Type Characters With Circumflex Accent Marks

Circumflex Characters
By Llusiduonbach (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons 

Circumflex accent marks, also called carets, look like little hats over a letter and are found in foreign words borrowed into English like the word château, meaning "castle."

In the case of the lowercase i, a caret or a circumflex accent mark replaces the dot on the i.

Circumflex accent diacritical marks are used in Latin, Cyrillic, and Greek languages. Since you are most likely using a Latin alphabet keyboard, the languages and words borrowed most into English with circumflex accents come primarily from French and are used over vowels.

For another example, in English, a circumflex accent mark is sometimes retained when its spelling is used the same as its original language, like the word for the French delicacy, crème brûlée.

Circumflex accent marks can be found on the following upper and lower case vowels: Â, â, Ê, ê, Î, î, Ô, ô, Û, and û.

Different Strokes for Different Platforms

There are several keyboard shortcuts to render a circumflex accent mark on your keyboard depending on your platform. 

Most Mac and Windows keyboards have a caret key for inline caret marks (Shift+"6" key), but it cannot be used to accent a letter. For example, the caret is sometimes used in mathematical formulas or in computer programming languages.

Some programs or varying platforms may have special keystrokes for creating diacriticals, including caret marks. See the application manual or search the help guide if the following keystrokes do not work for creating caret marks for you.

Mac Computers

On a Mac, hold down the letter while typing to create characters with the circumflex accent mark. A small menu will pop up with different accent options. For the uppercase version of the character, press the "Shift" key before you type the letter to be accented. 

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 circumflex accent marks.

If you do not have a numeric keypad on the right side of your keyboard, these numeric codes will not work. The row of numbers at the top of the keyboard, above the alphabet, will not work for numeric codes.

Numeric codes for upper-case letter acute accent marks:

  • Â= Alt + 0194
  • Ê= Alt + 0202
  • Î= Alt + 0206
  • Ô= Alt + 0212
  • Û= Alt + 0219

Numeric codes for lower-case letter circumflex accent marks:

  • â= Alt + 0226
  • ê= Alt + 0234
  • î= Alt + 0238
  • ô= Alt + 0244
  • û= Alt + 0251

If you do not have a numeric keypad on the right side of your 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. Or, click on Windows and type "character map" in the search box. Select the letter you need and paste it into the document you are working on.


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, render characters with circumflex accent marks by typing the "&"(ampersand symbol), then the letter (e, U, etc.), then the letters "circ," then ";" (a semicolon) without any spaces between them, such as:

  • ê= ê
  • Û= Û