How to Type Accents and Symbols on Any Keyboard

Whether you’re doing your Spanish homework or swapping jokes with your French-speaking amoureux, spelling correctly in a foreign language is essential if you’re trying to get your point across without looking like a dumbass. Setting accents is now easy with improved keyboard controls on virtually every device. No matter what phone, laptop, or desktop you have, you can add accented characters quite easily if you know where to look.

Windows 10

Using the onscreen keyboard to enter accented letters is one easy way to improve your spelling. Find the keyboard icon on the far right of the taskbar, open the onscreen keyboard and hold (or left-click and hold) the cursor over the letter you want to highlight. You will see a grid of potential accented letters that you can choose from. Don’t see the keyboard icon? Right-click the taskbar to customize it, then select the Show touch keyboard option.

You can also switch to the international version of the traditional American keyboard, which allows you to use character combinations that add the accents you’re looking for. From the Start menu, select Settings> Time & Language> Region & Language. Select US English> Options> Add Keyboards> US (International). Microsoft has a list of keyboard shortcuts for entering the correct accents after you’ve switched to an international keyboard, so you can freely recite your favorite scene in Amelie without compromising your grammatical prowess.

You can also click Windows -; (this is the Windows key plus the semicolon key) to open the emoji selection window if you have installed Windows 10 Fall Creator’s Update.


There are several ways to add emphasis on macOS. The easiest way to give your words a quirky zirconflex or serious accent is to hold the letter on the keyboard. You will see a small popup above the text box you are typing in with a number assigned to each available character. Dial the number that matches the accent and you’re done.

You can also hold Alt-Option, press a letter and stress without a letter. This way, you can add any letter you choose after choosing the correct accent mark. Accents are assigned to specific letters on the keyboard, but you can find matching accents and keys here .


It’s easy to add accents to your messages in iOS. Just hold your finger on the letter you want to stress using the built-in keyboard of your iOS device. You will see a pop-up window with all available accent marks and symbols that you can choose from. Many third-party keyboards that you can download from the App Store, such as Google’s Gboard, also support accent hold.


As with iOS, you can easily add accents to characters by holding your finger on the key you want to emphasize. You will see the same pop-up window in which you will need to swipe your finger over the character you want to use.


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