Typing an "at sign" (@)

The first time you encounter a Spanish computer keyboard, you are likely to limp along finding symbols characters that appear in different places (and different between Spanish keyboards made for Spain and those for Latin America) but the first time you need to enter an email address, you will probably come to a dead stop. That is because while you may find an @ on the keyboard, you don't just press the key or Shift plus the key.

The next problem you will have is not knowing the Spanish to say "at sign" making it close to impossible to ask. (The solution to that issue is, of course, to write one on a piece of paper which I remember doing in Alajuela, Costa Rica over 10 years ago.)

A good starting point for the answer is Wikipedia. I point to the Spanish page becuse it will tell you more of what you need to know. That includes:

  • The Spanish name of the symbol is arroba.
  • The word and symbol is used to signify a quarter of a quintal of weight. A qunital is 100 pounds so, for example, if you want to buy 25 lbs. of rice, that would be one arroba.

Back to the keyboard, you will usually find @ on the 2 key, typically to the right of 2. (Note that I have seen Spanish keyboards where the symbol is not printed on the keyboard.) The secret is that this symbol, the others that are printed to the right of the regular characters and some others that just aren't shown is what is called the Alt Gr key.

Alt Gr is the Alt key that appears to the right of space bar. The good news is that seem to always be marked at Alt Gr. You use it like the Shift key. For example, to type an @ you hold down the Alt Gr key and they hit the 2 key.

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I have a Spanish keyboard

pressing alt gr and then a vowel gives me an áéíóú accento.


in the ciber I use, ALT GR plus the 2 key gives me this odd character ☻ , which is not an at sign.

What does work for me is Holding down ALT GR while typing the 6 and then the 4 on the numeric pad, giving @ Be sure to use the digits on the numeric pad, not on the main keyboard itself.

Configuration error?

I assume that is using Windoze. Sounds like a configuration error to me. I have been told you can enter non-standard characters on Windoze by such sequences but, if the OS is correctly configured for the keyboard, what you see marked on the keyboard should obviously work.

The Toshiba laptop I bought in Costa Rica had a different Spanish keyboard. While @ worked, some of the other keys were not mapped correctly. I went through the configuration options and eventually found the one that matched what was market on my keyboard. It turned out to be Spanish as in Spain.

I am not sure how you do this on Windoze but on Linux (at least using KDE), you have a huge number of possibly keyboard configurations in the System Settings menu. If, for example, you are a good touch typist on an American English keyboard, you can change the keyboard map for USA and while the keytops won't have the right labels, the key positions will be as you would expect even if it is a Spanish keyboard.

Very Useful

This can be exasperating! Now solved and recorded.ZZT


I ran into it too.

character map

if you find you forget that method, as I do, you can also use the windows character map @START\ALL PROGRAMS\ACCESORIES\SYSTEMTOOLS.

Of course, this relys on the cyber having a real copy of windows or a knock-off that has a character map

1st Capt. Ron

(Title by Miskito Alan)