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How to type letter accents and special characters on a Mac

We’ll show you a couple of easy keyboard shortcuts to help out.

Quick Answer: One of the quickest ways to type letter accents on Mac is to hold the key of the character you wish to modify. A menu with available options should appear. From here, click the character you wish to use.

If you’ve ever had to type a word and couldn’t figure out how to add letter accents on Mac, you’re not alone.

Moments of uncertainty can interrupt your workflow and leave you searching for answers.

Luckily, typing letter accents and other special Mac characters is simple in macOS once you know how. And you have several viable options. Some are swift, while others take additional time.

Let’s discuss several ways to type special characters on a Mac.

Short on time? Jump ahead

How to type letter accents on Mac

Mac keyboard on purple background
Image: KnowTechie

READ MORE: How to type an en dash and em dash on Windows and Mac

One of the quickest ways to type letter accents is to hold the key of the character you wish to modify, and a menu with available options should appear.

For example, holding the e key brings up: è, é, ê, ë, ē, ė, and ę. You can either click the character you wish to use or press the corresponding number key.

Learning the various key combinations is worth the effort if you use letter accents a lot.

Once your fingers familiarize themselves with the appropriate actions, adding accents becomes a normal part of typing.

How to type accents on Mac using key combinations

  1. Hold Option and press the key that corresponds to the appropriate accent. For example, e=´, n=˜, u=¨, i=ˆ, and `=`
Macos text edit accent
Image: KnowTechie

2. Release Option and press the letter you want to accent

Letter accents on mac
Image: KnowTechie

You can only modify letters that normally have an accented version, which means you can’t go throwing a squiggly line over any old character.

With enough practice, accented letters soon flow onto the page like any other standard symbol.

Bonus Tip: Pressing Shift + Option + ? will type a ¿.

How to type special characters in macOS

If you’d prefer to see a complete list of accented letters and other special characters, the symbol viewer has the goods.

How to view emojis, accented letters, and other special characters in macOS

Click Edit > Emojis & Symbols or press the fn key Edit menu in macos

Click the Expand button if necessary How to add special symbols on mac

Select an option in the sidebar. Latin contains all of the accented letters Symbol options on macbook

Using key combinations may be the quickest way to drop an accent on a character, but the symbol viewer provides a comprehensive list of all available options.

Letter accents and special characters are yours to command

You now have the knowledge to accent letters and type special characters on Mac without interruption.

Whatever technique you choose—swift fingers, button presser, or constant clicker—your workflow should improve, and moments of idle head-scratching should reduce.

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Matt is an Australian writer with a degree in creative and critical writing. Prior to commencing his studies, he worked in tech support and gained valuable insights into technology and its users. He is also an editor and author coach at Dean Publishing.

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