How to Type Characters With Acute Accent Marks

It's easy to use accented letters on Mac and Windows computers

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Acute accent marks, also called diacritical marks, slant to the right over the tops of certain vowels and consonants. They are used in Latin, Cyrillic, and Greek languages. English has incorporated countless Spanish, Italian, French, and Portuguese words, and many of their vowels take the accent mark. For example, the French and Spanish word café is a commonly used word in English, and the accent mark is often included.

Acute accent marks are found on both uppercase and lowercase vowels: Á, á, É, é, Í, í, Ó, ó, Ú, ú, Ý, and ý.

Different Strokes for Different Platforms

Several keyboard shortcuts can render acute accents on your keyboard, depending on your platform. Keep in mind that some programs and computer platforms might have special keystrokes for creating acute accent marks.

How to Accent Letters on Mac Computers

Enter characters with accent marks on a Mac using the Accent menu or the Emoji & Symbols menu:

  • Accent Menu: On a Mac computer keyboard, hold down the letter you want to add an accent to for several seconds, after which a small menu pops up with different accent options for that letter. Each option for a particular letter appears with a number underneath it. Either press the number key for the version you want to use on the keyboard or use your mouse to click on the mark or its number in the accent menu. For an accented a, press and hold the a key while you tap the number 2 on the keyboard or click on the number 2 in the accent menu with your mouse. For the uppercase version of the character, press the Shift key before you type and hold the letter to be accented. The symbol you select appears in your document.
Diacritical marks
Diacritical marks.
  • Emoji & Symbols Menu: To use the Emoji & Symbols Menu (called Special Characters in older versions of the software), position your cursor in a place where you can enter text. Click the Edit menu at the top of the screen and select Emoji & Symbols. Expand the menu by clicking the icon in the upper right corner. Select a symbol category from the left panel or enter a symbol name in the search field and locate the symbol you want in the central window. Additional variations of that particular symbol appear in the right panel. Double-click on any symbol to place it where your mouse was positioned. For example, if you type "accent" in the search field, you'll see characters and variations of all types of accents.

Accented Letters on Windows PCs

On Windows PCs, enable Num Lock. Hold down the Alt key while typing the appropriate number code on the numeric keypad to create characters with acute accent marks.

Numeric codes for uppercase letters with acute accent marks include:

  • Alt+0193 = Á
  • Alt+0201 = É
  • Alt+0205 = Í
  • Alt+0211 = Ó
  • Alt+0218 = Ú
  • Alt+0221 = Ý

Numeric codes for lowercase letters with acute accent marks are:

  • Alt+0225 = á
  • Alt+0233 = é
  • Alt+0237 = í
  • Alt+0243 = ó
  • Alt+0250 = ú
  • Alt+0253 = ý

The row of numbers at the top of the keyboard, above the alphabet, will not work for numeric codes. If you do not have a numeric keypad on the right side of your keyboard, you need to copy and paste the accented letter.

Make Accent Marks Without a Number Pad on a PC

If you do not have a numeric keypad on the right side of your Windows PC keyboard, you can copy and paste accented characters from the character map. For Windows, locate the character map by clicking Start > All Programs > Accessories System Tools > Character Map. You can also click on Windows and type character map in the search box. Select the letter you need, copy it, and paste it into the document you are working on.

HTML and Accents

Computer programmers use HTML (HyperText Markup Language) as the basic computer language to build web pages. HTML is used to create almost every page you see on the web. It describes and defines the content of a web page.

In HTML, you render characters with acute accent marks by typing the & (ampersand symbol), then the letter (A, e, U, and so on), then the word acute, then ; (a semicolon) without any spaces between them. For example, in HTML, type é for an e with an accent mark.

In HTML, the characters with acute accent marks may appear smaller than surrounding text. Enlarge the font for just those characters if this is an important issue.

Adding Accents on Mobile Devices

If you are typing on the virtual keyboard of an iOS or Android mobile device, hold your finger on the letter that you want to accent. You'll see a pop-up of all the available diacritical marks for that letter. Slide your finger up to the accented letter and release to place it in a document or text message.

Other Diacritical Marks

The acute accent isn't the only diacritical mark you may occasionally need. Other diacritical marks are obtained in the same way as the acute accent. They include the grave accent (`); the cedilla, which is attached to the bottom of a letter such as in the word façade; the circumflex accent (ˆ); and the umlaut, which is two dots above a letter, such as in coöperate, among others. The tilde usually has its own key on the keyboard. On virtual keyboards, the tilde is accessible on the same pop-up as the acute accent.