How to Type Accented Letters in macOS

Many languages use accented letters to give different pronunciation and meaning. Users that also type in other languages will most likely use these letters in their words. Most specialized keyboards will have these accent mark keys on their keyboard to type them. However, fonts contain many characters that don’t appear on Apple keyboards and the same case is for accented letters. In this article, we will teach you several different methods about how to type accented letters in macOS.

Symbols and accented letters

What are Accent Marks?

Accents (or diacritical marks) are small glyphs used over letters (commonly vowels) to help emphasize the pronunciation of letters. Their use in English words can be limited but they are frequently used in Spanish, Italian, French, German, Portuguese and several other European languages.


Method 1: Long Pressing Key to Show the List of Accented Letters

Most of the new macOS versions allow users to easily type accented letters by pressing and holding the key until you see a list. This is the most common method that you can use to type accented letters. Most alphabet keys will offer symbols too and some will offer nothing.

Note: This feature mostly works in the default applications of macOS.

  1. Hold Command key and Press Space to open Spotlight, then type TextEdit and Enter
  2. Now when you are typing, just hold the alphabet key and the list of accented letters related to that key will appear.
    Press and hold the key to see the list of symbols or accents
  3. You can click any letter with a mouse or just use number keys for quick access.

Method 2: Enabling and Using the Keyboard Viewer on macOS

For the default keyboard, you need to use shortcut keys to use accents for letters. Enabling the Keyboard Viewer will let you experience about which mark is located on which key. Also, you can notice more options by holding some keys on the keyboard as shown below:

  1. Click on the Apple logo in the menu bar at the top and choose System Preferences in the contextual menu, then click on Keyboard.
    Opening Keyboard settings in System Preferences
  2. In the keyboard tab, tick the “Show keyboard and emoji viewers in menu bar” option
    Enabling Show keyboard and emoji viewers
  3. An icon will appear in the top menu bar near date & time, click that and choose Show Keyboard Viewer

    Show keyboard viewer
  4. A keyboard will appear on the screen, now you can hold the Option key to view all the available accents and symbols on the keyboard
    Holding option key on the keyboard
  5. You can also hold the Option and Shift key together to view more of the symbols that you will need.

Method 3: Changing the Language for macOS

In this method, you can add another language for your macOS through Language & Region option. This can be useful to have a specialized keyboard for that specific language. And you can easily toggle the languages by just clicking the flag icon in the menu bar. To add a language follow the steps below:

  1. Click on the Apple logo in the menu bar at the top and choose System Preferences in the contextual menu, then click on Language & Region
  2. Now click on Keyboard Preferences at the bottom, then tick the “Show input menu in menu bar
  3. Click on the Plus icon and search for the language that you want to add, in our case Spanish ISO
  4. Select the language and click on Add, then close the window
    Adding Spanish ISO Language
  5. Now you can click the flag icon near date & time on the menu bar and toggle to the language you added.
    Toggle language through flag icon
  6. You can also show keyboard viewer from method 2 to see the changes. Holding Shift and Option key will give you more symbols as shown below:
    Holding key will change the keys of the keyboard
Kevin Arrows
Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.

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How to Type Accented Letters in macOS

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