use XeLaTeX or LuaLaTeX which accepts UTF-8 input natively. In that case you need to add

\usepackage{fontspec}

to your preamble.

If your text editor doesn't support UTF-8 encoded files, you should probably get another editor. But if you're stuck with one, you can also use:

\usepackage[latin1]{inputenc} % for PCs
\usepackage[applemac]{inputenc} % for Macs

and save the files in the default encoding for your machine.

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Good advice. It's a good idea to load lmodern after switching the font encoding so that you get a font with all the extra accents and letters in it. –  Will Robertson Jan 13 '11 at 7:29
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You can type texdoc lshort in a command line (Command Prompt on Windows, Terminal on Linux/Mac OS X). Then have a look at Table 2.2 in Section 2.4.8. I'll quote it for you here. alt text

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You can also type them directly and use the inputenc package, which makes your source a lot more readable. –  Alan Munn Jan 13 '11 at 3:25
    
Do you know how to type "L'" as well? Thanks. I typed "L'" and "L\'", but both does ways do not display "L'" when it generates the pdf file. –  user2918 Jan 13 '11 at 3:28
    
Assuming you typed "\L" and not "L\", if you're still not getting the character its because of the font encoding or the font itself (which may not have the glyph.) It should work with a standard TeX distribution. Did you try my suggestion too? –  Alan Munn Jan 13 '11 at 4:24
    
THe problem with using character modification is that spelling no longer works properly....or maybe there's a way around that too...let me ask a new questions. –  Yossi Farjoun Jan 13 '11 at 11:57
2  
The "L'" should work with \usepackage[T1]{fontenc} and \v L –  Ulrike Fischer Jan 13 '11 at 13:00
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You can use Detexify. Just draw your symbol, and it will figure out what you need to type! Much easier than plowing through endless symbol tables :).

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The package selinput was not yet mentioned. Because I found good answers regarding its use on other places in TeX.SX let me first link to them:

The hardest part can be to find out, what has actually to be written in \SelectInputMappings, read the package documentation for this. You are not forced to add every letter not in ASCII range, but you have to add some distinctive characters for your language. Below I added the letters from question.

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage[T1]{fontenc}
\usepackage{selinput}
\SelectInputMappings{%
  adieresis={ä},
  eacute={é},
  Lcaron={Ľ},
}

\begin{document}
äéĽ
\end{document}
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