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Many languages use accents and diacritical marks to change the tone of a letter or vowel. Similarly, you may find it helpful to know how to type accents and diacritical marks on your Mac using the keyboard. This should be especially useful for users who also write or are writing in Spanish, Portuguese, French and Greek, but apparently this also applies to many other Latin scripts.
To type most accents, your Mac either uses a continuous keystroke, or you can use the option / alt key and another edit key to get an accent or accent for the letter you want. Generally, you either press a letter as an accent or hold down the edit keys. Then release the keys and then type the letter you want to highlight. It may sound a little confusing, but if you try it for yourself, you’ll see how it works, it’s pretty easy once you get it.
How to quickly write accents on a Mac
Newer versions of Mac OS make it easy for users to type accented letters and diacritical marks using a single keypress. For example, if you press and hold the “e” key, a pop-up window will appear when you hold down the key for a few moments to show which Accents are available for that letter or character.
- Press and hold the highlighted letter, keep holding the letter until a menu with characters appears
- Select the accent of the character with the mouse or press the number below the accent in the menu
To exit the Mac keyboard accent menu, press ESCAPE.
This quick-access Accent panel is reminiscent of Mac’s fast Emoji writing feature, as it can be accessed from anywhere you can type text, be it Pages, Microsoft Office, TextEdit, a web browser and Facebook, Twitter, or just about anywhere else I’d type.
If this accent submenu feature isn’t available to you, it’s probably because you either have a fairly old version of the system software, or you may have turned off the highlight menu to favor key repeat. You need to change this to restore the ability.
If you prefer all possible accents and accents before you, the best solution is to use the special character viewer in Mac OS as described here, which allows you to browse all the highlighted Latin characters and other special characters available.
Typing diacritical marks and accents on a Mac keyboard with the keyboard
If you do not want to use the accent menu option, you can also use highlight code key combinations. We display the character and then show how the character is highlighted with the character using the keystrokes required on the Mac.
Keep in mind that the OPTION key is also the ALT key on a Mac keyboard, it’s the same key even if the entries are missing an option or alt.
- ó – Acute: Press and hold OPTION, then press “e”, then enter the letter you want to highlight, such as é
- ò – Grave: Hold down the OPTION key and then press “ ”, then type the letter as an accent, such as ù
- ô – Circumflex: Hold down OPTION and then press “i”, then press a letter such as ô
- ñ – Hold down OPTION, then press n, then type a letter such as ñ
- ö – Trema: Hold down the OPTION key and then press “u”, then type a letter such as ë
- ç – Cedilla: Hold down OPTION, then press “c”, such as ç or Ç
- ø – Hold down OPTION and then press “o”, such as ø or Ø
- å Å – Hold down OPTION and then press “a”, such as å or Å
- Æ – AE Ligature: Hold down OPTION, then press “” like æ Æ
- œ – OE Ligature: Hold down OPTION, then press q, such as œ or Œ
- ¿- Hold down OPTION and SHIFT, then press “?” Like
- ¡- Hold down OPTION and then press “1” as ¡
As mentioned earlier, another option is to use the special character viewer on your Mac to see all the possible options and select a particular accent or special character directly.
Do you know another method for writing accents on a Mac? Let us know in the comments!
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