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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.

imac pro on purple background
Image: KnowTechie

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 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 you can type letter accents and special characters on a Mac.

How to type letter accents in macOS

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 then either click the character you wish to use or press the corresponding number key.

If you use letter accents a lot, learning the various key combinations is worth the effort. Once your fingers familiarize themselves with the appropriate actions, adding accents becomes a normal part of typing.

Here’s how to type letter accents in macOS 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.

Here’s a bonus tip for anyone wanting to write in Español: 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 as well as other special characters, the symbol viewer has the goods.

Here’s how to view emojis, accented letters, and other special characters in macOS:

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

  2. Click the Expand button if necessary how to add special symbols on mac

  3. 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 containing all of the available options.

Letter accents and special characters are yours to command

You now have the knowledge needed to accent letters and type special characters 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.

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