Developer’s problem: Windows 7 – apostrophe does not work

I found something strange. New default installation of Windows 7 had quite weird behavior of keyboard. Apostrophe, quotation mark, tilde didn’t work properly. I had to press apostrophe and then space bar to write single apostrophe.

The reason is that keyboard layout United States – International treats those keys as special. Here is quote from Microsoft support web page:

When you press the APOSTROPHE ( ‘ ) key, QUOTATION MARK ( ” ) key, ACCENT GRAVE ( ` ) key, TILDE ( ~ ) key, or ACCENT CIRCUMFLEX,. also called the CARET key, ( ^ ) key, nothing is displayed on the screen until you press a second key:

  • If you press one of the letters designated as eligible to receive an accent mark, the accented version of the letter appears.
  • If you press the key of a character that is not eligible to receive an accent mark, two separate characters appear.
  • If you press the space bar, the symbol (apostrophe, quotation mark, accent grave, tilde, accent circumflex or caret) is displayed by itself.

The following table shows the keyboard combinations that you can use to create the desired character.

Solution for developers and sys-admins is quite easy. Change keyboard layout from United States-International to something different. E.g. US.

15 Replies to “Developer’s problem: Windows 7 – apostrophe does not work

  1. Thanks You a lot for the US-International W7 keyboard hint, I was growing angry about it …

  2. Unfortunately it has not fixed my machine in that the keys are still not functioning when first pressed.

    Is there anything else I can try?

    really need help on this,


  3. @levchamp

    Might need a restart? I know i had everything switched and it wasn’t working.

    Restarted and boom – problem solved

  4. You are the best! This problem was irritating me and I was about to get tech support which would have been a huge hassle. Thanks a bunch!

  5. Thank you very much. This has been bugging me from the day i got my Ultrabook. I can now type ” without a space – what a relief!

  6. Thank you so much for this, i have a US layout keyboard but i live in the UK, this problem was driving me insane for nearly 2 years.

    Can’t thank you enough.

  7. Thank you so much! I’ve been dealing with this on my Inspiron 15r for a year! Figured it wasn’t that big a deal to get fixed.

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