For those of you who know a foreign language, you may find it very difficult to type in some languages because your keyboard lacks the characters common in that language. Some resort to entering in the character code directly. There is an easier way however.

Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X, all have the ability built in to enter in international characters from your standard US keyboard. Mac OS X requires no additional steps to do this (but you do need to know the key combinations), but Linux and Windows do in order to set up the "US International" keyboard layout.

The PDF document, Inputting International Characters, has detailed instructions on how to input international characters on a US keyboard under Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. It also walks you through all the steps in setting up the "US International" keyboard under Windows XP, complete with pictures.