Typing French Accents – French Accent Characters

by | May 16, 2022 | French Lessons

If you need to type French accents, here is a list of French type accents you can use when typing emails or documents in the French language. Knowing how to type French accents ensures better clarity in your written output and consistency in how you express and write in the French language. Since Windows has been updated several times in the past ten years, you must know how to type French accents on Windows 10 and French accents on Mac.

The words café and résumé are certainly French in origin, and we typically write them without the accents in English. Accent marks, on the other hand, are not optional in French. Accent marks, commonly known as “diacritics,” are French. They have a variety of functions in the language. First, they have a positive or negative impact on pronunciation. They can entirely alter the meaning of a word. Below is a quick review of diacritics in the French language.

La Cédille

A cedilla is a little squiggle beneath the letter “c”: “ç.” This accent mark appears solely with the letter “c”; it does not appear with any other letter. A ç (c with a cedilla) is sounded like an “s” and is a straightforward diacritical mark.

L’Accent Aigu

The acute accent appears exclusively above an “e,” as in “é.” Its function is to alter the vowel’s pronunciation.

There are various ways to pronounce an unaccented “e,” but there is none when you see “é.” In the same way, an é (e with an acute accent) is pronounced every time. “É” is pronounced like the English “way,” “say,” or “ay.”

L’Accent Grave

The grave accent (à/è/ù) can be placed above the vowels “a,” “e,” or “u.” It performs several functions. To begin with, it’s used before an “a” or “u” to identify words with similar pronunciation but different meanings.

L’Accent Circonflexe

The circumflex, which resembles a small pointed hat, appears above all five vowels in French: â, ê, î, ô, and û.

How To Type French Accents on English Keyboard?

To type French accents with ALT codes, hold down the ALT key, then on the numeric keypad, type the three or four digits listed here. The corresponding French accent character will appear when you release the ALT key.

Capital Vowels






























Lowercase Vowels
































ALT+0199 (caps)


ALT+0231 (lower)


ALT+0171 (Left Angle Quote)


ALT+0187 (Right Angle Quote)


Another way to type French accents on your laptop or desktop computer is to install the French keyboard; you can find that and the language bar under regional settings in the Window control panel. The language bar allows you to easily switch between the French and English keyboard.

Here is where you start:

windows language settings

Learning ASCII Characters

It’s crucial to know how to type accented characters, tildes, and umlauts when typing in a language other than English on an English keyboard. Master the basics, and you will be able to master how to type French accents on Word.

Fortunately, there are many ways to enter non-English accented characters like é, á rapidly.

  1. Make use of ALT key combinations. You’ll need a keyboard with a separate numeric keypad on the right-hand side to use these codes. Microsoft Office will accept ASCII codes. However, they might not function with all Windows apps, so you’ll have to check each one separately to determine compatibility.
  2. Press and hold the ALT key. While there are number codes to remember, you must always begin by holding the ALT key. Then, hold the key down while typing the required numeric code.
  3. On the numeric keypad, type the correct accent code.
  4. Let go of the ALT key. The accent will be placed above the relevant letter. Because there are so many to remember, learning the accent codes can take some time.

If you need to use accents frequently, develop a cheat sheet to keep near your computer to refer to it quickly. If you frequently type with accents, you should adjust the keyboard to fit your needs better.

How To Type French Accents on Mac?

  1. Mac users will not be left out! Use shortcut keys to generate accents. This strategy will work for both Pages documents and web-based activities. You’ll always hold down the Option key first, then type a combination of two additional keys to indicate the accent type and letter.
  2. To make grave accents, press Option + ‘, then the letter. Next, press the'(accent) key while holding down the Option key. Release. Your page will have a prominent yellow accent. Then press the letter you’d like to emphasize. Any vowel can be used to create this accent.
  3. To generate acute accents, press Option + E, followed by the letter. Hold down the Option key and proceed to tap the E key. Release. You can select the letter once you see the yellow highlighted acute accent. Any vowel can be accented in this way.
  4. To make circumflex accents, press Option + I, then the letter. Press and hold the Option key first, then the I key. Release. Then choose the letter you want. Any vowel can be accented using these accents.
  5. To type tilde accents, press Option + N, then the letter. Press the N key while holding down the Option key. Release. Then type the letter you want. Only the letters A, N, and O can have this accent.
  6. To make an umlaut accent, press Option + U, then the letter. Next, tap the U key while holding down the Option key. Finally, release the keys. You can now choose the letter you want.
  7. To capitalize the letters, you must first hold down the shift key before activating any character. When it begins a sentence, it is usually capitalized automatically.

How To Type French Accents On PC?

  1. Now’s the time to experiment with shortcut keys. Office 365 has the latest Word, which still works with traditional shortcut keys. In addition, shortcut keys are usually faster and easier to remember than ASCII code for accents.
  2. To add a grave accent, use Control + ‘, then the letter. Next, tap the accent key near the top left corner of your keypad while holding down the Control key. Release the keys. Then select the letter you want to highlight. The accent key is almost always the same as the. The apostrophe key is not the problem.
  3. To add an acute accent, press Control + ‘, then the letter. Next, tap the apostrophe key while holding Control. The apostrophe is positioned next to the enter key. Release the keys. Then choose the letter you want to emphasize.
  4. To add a circumflex accent, press Control, Shift, 6, then the letter. Next, tap the six keys while holding down the Control and Shift keys. Finally, release the keys and choose the letter you want. Because of the character above the number, the six key is used.
  5. To add a tilde accent, use Shift + Control +, then the letter. The tilde is also used to generate the grave accent. If you don’t hold down the Shift key, you’ll get a grave accent instead. Release the keys, then choose the letter you want.
  6. To add an umlaut accent, press Shift + Control +: then the letter. The colon key is located alongside the apostrophe key. Hold down the Shift key to choose the colon instead of the semicolon. Set the keys aside. Select the letter now.
  7. Add accents to uppercase accented characters in the same way. However, this time, hit the shift key immediately after the Control + (option), then type the letter. It will capitalize automatically.


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