How to Type a Tilde Mark

Keyboard shortcuts to type tildes on a computer or mobile device

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A tilde diacritical mark is a small wavy line that appears over certain consonants and vowels. The mark is commonly used in Spanish and Portuguese. For instance, if you want to type the word mañana, meaning "tomorrow" in Spanish, using a PC with a number pad on your keyboard, you need to type in a number code to get the tilde mark over the "n." If you're using a Mac, it is a little easier.

Tilde marks are commonly used on the uppercase and lowercase letters: Ã, ã, Ñ, ñ, Õ, and õ.

Different strokes for different platforms

There are several keyboard shortcuts to render a tilde on your keyboard depending on your platform. There are slightly different instructions for typing a tilde on an Android or iOS mobile device, including smartphones and tablets.

Most Mac and Windows keyboards have a tilde key for inline tilde marks, but it cannot be used to accent a letter. For example, the tilde is sometimes used in English to mean approximately or circa, for example, "~3000 B.C."

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

Mac Computers

On a Mac, hold down the Option key while typing the letter N and release both keys. You'll see a tilde above an underscored blank space. Then, immediately type the letter to be accented, such as the "A," "N" or "O," to create lowercase characters with tilde accent marks.

For the uppercase version of the character, press the Shift key before you type the letter to be accented. 

Windows PCs

Enable Num Lock. Hold down the ALT key while typing the appropriate number code on the numeric keypad to create characters with tilde accent marks. If you do not have a numeric keypad on the right side of your keyboard, these numeric codes will not work. 

For Windows, the number codes for the uppercase letters are:

  • Alt + 0195 = Ã 
  • Alt + 0209 = Ñ 
  • Alt + 0213 = Õ 

For Windows, the number codes for the lowercase letters are:

  • Alt + 0227 = ã 
  • Alt + 0241 = ñ 
  • Alt + 0245 = õ 

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.

Keep in mind that the numbers along the top of the keyboard can't be used for numeric codes. Only use the numeric keypad, if you have one, and be sure Num Lock is toggled on.

HTML

In HTML, render characters with tilde marks by typing the & (ampersand symbol), followed by the letter (A, N, or O), the word tilde, and finally a semicolon (;) without any spaces between them. For example:

  • ñ = ñ
  • Õ = Õ

In HTML, the characters with tilde marks may appear smaller than surrounding text. You might want to enlarge the font for just those characters in some circumstances.

iOS and Android Mobile Devices

You can access special characters with accent marks, including the tilde, using the virtual keyboard on your mobile device. Press and hold the A, N, or O key on the virtual keyboard to open a window with various accented options. Slide your finger to the character with a tilde and lift your finger to select it.