Mac character map

First published on July 22, 2007

Growing up using Windows computers, typing French accents was a confusing memorization exercise of combinations such as “alt+0224″ and “alt+138″. I recently discovered that the process on the Mac OS X is much more intuitive. Typing the common French letters typically involves two steps: 1) Pressing “option” and a logical character representing the accent at the same time, then 2) Pressing the letter you want to apply the accent to.

Here’s a list of how to type the common French accents:

Type of accent First step Second step
Accent aigu (é) option + e e
Accent grave (à) option + ` (typically the button to the left of “1”) a, e, or u
Accent circonflexe (ô) option + i a, e, i, o, or u
Accent tréma (ö) option + u e, i, or u
Cédille (ç) option + c n/a

Here’s a more detailed list of how to type non-English characters on a Mac.


3 Responses to “Mac character map”

  1. scruss says:

    It’s neat when you discover this. It’s a little like the Compose key that Suns and other Unix machines have. If you need the facility under Windows, Allchars – – does the job for free.

    But what I really like is the Character Palette under OS X. It lives under the little flag on the menu bar, and you can access and insert almost any Unicode character by grouping, or search by name. It’s great! ☚

  2. Cathy says:

    PK, there’s another way to do accents w/o remembering those number codes. In my student days, I think all you had to do was press ALT or CTRL or one of those function buttons and then comma or circonflexe and then the letter and it added the accent…wasn’t too difficult but I’m fuzzy on the exact details for now since I grad’ed ages ago.

    I could try to refresh the brain for u but I think u’ll beat me to it :)

  3. basil says:

    @cathy … how is that easier than this? This is option plus one letter, then the letter that you want the accent on.

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