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How to Type Spanish Accents and Letters

Michele Debczak
izusek/iStock via Getty Images
izusek/iStock via Getty Images / izusek/iStock via Getty Images
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Whether you type on a Mac or Windows computer, you likely aren't taking advantage of all the keyboard shortcuts at your disposal. Knowing the right buttons to press can make everything from building documents to chatting on social media much easier. Keyboard shortcuts are also essential for typing in Spanish. If you're new to the language or just new to using it in the digital world, here's how to type Spanish characters and accents on your computer.

How to Type Spanish Accents and Letters on Mac

To write in Spanish on your Mac computer, the most important keys to remember are the Option/Alt (or ⌥) key and the E key. When you're ready to type an accented letter, hold down the Option/Alt and E keys at the same time and release them. The next vowel you press will have an accent over it. This works for the letters á, é, í, ó, and ú. For the Spanish letter ñ, start by holding down Option/Alt and hitting the N key (instead of the E key). Then, let the keys go. Now when you hit the N key again, a tilde will appear over the letter.

You can find the Mac shortcuts listed below.

  • Option/Alt + e + a = á
  • Option/Alt + e + e = é
  • Option/Alt + e + i = í
  • Option/Alt + e + o = ó
  • Option/Alt + e + u = ú
  • Option/Alt + n + n = ñ

How to Type Spanish Accents and Letters on Windows

PCs employ similar shortcuts for typing letters with Spanish accents, but the keys are different. To add an accent to a vowel in Windows, first press the Ctrl and ' keys at the same time. Release them and hit the A, E, I, O, or U key to give the letter an accent. The letter ñ can be typed on Windows computers by holding down Ctrl and ~ together and then pressing N.

Here are the Windows shortcuts for adding accents to Spanish letters:

  • Ctrl + ' + a = á
  • Ctrl + ' + e = é
  • Ctrl + ' + i = í
  • Ctrl + ' + o = ó
  • Ctrl + ' + u = ú
  • Ctrl + ~ + n = ñ

How to Get Spanish Accents and Letters on Any Computer

If you don't trust yourself to remember keyboard shortcuts, another option is to copy and paste accented characters from the internet. StudySpanish.com has a tool for generating letters with accents and copying them to your clipboard. Such tools can be handy to have open on your desktop when you're working on a short-term project. For anyone who plans on typing in Spanish over the long term, learning the right keyboard shortcuts (or writing them on a sticky-note to keep at your desk) is the best way to go.

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