How To Type Accented Letters On Your Computer

Windows uses some punctuation keys to create accented letters.
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Windows provides a few different ways to create accented letters. Its Character Map allows you to copy letters to your system's clipboard so you can paste them into programs. In Microsoft Office programs, such as Word 2013, you can insert letters directly through the Symbols menu without copying them. You can also type accented letters into your work by using keyboard commands and shortcuts.

1 Use Character Map or Symbols

From a Windows 8 Start screen, type character map; in Windows 7, click Start and type character map into the search bar. In either OS, select the tool from the results to open it. Set a font in the Font bar and scroll through the characters to find the one you want to use. Double-click to insert it into Characters to Copy and select Copy. You can now paste the letter in your work.

To insert accented letters in Office programs, go to the Insert tab, select Symbol and then More Symbols. Keep the default of Normal Text to use your current font, select your character and then Insert to place it in your document.

2 Use Keyboard Shortcuts

Windows has a couple of types of keyboard commands that create accented letters. To use numeric shortcut codes, hold down the Alt key and key in the number that matches the letter. For example, if you type Alt-0224, you create the letter à; type Alt-0241 to make an ñ.

You can also use punctuation shortcuts to create select accented letters with Ctrl, Alt or Shift key combinations. For example, Windows assigns acute accents to the apostrophe key, allowing you to type letters such as á, é or í by holding down Ctrl-' and then typing the letter.

See Resources for lists of numeric codes and punctuation shortcuts.

Carol Finch has been writing technology, careers, business and finance articles since 2000, tapping into her experience in sales, marketing and technology consulting. She has a bachelor's degree in Modern Languages, a Chartered Institute of Marketing.certificate and unofficial tech and gaming geek status with her long-suffering friends and family.