Emoji, accent marks, and other special characters bring an element of fun and accuracy to the texting experience, but what if you’re on your PC and you want to break up plain old text with cool symbols and special characters? Assuming you’re using a QWERTY keyboard, you might not be able to find these special characters.
- Typing symbols in Windows 10 or Windows 11
- Emoji symbols
- IP symbols
- Math symbols
- Uppercase accented symbols
- Lowercase accented letters
- Currency symbols
- Using the character map on Windows
- Typing symbols in MacOS
- Typing symbols using the Character Viewer in MacOS
What You Need
Any Windows laptop or PC
Any MacOS laptop or computer
In this guide, we’ll show you how to insert special characters into your copy using the character map (character viewer on Mac) and keyboard shortcuts. You can also check out our guide on the best keyboard shortcuts for Windows 10 and MacOS.
Your Windows PC has many alt-key shortcuts programmed into it that are pretty easy to type out. However, it should be noted that if you’re using Windows and you have a keyboard with a full number pad, you can only execute these keyboard shortcuts if you use the number keys on your number pad, with the number lock key turned on. Using the number keys located directly below the row of F-keys will not work, which we discovered during independent testing.
If you don’t have a keyboard with a number pad, you can use the on-screen keyboard in Windows to perform these tasks. To find the keyboard in Windows 10, roll your cursor over to the lower-right side of the screen and right-click on the taskbar. Then, click on Show Touch Keyboard button. You can then long-tap or long-hold your mouse down on any given letter to find symbols and other alternate characters.
On Windows 11, you'll need to right-click on the Taskbar and choose Taskbar settings. From there, toggle the switch for Touch keyboard to on. You can then summon the touch keyboard as needed.
Step 1: Open your word processor and locate either Alt key on your keyboard. Typically, the Alt keys are located on either side of your spacebar.
Step 2: Scan the lists below for the symbol you want to type out.
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Step 3: Make sure the cursor is located in the place where you want to insert the symbol of your choice. Then enter its corresponding keyboard shortcut. For instance, holding the Alt key and pressing the 1 on your numpad will insert a smiley face (☺) in your copy.
|Alt + 1||☺|
|Alt + 2||☻|
|Alt + 3||♥|
|Alt + 0169||©|
|Alt + 0153||™|
|Alt + 0174||®|
|Alt + 35||#|
|Alt + 241||±|
|Alt + 0188||¼|
|Alt + 0189||½|
|Alt + 0190||¾|
|Alt + 0247||÷|
|Alt + 60||<|
|Alt + 62||>|
|Alt + 242||≥|
|Alt + 243||≤|
|Uppercase Accented Letter||Symbol|
|Alt + 0192||À|
|Alt + 0193||Á|
|Alt + 0194||Â|
|Alt + 0195||Ã|
|Alt + 0196||Ä|
|Alt + 0199||Ç|
|Alt + 0200||È|
|Alt + 0201||É|
|Alt + 0202||Ê|
|Alt + 0203||Ë|
|Alt + 0204||Ì|
|Alt + 0205||Í|
|Alt + 0206||ú|
|Alt + 0207||û|
|Alt + 165||Ñ|
|Alt + 0210||Ò|
|Alt + 0211||Ó|
|Alt + 0212||Ô|
|Alt + 0213||Õ|
|Alt + 0214||Ö|
|Alt + 0217||Ù|
|Alt + 0218||Ú|
|Alt + 0219||Û|
|Alt + 0220||Ü|
|Alt + 0221||Ý|
|Alt + 0159||Ÿ|
|Alt + 0142||Ž|
|Lowercase Accented letters||Symbol|
|Alt + 0224||à|
|Alt + 0225||á|
|Alt + 0226||â|
|Alt + 0227||ã|
|Alt + 0228||ä|
|Alt + 0229||å|
|Alt + 0230||æ|
|Alt + 0232||è|
|Alt + 0233||é|
|Alt + 0234||ê|
|Alt + 0235||ë|
|Alt + 0236||ì|
|Alt + 0237||í|
|Alt + 0238||î|
|Alt + 0239||ï|
|Alt + 164||ñ|
|Alt + 0242||ò|
|Alt + 0243||ó|
|Alt + 0244||ô|
|Alt + 0245||õ|
|Alt + 0246||ö|
|Alt + 0154||š|
|Alt + 0249||ù|
|Alt + 151||ù|
|Alt + 150||û|
|Alt + 0252||ü|
|Alt + 0253||ý|
|Alt + 0255||ÿ|
|Alt + 0158||ž|
|Alt + 0164||¤|
|Alt + 155||¢|
|Alt + 156||£|
|Alt + 157||¥|
|Alt + 158||₧|
|Alt + 159||ƒ|
Character Map is installed onto every Microsoft operating system; it allows you to copy and paste accented letters and symbols into documents, whether you use Word, WordPad, Google Docs, or another program.
Step 1: Head to the Windows Start Menu and then type in character map to search. After that, click it to open the application. Then, click it to open the app when it appears in the search results.
Step 2: Once opened, you'll see a list of characters. Scroll through the list until you locate your desired symbol or letter. Once found, click the Selectbutton next to the text field. Your selected symbol or letter will then appear in the text field labeled Characters to copy.
Step 3: Click Copy, then paste them in their respective places within your document.
It's much simpler to type out symbols on a Mac. Each Mac shortcut utilizes the Option button, which is usually between the Command and Control keys. You'll also need to press Shift for certain combinations, which could be a little tricky. You can generally find the Shift key in the row above the Option key.
Or you can simply hold down a given key on your keyboard until an alternate character (like a letter with a tilde) appears for selection. That will help you fly through the steps below.
Step 1: Launch your word processor of choice, and locate either of the Option keys on your keyboard.
Step 2: Find the symbol you want,
Step 3: Click the exact location of your document where you want the symbol to appear, and simply enter the corresponding keyboard shortcut.
If you find yourself struggling with MacOS keyboard combinations, you can skip over the above method and manually insert special characters and symbols through the character viewer. It takes a bit longer, but it's easy and straightforward, as long as you're using the latest version of MacOS.
Step 1: Click on the area where you’d like to insert a symbol or unique character.
Step 2: Depending on your keyboard, press Fn or the Globe icon,and a window for the character viewer should pop up immediately. If it doesn’t pop up, hit the Apple button, thenSystem Preferences > Keyboard, and then select the character viewer.
Step 3: Either look for the symbol using the search field at the top of the window or click on the icon next to the search box to manually search for your specific special character.
Finding and inserting special characters couldn't be easier to do, and you can accomplish it right from your keyboard. These shortcuts will save you time and eliminate the need to search for and copy and paste your symbol.
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To add accent marks to letters in foreign words, Microsoft Word users can utilize the following keyboard shortcuts to add the accent marks. For example, to get the character ñ, press the Ctrl and Shift Keys while pressing the ~ key (tilde key). Then, release all three keys and quickly press the n key.How do I get é on my keyboard? ›
é: Press Ctrl and type "'" (apostrophe). Release both keys and type "e". à-è-ù: Press Ctrl and type "`" key (left-hand side, top of the keyboard). Release both keys and type "e", "a", or "u".Why is my keyboard not doing accents? ›
So when you press that combination, Windows is switching to the US layout, hence why you lose your accents. A quick fix to this problem is to press CTRL + SHIFT again to gain access to the other keyboard layout, which is most likely french canada in your case.Why wont my computer let me type accents? ›
If you don't see the keyboard icon on the taskbar, right-click the taskbar and click the Show touch keyboard button. Note that you may have to go to the language settings and add the US International keyboard layout for the accented characters to become available. See the guide below on how you can do that.How do you type an Alt Ñ code? ›
The lowercase ⟨ñ⟩ can be made in the Microsoft Windows operating system by typing Alt + 164 or Alt + 0241 on the numeric keypad (with Num Lock turned on); the uppercase ⟨Ñ⟩ can be made with Alt + 165 or Alt + 0209 . Character Map in Windows identifies the letter as "Latin Small/Capital Letter N With Tilde".How do you put accents on a PC? ›
Alt+Shift+Ctrl+? To insert accents or accented characters: (Optional) To enter a character that combines with an accent, follow the key combinations in the accent table. For example, to create an A with an acute ligature, hold down the Control key and press the apostrophe key.How do I get accents on my keyboard Windows 10? ›
If you're working with Microsoft Word, WordPad, Outlook, or another Microsoft app, you can type in the Unicode value and then type Alt-X. You can also press the Control key plus a symbol, and then the letter you want to accent. For example, Ctrl+' and “e” will result in “é” — assuming you're in a Microsoft app.What is the Ctrl key for E with accent? ›
|To insert this||Press|
|à, è, ì, ò, ù, À, È, Ì, Ò, Ù||CTRL+` (ACCENT GRAVE), the letter|
|á, é, í, ó, ú, ý Á, É, Í, Ó, Ú, Ý||CTRL+' (APOSTROPHE), the letter|
|â, ê, î, ô, û Â, Ê, Î, Ô, Û||CTRL+SHIFT+^ (CARET), the letter|
|ã, ñ, õ Ã, Ñ, Õ||CTRL+SHIFT+~ (TILDE), the letter|
Cause. The Text Services and Input language settings keyboard is set to a Canadian French Keyboard. On a Canadian French keyboard the forward slash key is an acute accent é. Even if using a English Standard keyboard, the computer is set to use a Canadian French keyboard.Why can't I type Spanish accents? ›
If you have the U.S. international keyboard installed, you can type Spanish accents on Windows by simply typing an apostrophe followed by the vowel you want to accent. ¡ = alt + ! ¿ = alt + ? You can install this keyboard by searching language settings > options > add a keyboard > United-States International.
- á (lower case a, acute accent) = Press Ctrl + ' (apostrophe), then the letter a. é (lower case e, acute accent) = Press Ctrl + ' (apostrophe), then the letter e. ...
- Á (upper case A, acute accent) = Press Ctrl + ' (apostrophe), then Shift + a. ...
- ¿ (inverted question mark) = Press Alt + Ctrl + Shift + ? (
How to type Spanish accents on mobile phones. Most new mobile phones, across both Apple and Android operating systems, will allow you to type an accented letter simply by long-pressing on the letter on the keypad. The various options for that letter will appear in a small box, and you can make a selection.