4 Ways to Type Accented Letters in Mac
In our earlier article, we have explained the alt or option code shortcuts for Mac to insert various symbols. Sometimes, you will have trouble in typing accented letters using the default English keyboard. In most of the companies, you need to use the standard MacBook with English based keyboard. In such scenario, you can still survive with different shortcuts. Let us discuss various ways to type accented letters in Mac.
1. Press and Hold Special Letters Key
Apple has simplified way of entering the special letters both on Mac similar to iOS devices.
- Simply press and hold the vowels or any letter that has special or accented characters.
- Now you will see the popup showing all possible accented letters with numbers.
- Press the number to choose the letter or select the letter using trackpad gesture or mouse.
- For example, if you want to type accented a with macron like ā, press and hold a key and then press 8 to select ā.
- If you want capital letters, use shift key when pressing and holding the letter key.
- For example, press and hold shift and a keys and type 2 to make acute capital A like Á.
2. Alt Code Shortcuts for Accented Letters on Mac
There are also alt code shortcuts for Mac. Use one of the option keys on your Mac keyboard and follow the below table to type accented letters.
- Small letter example - press option or alt and e keys to make acute ´and then press a to produce small letter acute á.
- Capital letter example - press option or alt key and i keys to produce circumflex ˆ and then press shift + i to produce capital letter circumflex Î.
|Accent||Example||Small Letter||Capital Letter|
|Acute||á Á||[Option + E] Vowel||[Option + E] [Shift + Vowel]|
|Circumflex||â Â||[Option + I] Vowel||[Option + I] [Shift + Vowel]|
|Grave||à À||[Option + `] Vowel||[Option + `] [Shift + Vowel]|
|Umlaut||ë Ë||[Option + U] Vowel||[Option + U] [Shift + Vowel]|
|Cedilla||ç Ç||Option + C||Option + Shift + C|
|Eszett||ß||Option + S||Option + S|
3. Using Character Viewer
Some of the option or alt code shortcuts like "Option + Shift + ." for breve and "Option + shift + ," for macron will not work in most situations. Long pressing the letter will show the 8th option to type macron, however there are no ways to type breve. You can use Character Viewer tool to type all special characters including breve letters.
Press "Control + Command + Spacebar" keyboard shortcut keys to open Character Viewer tool which will look like below.
You can enter almost any special character using this tool. For accented letters, search under "Latin" categories or type "breve" in the search box to filter the relevant results. Simply click on the letter to insert in documents like Pages or Keynote.
4. Using Unicode Keyboard Layout
The last option is to use the Unicode hexadecimal values on your Mac to type accented letters. On Windows based computers, you can easily use decimal value of the unicode symbol along with alt key. However, you can use the alt code decimal values in Mac with the default keyboard. The solution is to add Unicode compatible keyboard input to type accented letters.
- Go to "Apple Menu > System Preferences..." and open "Keyboard" preferences.
- First ensure to enable "Show Input menu in menu bar" checkbox so that you can toggle the input source from the top menu bar.
- Click on the + button to add a new keyboard.
- Scroll down to the last "Others" option or search for "unicode" in the search box.
- Click "Add" button to add "Unicode Hex Input" keyboard to your Mac.
- Click on the "Input menu" in the top menu bar and change the keyboard to "Unicode Hex Input".
- Now you can directly type the accented letters with Unicode values. For example, alt or option + 0102 will produce the breve capital letter A like Ă. And option + 0103 will produce the small breve a letter like ă.
- Anytime, you can switch the keyboard input to ABC Extended to type normal characters.