Inserting accent marks

There are times in writing when you have to deal with dreaded accent marks. I feel for you. I really do. I’ve typed enough French essays to cry cedillas. So here’s a handy list of accent mark names and how to insert the darn things in Microsoft Word.

Common accent marks:

  • á: accent acute
  • à: accent grave
  • å: bolle
  • ç: cedilla
  • â: circumflex
  • æ: ligature
  • œ: ligature
  • ø: streg
  • ñ: tilde
  • ä: umlaut

Inserting accent marks
When I’m working with accent marks, I use the old-fashioned long way of inserting them because I’m not one for memorizing a bunch of shortcuts.

The long way
In Microsoft Word, go to Insert, then Symbol. Select Advanced Symbol. A small screen will pop up with a list of letters with accent marks. Simply select the letter and corresponding mark you want and click Insert.

Of course, you can always use keyboard shortcuts, too.

For PC users, here’s a list of shortcuts:
accent acute: CTRL+’, the letter
accent grave: CTRL+`, the letter
æ ligature: CTRL+Shift+&, a, or A
bolle: CTRL+Shift+@, a, or A
cedilla: CTRL+(comma), c, or C
circumflex: CTRL+Shift+^, the letter
œ ligature: CTRL+Shift+&, o, or O
streg: CTRL+/, o, or O
tilde: CTRL+Shift+~, the letter
umlaut: CTRL+Shift+:, the letter

For Mac users, here’s what to do:
accent acute: Option+E, the letter
accent grave: Option+`, the letter
æ ligature: Shift+Option+’ (uppercase); Option+’ (lowercase)
bolle: Shift+Option+A, the letter (uppercase); Option+A (lowercase)
cedilla: Shift+Option+C (uppercase); Option+C (lowercase)
circumflex: Option+I, the letter
œ ligature: Shift+Option+Q (uppercase); Option+Q (lowercase)
streg: Shift+Option+O (uppercase); Option+O (lowercase)
tilde: Option+N, the letter
umlaut: Option+U, the letter


4 thoughts on “Inserting accent marks

  1. The arrogance of English shines through once again. Common accents are built in to most European keyboards making it possible to add a grave or acute accent, for instance, by using the ALT option. I suppose accents are in much greater demand in these countries, but even my Swedish keyboard, which included separate keys for accented letters used in Swedish, had ALT options for those prevalent in other languages.


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