Type Accents: Mac

Typing French accents
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Writing in French

Mac users have several options for typing accents.

Press and select

Hold down a letter and a popup appears with all the applicable accents. Each accent is numbered. For example for the letter e:

  1. è
  2. é
  3. ê

This method also works to type accents on iPhone and iPad.

Special character palette

Keep the special character palette on your desktop, ready to use whenever you need it.

How to open the special character palette

  1. Menubar: click edit
  2. Click Special characters
  3. View pulldown menu: select Roman
  4. Select the Accented Latin character palette
  5. Keep the palette open for use in any application

How to use the special character palette

  1. Position your cursor where you want the accented character
  2. Click it in the palette
  3. Click Insert

Option Key

To type accents and other French characters, hold the option key while typing the key(s) in the third column, then release everything and press the key in the last column (if any). For example, to type é, hold option key while typing e, then release both and type e again.

    Hold option key and Then type
Accent aigu é e e
Accent grave à, è, ù ` a, e, u
Cédille ç c  
Circonflexe â, ê, î, ô, û i a, e, i, o, u
Tréma ë, ï, ü u e, i, u
Ligature œ q  
shift and \
Euro symbol shift and 2  

To type accents on capital letters, add shift to the final step. For example, to type É, hold option key and e, then shift key and e.


KeyCaps is available on OS9 and below. It’s similar to the option key method, except that when you hold the option key, a little keyboard appears with the accents so that you can click them.

How to enable KeyCaps

  1. Click the apple
  2. Open KeyCaps: a keyboard will appear on the desktop
  3. Hold down option key: accents will appear
  4. For example, to type â, hold option, click ^, type a.

 À noter

These instructions were provided to me by Mac users. If there are mistakes or omissions, please let me know.

 Don’t use Mac?

Type French accents in any operating system

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French accents

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