How to Type Characters With Acute Accent Marks on Mac and PC

Use accented letters on Mac and Windows computers

What to Know

  • Mac: Long press the letter, then select the corresponding number or click the mark or number in the accent menu.
  • Windows: Choose Num Lock, then press Alt + number code. If you don't have a number pad, copy and paste the accented letter.
  • Mobile devices: Long press the letter, slide your finger up to the accented letter, and release.

This article explains how to type characters with acute accent marks on Mac and Windows PCs. Instructions in this article apply broadly to all Mac and Windows computers, but some steps may vary depending on the keyboard.

What Are Acute Accent Marks?

Acute accent marks, also called diacritical marks, slant to the right over the tops of certain vowels and consonants. Latin, Cyrillic, and Greek languages use them.

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 often appears in English with the accent mark.

Acute accent marks are found on both uppercase and lowercase vowels: 

 Á  É  Í  Ó  Ú  Ý
 á  é  í  ó  ú  ý
Person typing accent marks in the word “túnel”
Lifewire / Maddy Price

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.

Use the Accent Menu

On a Mac computer keyboard, access the Accent menu via keyboard inputs.

  1. Hold down the letter you want to add an accent to for several seconds. A small menu pops up with different accent options for that letter. Each option for a particular letter appears with a number underneath it.

    Diacritical marks on macOS
  2. Press the number key for the version you want to use on the keyboard. Or, use your mouse to click the mark or its number in the accent menu.

    For example, to produce an accented a, press and hold the a key. Simultaneously, select the number 2 on the keyboard or click the number 2 in the accent menu with your mouse.

  3. For the uppercase version of the character, press the Shift key before you type and hold the letter you want to accent. The symbol you select appears in your document.

Use the 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.

  1. Click the Edit menu at the top of the screen and select Emoji & Symbols.

    Emoji & Symbols option from the Edit menu on macOS
  2. Expand the menu by clicking the icon in the upper-right corner.

    Icon to enlarge Emoji & Symbols options on macOS
  3. 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.

    Expanded special character options and search bar on macOS

Additional variations of that symbol appear in the right panel. For example, if you type accent in the search field, you'll see characters and variations of all types of accents. Double-click any symbol to place it in your document.

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.

Uppercase Lowercase
Alt+ 0193 = Á Alt+0225 = á
Alt+ 0201 = É Alt+0233 = é
Alt+ 0205 = Í Alt+0237 = í
Alt+ 0211 = Ó Alt+0243 = ó
Alt+ 0218 = Ú Alt+0250 = ú
Alt+ 0221 = Ý 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, copy and paste the accented letter.

Make Accent Marks Without a Number Pad on a PC

If you don't have a numeric keypad on your PC keyboard's right side, you can copy and paste accented characters from the character map.

For Windows, locate the character map by clicking Start > Windows Accessories Character Map. You can also click Windows and type character map in the search box. Select the letter you need, copy it, and paste it into the document.

HTML and Accents

Computer programmers use HTML (HyperText Markup Language) as the basic computer language to build web pages. 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), the word acute, and then ; (a semicolon) without any spaces between them. For example, if you follow this sequence with the letter e, it should result in an e with an accent mark.

In HTML, the characters with acute accent marks may appear smaller than the 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 an iOS or Android mobile device, hold your finger on the letter that you want to accent. You'll see a pop-up of the available diacritical marks for that letter. Slide your finger up to the accented letter and release it 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. Locate other diacritical marks in the same way as the acute accent. Commonly used options 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).
  • The umlaut, which is two dots above a letter, such as in coöperate, among others.

The tilde usually has a dedicated key on the keyboard. On virtual keyboards, the tilde is accessible on the same pop-up as the acute accent.

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