How to Type French Accents on Your Keyboard

Coucou !

One in every three or four words in French has an accent. On an e or an a or an o…
Or even the dreaded cédille below the c…

How do you do this on your keyboard if you don’t have a French laptop?

This is what we’ll see in today’s episode of Comme une Française TV!
Click to watch « How to type French accents on your keyboard »:

Et toi ?

How do you deal with accents when writing French?
Do you just leave them off?

The comment section is the best area to start discussions and ask questions!

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You’ll see the course reopen in April (fingers crossed)!
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« See you » in the comments,


Join the conversation!

    • Bonjour Rhonda,

      Ça dépend. Avec Word, CTRL+` (ACCENT GRAVE), the letter.
      Pour un Apple, il te faut seulement appuyer sur la touche “e” et choisis l’option 1.
      Pour un PC, ALT+0202

      Bonne journée,

      Comme Une Française Team

    • I just found out for use on a PC in Word using a UK keyboard: ctrl+&, a, e etc give æ and œ etc but only in Word

  • I like the ctrl+’ etc which I can use in Word on all my computers (on Windows). However I prefer to use as much as possible alt+num (on number keypad) as I pretty much can type quickly éâäåçêëèïî (alt+130, 131…, 140) etc. Which also works on e-mail, facebook/twitter/Instagram etc

    However, since my main laptop broke down. I have spent much time using another laptop without the numerical keypad which means I cannot use alt+num and have to use Word if I want to type accented French anywhere along with copy + paste – unless

    • … there are special facilities. However it is messy pasting into twitter,instagram/youtube comments, other comments like this one et

  • Salut Géraldine ! Merci beaucoup pour les vidéos très utiles. Ils me plairent enormement. J’ai trois questions : Pourquoi est-ce qu’on dit
    Je l’ai vu depuis ma fenêtre when depuis means ‘since’ ?
    Il est tombé à̀ vélo , what does this mean? I am surprised about the ‘a’.
    Aussi, when would you use ‘ ou’= where (sorry, I cannot do grave accents on my laptop even though I have watched your video.) instead of quand?
    Merci encore

    • Hi Mary!

      These are great and difficult questions 🙂

      1) “Depuis” is also used as “from” for a physical place. It stresses the starting point, and the long distance between both points. We also use the shorter preposition “de” for the same meaning. Sometimes, only “de” is correct, as “depuis” would sound too long and strange. I can’t really explain why with a short rule.
      Common examples with “depuis” would be “voir + depuis” (to see [something] from [a vantage point])
      –> “Je te vois depuis mon bureau” = I can see you from my desk.

      2) “à vélo” means “biking / by bike” “J’y vais à vélo” = I go there by bike, I go there biking.
      So “Il est tombé à vélo” (= He fell biking) means “Il est tombé [alors qu’il était] à vélo” (He fell while he was biking)

      It’s “à” only because the two-word expression “à vélo” is used like “en roulant” (= while rolling / cycling / driving), “en marchant” (= walking)…

      We could also say “Il est tombé de son vélo” or “Il est tombé de vélo” (= He fell from his bike). “Il est tombé depuis son vélo” is incorrect, though, but see above: it’s hard to say why.

      3) We use “où” instead of “quand” when it comes in a sentence after the noun of a duration, as in “l’année où…” (= the year when…), “le moment où…” (= the moment when…) + a “sub-sentence” (part of a sentence with its own subject and verb)

      Quand est-il né ? Il est né l’année où la France a gagné la Coupe du Monde. (= When was he born? He was born the year when France won the World Cup.)

      Hope it helps, have a great day,
      – Arthur, writer for Comme une Française

    • Hi Hannah!

      I have a French Chromebook so some accents are already built-in, but I don’t know how to use it to type the few letters that are missing even on there, like É or Ç…

      I usually end up copy-pasting it from Google or another word, or I use the “Insert special character –> Accents” from Google Doc / Word etc.

      Sorry, and good luck!

      – Arthur, writer for Comme une Française

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  • Merci beaucoup pour cette video! I’m learning French and other keyboard shortcuts for accents were not working. I was getting very stressed! Your video was such a help, thank you!

  • Thank you Geraldine for such clear presentations with no fuss. I have watched many of your little films.
    Please include me on your mailing list.
    Thank you.

  • Géraldine, Comment est ce que on peut faire les « » ? J’ai une clavier anglaise et c’est très facile à produire les characters è é ê ö Mais des parentheses françaises … ça va pas! C’est noté que vous avez dites que vous utilisez une clavier anglaise.
    J’habite Perth en Australie. Merci, merci, merci. Martin

  • If you’re on a mac you can also use the option of just holding down the letter you’re looking to add an accent to and then pressing the according number. That’s the method I’ve always used. But I would think that your method is faster once you have it down.

  • Merci beaucoup mais vous ne mentionnez pas le trema (umlaut) dans votre video. Je ne sais pas comment le trouver. Merce d’avance

  • trust me i construct correct french sentences but i get them all wrong because i can’t type the punctuation,,,right now,,i wanna hug you tight!!! thank you

  • Géraldine – Au secours!! Je ne trouve aucun autre moyen que celui- ci de vous signaler que mon adresse (courriel) a changé. Jusqu’au 22 février c’était [email protected] – mais dès cette date c’est. [email protected]
    Est ce que vous pourrez noter cela et continuer de m’envoyer les vidéos de mardi? Je les trouve formidables et je les aimes beaucoup!

  • Merci madame Géraldine. Je comprend la vidéo maintenant et je l’ utiliserai quand je commence de taper en français. Merci encore!

  • Since I do almost all of my French writing on my iPhone, I have simply added a French keyboard. You can do this easily in Setup by going to Settings, General, Keyboards, Keyboard, and clicking on Add a Keyboard. Then, whenever you want to write in French, or simply add a French word or phrase to a message in English, you simply tap the little globe icon to the left of your Spacebar to switch from on keyboard to any others (French, German, emoticons) you may have added. Obviously, Autocorrect works much better if you’re using a French keyboard to type in French. Voilà!

  • Salut tout le monde! I also found that if you type (on a PC) control + shift + : and then the letter you need, you can get a tréma accent c: (I don’t think anyone pointed this out yet…)

  • Excellent. Comme d’habitude! Après 30 ans j’ai achetée un ordinateur iMac. Avec ça c’est possible de trouver les accents – maintenir en place la touche et il vous présente les options. On choisis avec une touche numérique.

  • Bonsoir Géraldine,
    les accents français savent me mettre hors de moi ! D’habitude, c’est-à-dire lorsque j’écris des textes plus longs, j’utilise ce site… et ensuite je fais un copier-coller. L’astuce avec changement de langue sur le clavier ne marche pas trop dans mon cas, car il faut se souvenir de la disposition différente des signes dont certains sont soit non marqués sur les touches polonaises, soit ailleurs. C’est pourquoi, quand je chatte avec quelqu’un et dois taper vite, je les omets tous (de paresseux Français le font eux aussi 😉 PS Je croise les doigts pour tes projets linguistiques, je suis sûre que ce sera toute une réussite ! 🙂

  • Trop pratique! Normalement, je suis obligée de copier et coller chaque fois que j’écris un mail en français – trop chiant! Je n’ai pas réussi avec l’accent grave (mon ordi est vieux et têtu, peut-être?) mais déjà je suis contente d’avoir les autres. Merci Géraldine!

  • This is wonderful, Géraldine! I have created and saved a document which I call ‘accents’, with every letter and character, which I copy and paste when I need them for my French and Spanish. Thank you for this tip. I’ll try an use it in future. 🙂

  • Il y a une méthode plus facile pour le PC. Il s’agit d’aller à Keyboard, de presser le choix international et de choisir clavier français (qui donne un clavier azerty, pas très commode) ou canadien-français qui utilise le clavier qwerty original. Pour ê accent circonflexe appuyer sur la touche [ et e, pour le é appuyer sur la touche / et le é apparait. Pour l’accent grave, appuyer sur ‘ suivi de la lette désirée ce qui donne à, è et ù. Pour le ç appuyer sur la touche ] suivie du c ce qui donne ç. Solution à l’américaine.

  • J’ai toujours une problème avec les lettres en majuscule. Donc à bientôt – ça march mais A bientôt – je n’arrive pas. Conseils, s’il vous plaît!

  • ça c’est genial! Je n’ai jamais su ça! Je toujours utilise l’app sur le mac qui change mon keyboard au français! Mais j’aime cette méthode aussi!

  • Bonjour Géraldine,

    For someone who types a lot in French on a PC you can use the French keyboard by going to Control Panel –> Clock, Language, and Region –> Change keyboards. You can add the French keyboard (and as many others as you want). Then click on the “Language Bar” tab and you can select FR to appear on your taskbar (at lower right, with the EN for English) and toggle between them to change keyboards. Attention! This is the French AZERTY keyboard layout, so it takes some practice; it helps to print out a copy until you get used to it. This can also be done on a MAC.

  • Hy! Nice video , helps me a lot since I’m doing a lot of translations in french but I can’t seem to figure out l’accent grave on E. Isn’t it CTRL+ ‘ (apostrophe) + e = è ?? It seems to me to be the same as for l’accent aigu : CTRL + ‘ ( apostrophe) +e = é

  • Hello !
    Sur Mac OS (sur Maveriks, les autres version je ne sais pas), pour faire les accents, il y a beaucoup plus simple.
    Il faut juste presser par exemple la touche E 2 ou 3 secondes. Une image apparait à l’écran, on n’a plus qu’à choisir l’accent que l’on veux.
    I paste directly here the definition from Apple Support site : “Press and hold a key on the keyboard (for example, e) to display an accent menu.”
    That’s definitely the best way to manage accents on the Mac !

  • I used that method to generate accents for years on a Mac, however since OS X 10.5 (Lion), there is a much easier way.

    It is almost like on a smartphone (iPhone). Just hold the key of the letter you want to accent down, and then you can choose the accented letter from the choices that get presented with a mouse click, or type the number of the choice you want. For example for an é, just hold down the e key. You will see a list of the possible accents. Then you can either click the é, or you can press 2, because it is the second choice in the list. (It has a 2 under it.) Much faster, and much less memory work. (I do not think that will work on a PC, but don’t worry; I suspect they will add it eventually.)

    Merci bien!

  • Salut Géraldine,
    For me on the mac, I just hold the key down (like on ipad/iphone) on the keyboard and the accent options pop up. You then pick a number or trackpad over the correct letter/accent. It also seems my mac is getting smarter is it is now recognizing french words and underlining them for correction with the correct accents. Thanks for your blog/website, really enjoy it. Laurent

  • J’ai un PC au boulot et un Mac chez moi. Merci mille fois! ( Ironiquement, aujourd’hui je n’en ai pas besoin! )

  • I have an issue with accents maybe others have encountered…

    I have a pc and use the alt+ letter method –and it works great in Word.
    This method doesn’t work, however, when I want to type accented letters on internet pages.
    For example, I wouldn’t be able to type accented letters directly into this comment box, I would have to first
    type everything into Word & then copy-paste.

    Has anyone else had this problem? Maybe it’s just setting on my computer that I need to change?

  • Salut Géraldine,
    j’utilise les accents tout le temps, et comme Aimée, je les crée par ALT avec les codes numeriques, je sais par mémoire la plupart d’eux!
    Mais ton façon est aussi très simple, particulièrement pour les letters en majuscules, merci!
    Cependant je n’ai pas de succès avec l’instruction pour faire l’accent grave. J’utilise un PC et ton système ne marche pas pour moi. C’est dommage!

  • a with grave accent
    à ALT + 133 À ALT + 0192

    a with circumflex
    â ALT + 131 Â ALT + 0194

    a with tréma
    ä ALT + 132 Ä ALT + 142

    a e ligature
    æ ALT + 145 Æ ALT + 146

    c with cedilla
    ç ALT + 135 Ç ALT + 128

    e with acute accent
    é ALT + 130 É ALT + 144

    e with grave accent
    è ALT + 138 È ALT + 0200

    e with circumflex
    ê ALT + 136 Ê ALT + 0202

    e with tréma
    ë ALT + 137 Ë ALT + 0203

    i with circumflex
    î ALT + 140 Î ALT + 0206

    i with tréma
    ï ALT + 139 Ï ALT + 0207

    o with circumflex
    ô ALT + 147 Ô ALT + 0212

    o e ligature
    œ ALT + 0156 Œ ALT + 0140

    u with grave accent
    ù ALT + 151 Ù ALT + 0217

    u with circumflex
    û ALT + 150 Û ALT + 0219

    u with tréma
    ü ALT + 129 Ü ALT + 154

    • I’m with Aimee – you learn the main ones and I use a cheat sheet. Geraldine do you have a print out available of your hints?

  • Bonjour Géraldine,
    On peut utiliser aussi les “codes”: Alt + un numéro
    Par exemple si on tape alt 151 on a le u avec l’accent ù
    ou alt 130 on a le e avec l’accent é

    Bonne journée!

  • Ah, merci beaucoup. It has been driving me crazy not to have proper accent marks. BTW you can get umlauts (what’s the French word for this?). Anaïs par example! On Mac, type Option, then u, then the vowel. Don’t know how on the PC!

  • Salut Géraldine

    C’est beaucoup plus facile sur un Mac ou un iPad à suffit de maintenir enfoncée la touche e, a ou c, vous seront présentés avec un choix de lettres accentuées.
    essayer ca

  • At work on my Windows PC, I changed the keyboard to ‘US-International’ that allows a quicker way to type the accents. However it does have a learning curve to get use to the patterns. ‘single quote’ + ‘e’ = ‘é’.

    • I use this way as well. It’s very fast, especially if you type from memory. It’s also handy when in France and faced with a PC that has a French keyboard. You can use the US-International on the French machine, and not make mistakes with the m’s a’s, punctuation, and other ‘peculiarities.’ 😉

      • I would just add–in case people aren’t familiar with the international keyboard, it’s already part of the Windows software. You type the accent, but it won’t display until you type the letter. It’s like the computer pauses. You use the actual keys for the ~ ^ and ` . You use the single quote to produce é, ç, or Í . The computer is smart enough to know that when you type a single quote mark, the accent corresponds to the letter you type next. So single quote + c = ç. Single quote + e = é.

        The only problem comes when you really want to use a single quote mark as such, and not as an accent. Then you just space after it. For me, that’s where the learning curve came.

  • Hi thank you this method is nice. I used to work with auto correction of Microsoft word, after finishing my writing just by a right click over the red underlined word. 🙂 . Character map also is good if you the exact place of each word on the map otherwise your method is faster.
    Thank you Géraldine, you’re the best.

  • Salut Géraldin ,
    Merci beaucoup de votre conseils. Ils sont si pratiques!.
    Merci encore et bonne journée!

  • Hi Géraldine,

    This is very helpful, normally I copy and paste the accents.
    Hopefully this will be a lot easier.

    Merci Beaucoup 🙂

  • Merci, Géraldine!

    I sometimes use the Lexibar (French) toolbar . It gives quick and easy access to special characters not available on your keyboard. You can simply drag and drop the characters directly onto your document. Here is the link –

    Good luck with your new website and course shop!



  • Hi this is really helpful I was using the character map provided in the accessories part of the pc programs. It meant you had to copy and paste the characters, this will be much quicker thank you.

    • Great, Donna!

      In case it doesn’t work on your PC (it happens…), google “how to type French accents” and you’ll find other options.

  • Merci beaucoup! J’ai toujours laissé les accents nul, mais maintenant, je sais comment les utiliser, grace de vous! J’adore Comme Une Francaise! Merci encore.

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