I speak Italian, and sometimes I send messages to friend and family in Italy, using email, Skype, or Facebook.
In Word, there are several ways to insert the accents and symbols used in other languages. These include using Insert > Symbol, looking up the extended ASCII number for the accented character and typing on the numeric keyboard while holding the Alt key. However, there is an easier way.
Italian uses grave (à,è ) and acute (á,é) accents, so I'll focus on those. To insert these accents, locate the accent keys on your keyboard. On a QWERTY keyboard, the grave accent is right above the tab key, and the acute accent is right before the Enter key.
To insert them into a Microsoft Word document, press the Control key and the appropriate accent key together, followed by the vowel. That's all there is to it.
This method will also work for the tilde (~) and circumflex (^) accents used in French and Spanish, since they are represented on the QWERTY keyboard. For other accents, you may have to resort to one of the other methods.