A period farmhouse in the glorious French countryside. That’s where my friend Ellie emigrated to three years ago, with her husband and 7 year old son.
Naturally they’re all fluent speakers by now. Though I recently discovered Ellie hadn’t mastered typing French accents as much as speaking the French language.
French, as you know, uses lots of accents –
- Aigu – é
- Cédille – ç
- Circonflexe – ê
- Grave – à, è
- Tréma – ö
She’d mastered them on her iPhone. But not on her laptop.
After his Skype recorder lesson, her son wanted to send a message to his teacher. Ellie left him to it. But he asked her to look at what he’d written before he sent it. And all the required accents were included.
“How did you do that?” Ellie asked. “Oh, it’s easy, Mum.” And he showed her. “Didn’t you know how to do accents?”
Typing French Accents on a Mac…
Ellie has a Mac. She reliably informs me it’s this easy –
- Hold down the letter you need to add an accent to. All the options appear with an associated number.
- Press the relevant number key for the accent you need.
- Hey presto – the appropriately-accented character appears in the right font and size!
…and Typing French Accents on a PC
But what if you’re a PC person like me? Typing French accents is still quite quick and easy to do when you know how. Though different versions of Windows are known for having their own sets of rules. So you might have to select a different keyboard layout in your Settings, depending which version of Windows you use.
The most common one is known as the UK extended keyboard layout. And the most relevant key is the AltGr key, to the right of the space bar.
It’s described by Wikipedia as a modifying key – “primarily used to type characters that are not widely used in the territory where sold, such as foreign currency symbols, typographic marks and accented letters”.
- Aigu – Type the letter e while you hold down the AltGr key at the same time.
- Cédille – Type the letter c while you hold down the AltGr key at the same time.
- Circonflexe – Type the ^ symbol and hold down the AltGr key at the same time, then type the letter you need.
- Grave –Type the ` symbol, then the letter you need while you hold down the AltGr key at the same time.
- Tréma – Type the “ symbol and hold down the AltGr key at the same time, then type the letter you need.
With the La Academia French team in your corner, typing French accents will soon be second nature.