The Ultimate Guide for switching from a PC to a Mac
(Part 2 - coming soon)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Special accented characters with the US keyboard!

A great tip submitted by Paul Zovighian (Paul's website): Special accented characters with the US keyboard! If you are constantly using the US keyboard settings (or another English keyboard) but you want to occasionally use some accented characters without switching the settings, it is possible. The Option key is used once again. You can simply press "Option" and it is usually the letter you are looking for (the letter that you want to add an accent to). Example:

If you do "Option-C", it will write "ç".

"Option-E" will write " ´ " and you will have to add the appropriate character after, such as "e" to get "é".

"Option-U" will write " ¨ ", adding "e" will get you "ë".

"Option-`" will write " ` " but will let you add the right character after, unlike "`" without the Option key.

"Option-N" will write " ˜ ", adding "n" will get you "ñ".

Thanks for the tip Paul!


Blogger ggszego said...

This is an awesome tip that makes life much easier for those who write in languages other than English.
Another accented character that is commonly used in Portuguese (Brazil) is "OPTION+I" that gives "ˆ", and typing "o" will write ô. Those writing in Norwegian, Swedish and Danish will love special characters like "OPTION+A" = "å" or "OPTION+Q" = "œ" and German speakers "OPTION+S" = "ß". You can find out more by experimenting with the Option key. Enjoy...

August 17, 2007 at 10:42 PM  
Blogger Lipwak said...

Great! So now I don't need to have the Spanish and German keyboard layouts rarin to go up on the menubar. Sure, it's nice to have the American flag up there, makin you feel patriotic effortlessly, when Spanish or German isn't needed but using option and the letter will be so much better a solution. (I haven't tried the umlaut but hope it is there somewhere and that I can remember it. I assume this will show up on the US keyboard layout when option is pressed although that may mean I have to have the keyboard layouts up on the menubar again...)

August 17, 2007 at 10:58 PM  
Blogger Schmoops said...

lipwak, pressing Option "U", then appropriate letter will give you the umlaut marking.

August 18, 2007 at 12:21 AM  
Blogger Geoffroy said...

This is a great tip for accented characters.

One thing that I really miss from PC and can't find on the apple keyboard is the superscript 2 and 3...

Any idea how to quickly get them ?

August 18, 2007 at 2:20 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Well, I use the US International on my MBP and its great.

August 18, 2007 at 2:50 AM  
Blogger valbaca said...

awesome tip :) "Cliché" is one of my favorite/overused words, now I can spell it right! and the occasional spanish word.

August 18, 2007 at 3:22 AM  
Blogger KaibiBlog said...

And "Shift"+"Alt"+"+" gives you an ""
(an Apple)

August 18, 2007 at 3:39 AM  
Blogger Mario Sánchez Aguilar said...

Well, I'm a mexican mac user, and I need to write in english, spanish and sometimes in danish (i'm in denmark now). So, I use the program "teclas" from Apple. It is a program that show me in a small window the keyboard and the position of all those special characters. The program was included in my first mac: An iBook G3

August 18, 2007 at 4:29 AM  
Blogger swamprad said...

shift alt + does NOT give me an apple, it gives me this symbol: ±

So how do I get the cute little apple??

August 18, 2007 at 8:02 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

On MBP with US keybord, the Apple logo is obtained with SHIFT+ALT+K

August 18, 2007 at 8:44 AM  
Blogger richard said...

I use the US International Keyboard layout. It's the same layout as the PC, but on a Mac. I thinks this is much easy to use since the accents are shown on the keys and it follows the natural keyboard layout (as it supposed to be). You just press them (sometimes using SHIFT) and then the letter. For the "ç" you do ' and then the letter "c" . You can download the US International Keyboard layout here:

August 18, 2007 at 9:58 AM  
Blogger joecab said...

Um, this is how the Apple keyboard has functioned for over 20 years. Same keyboard combos and everything. Why are people acting like this is new with this keyboard?

August 18, 2007 at 6:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

August 18, 2007 at 7:36 PM  
Blogger joecab said...

Now that I think about it, the Mac's special keyboard characters are more obvious when you call up the Keyboard Viewer you have built in. Also, these pages lists lots of special characters:

August 18, 2007 at 8:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome tip

August 19, 2007 at 1:50 AM  
Blogger nosugrefneb said...

This is one of the best tips ever. I've been laboring through Insert Symbol... on a Mac and countless other menus on PCs since high school. Amazing.

August 19, 2007 at 2:56 PM  
Blogger KingoftheHull said...

err HELLO keycaps has been around for donkeys years at least since system 7 and keyboard veiwer does even more in OSX can we not have some genuine tips please!!!

August 22, 2007 at 3:24 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

PLEASE stop referring to the 'option' key as the 'alt' key!!

Yes, I KNOW that 'alt' is printed on it; but, that is just to appease the switchers who can't remember which one it is. And, the 'Apple' key is actually called the 'command' key!

Control - Option - Command
Control - Option - Command
Control - Option - Command

Heh... I come from the ancient Mac times when we used to call the 'command' symbol (the clover looking thing) a 'splotch' -- as in 'splotch-shift-4'. Those were the days -- System 6!

August 24, 2007 at 1:55 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Tangential question: Anybody knows what's the difference between the US and US-Internationalphysical layout? Apple sells both, and I want to buy a US keyboard for programming but I write mostly in spanish, so I don't know which of the above keyboards is better to have. Thanks.

September 3, 2007 at 5:45 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Update: I've just seen that the keyboards Apple sells are English and English International. What are the differences, anyway?

September 3, 2007 at 6:06 PM  
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