You cannot spell words like Beyoncé and fiancé correctly without an accent mark. The long way to do this is googling the name with the accent mark, copying it, and pasting it into your text. However, this is quite inefficient. So how do you type accents on Windows the easy way?
There are a few methods you can use, and the best ones are listed in the following guide.
Type Accents on Windows
While you may be using an English keyboard, English may not be the only language you type in. Many international languages require special diacritical marks and symbols.
In the following guide, we will explore a few ways to add these special characters in Windows. By the end of this guide, you will also have access to an abundance of different encoded symbols and shapes.
Using Windows Emoji Panel
Unlike previous versions of Windows, Windows 10 and 11 come with a special Emoji Panel. It’s similar to the emoji screen on most modern smartphone keyboards. Nevertheless, Microsoft introduced the emoji panel in the Windows 10 May 2019 update.
Thus, we recommend that you have the latest Windows update before proceeding with the steps in this section of the guide. However, we do understand that you may not want to update Windows. Especially considering how some updates may leave your computer running slow.
Nevertheless, if you’re using an older version of Windows, do not fret, we have alternative methods further down this guide.
To display the Windows Emoji Panel, all you need to do is press the Windows key along with the period symbol on your keyboard (Winkey + .). To access the accented character section of the emoji panel, you need to do the following:
- Click on the Symbols icon (The omega symbol Ω)
- Click on the Latin symbol on the navigation bar at the bottom
- Scroll through the letters in the main panel and click on the one you are looking for
The emoji panel will appear where your text cursor is located. You can use the general punctuation icon (next to the clock icon) to add special punctuation for languages like Spanish and Portuguese.
If you click on the currency symbol, it will give you access to a set of international currency signs. You can click on the clock icon to see the most recently used symbols. It’s a good idea to explore and play around with the emoji panel to get a good feel of it.
Using The Windows Character Map
What happens if you don’t have the latest version of Windows 10 or 11 and you can’t access the Emoji Panel? You can still find diacritical marks and symbols using the Windows Character Map. To access the character map, open the Start Menu and search for Character Map.
Alternatively, you can:
- Open the Windows Run Dialog (Win + R)
- Type charmap into the text field
- Click on OK
Windows Character map is an application that displays hidden symbols and characters that come with each Windows font. You can use the Font drop-down box to select the font you’re using. At the top of the list in the main panel, you’ll find all the standard characters normally featured on a standard English keyboard.
However, as you scroll down, you’ll find more specialized diacritical marks and punctuation. Additionally, you’ll also find other special symbols and characters.
To add the symbol to your document, double-click on it and select Copy. Then navigate to your document or text field and paste it.
Using Keyboard Shortcuts
Windows allows you to use a set of keyboard shortcuts to create accented characters. For instance, to create the á character:
- Press the Ctrl and (Ctrl + ‘) keys and then release them
- Press the A key
Microsoft has an in-depth list of keyboard shortcuts for international characters. We suggest you bookmark it or print it out if you can. Then you can later use it for reference.
Using ASCII Code Shortcuts
As the name implies, American Standard Codes for Information Interchange (ASCII) allow computers to communicate with other computers or applications through encoded text. You can use them to access accented characters and diacritical symbols.
In fact, if you’ve used the Windows Character Map, you’ve already used them. However, you can use keyboard code shortcuts to access them without the Character Map.
All you need to do is hold Alt, type a string of numbers from your keypad and then release the Alt key. For instance, if you want to type the Â character, you need to do the following:
- Hold the Alt key on your keyboard
- While still holding the Alt key, hit 0194 on your keypad
- Release the Alt key
If you’ve followed the above steps correctly, the Â character should appear after you let go of the Alt key.
*Note: ASCII shortcut codes will only work if you use your numeric keypad to type them out. You’ll need to ensure that Num Lock is on before attempting to insert a special character into your text. If you have a tenkeyless (TKL) keyboard, we advise you to use the Windows Character Map to add special characters.
There are numerous ASCII and Unicode cheat sheets on the internet. However, you can also use the Windows Character Map to reveal the keystroke combination for each accented character.
Use A Different Keyboard Layout
When you set up Windows for the first time, it allows you to select a set of additional keyboard layouts. You can switch to one of these layouts when you want to add accented characters using the Windows Language Bar. Alternatively, you can press Alt + Shift on your keyboard to quickly switch between layouts.
On Windows 10, you can usually find the Language Bar in the notification area, next to the time and date.
However, it may be hidden if you have only set up one layout. Nevertheless, Windows allows you to add more keyboard layouts. You can add an additional Keyboard Layout using the following steps:
- Open the Windows Start Menu
- Click on the Settings Cog (⚙)
- Make sure it’s on the home screen and then select Time & Language
- Select the Language category from the left panel
- Scroll down until you find the Preferred Languages section
- Click on the first language (the default language)
- Click on the Options button
- Click on Add a keyboard
- Scroll through the list and select a keyboard layout
Repeat the last two steps to add as many keyboard layouts as you need. You can remove a keyboard layout by selecting it and clicking on the Remove button underneath it.
Again, you can switch between your keyboards using the Language Bar. If you want a visual representation of your current keyboard, you can use Windows built-in On-Screen Keyboard.
You can open it by pressing the Ctrl + Winkey + O on your keyboard. Alternatively, you can search for the On-Screen Keyboard using the search function from the Start Menu, i.e., open the Start Menu and type On-Screen Keyboard.
Each time you change the keyboard layout from the Language Bar, it will be reflected on the On-Screen Keyboard. You can then use the On-Screen Keyboard to see the accented character keys.
How To Configure the Emoji Panel?
At the time of writing this guide, the Emoji Panel wasn’t very customizable. You could only configure some of its open and close behavior. To find the settings for the Emoji Panel, do the following:
- Open the Start Menu
- Click on the Settings icon (⚙)
- Make sure it’s on the home screen and select Time & Language
- Click on Language from the left panel
- Click on Keyboard under the main Language section
- Scroll down till you find the Emoji panel section. This is the only accessible setting for Emoji Panel for now.
How To Turn the Language Bar On?
If your Language Bar or Input Indicator is missing, it’s most likely turned off. To turn the Language Bar (Input Indicator) on and allow it to appear as a systems icon, perform the following steps:
- Open the Start Menu
- Click on the Settings icon (⚙)
- Make sure it’s on the home screen and then click on Personalization
- Click on the Taskbar category on the left panel
- Scroll down until you reach the Notification area section
- Click on Turn system icons on or off
- Click on the toggle next to Input Indicator to turn it on
If you follow the above steps correctly, you should be able to access the Language Bar from the notification area.
However, as we’ve exhibited in the above text, Windows allows you to type accents and use diacritical marks without having to download or install anything extra. If you need clarity on any of the steps in this guide, please leave a comment below. We would love to hear (or read) from you. Nevertheless, thank you for reading.