Department of Foreign Languages & Cultures

Language Learning Resource Center

Apple Macintosh Keyboards

Typing Diacritics And Special Characters


Other Keyboards:

Microsoft Standard English (US) Keyboard
Microsoft English US-International Keyboard


Microsoft Keyboards - Common Shortcut Keys
Create any Character using Unicode values

A printable PDF version of this page is available here

Adding Special Characters on a Macintosh
Fonts often contain many characters that don't appear on the Macintosh keyboard. These characters include accented characters, math symbols, and special punctuation symbols. One way to access these characters is through the Key Caps desk accessory. Another method is through key stroke commands. Use the following methods to insert special characters in standard desktop applications (e.g. Word, Eudora...).

*Not all fonts contain all special characters. Additional characters can be found in the "Symbol" font which consists entirely of special characters. The Euro currency symbol "" is supported by Mac OS 8.5 and later only.

To insert special characters with the Mac keyboard
(Times New Roman font):

Accent Key Strokes Available Characters
Grave  ` option ` + the character À È Ì Ò Ù à è ì ò ù
Acute  ´ option e + the character Á É Í Ó Ú á é í ó ú
Circumflex ^ option i + the character Â Ê Î Ô Û â ê î ô û
Tilde  ~ option n + the character Ã Ñ Õ ã ñ õ
Umlaut ¨ option u + the character Ä Ë Ï Ö Ü Ÿ ä ë ï ö ü ÿ
+Option +Option-
+Option +Option-
A å Å   0 º
B ¹ 1 ¡ Ž
C ç Ç 2
D  Î 3 £ Ð
E   ´ 4 ¢ ð
F ƒ Ï 5 ƒ Þ
G © 6 § þ
H Ó 7 ý
I   ˆ 8 °
J  Ô 9 ª ·
K š - en dash em dash
L ¬ Ò = ±
M µ Â [
O ø Ø ]
P ¼ ½ \ ´ ª
Q œ Œ æ Æ
R ® , ¾ ¯
S ß Í . ˜
T Ý  ; Ú
U   ¨ `   `
V ˆ × / ÷ ¿
X œ      
Y ¥ Á      
Z ¸      
+Option +Option-
+Option +Option-

Special Characters Using "Key Caps"

The Key Caps accessory is generally installed with system software and is usually located under the Apple menu. Key Caps can be used to determine which special characters are contained within a font. Key Caps is also useful when key strokes commands are unknown or forgotten.

When you open Key Caps, it displays a representation of your keyboard. The characters it shows are those produced when you press the associated keys. The keys that produce the accent marks `, ´, ¨, ^, and ~ are shown with a distinctive border. Also, font styles are displayed on the keyboard representation and can be changed via the "Fonts" menu. Characters generated in the Key Caps display can be cut and pasted into working documents.

Return | Top | Middle

Foreign Languages & Cultures, PO Box 642610, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-2610, (509)335-4135, Fax:(509)335-3708, Email Us