How to Type French Characters (é, è, ê) on Your Mac

This short guide will explain how to type French characters with an accent aigu (é), accent grave (è), circumflex (ê) and more, on your Mac, iPad or iPhone.

The easiest way – and this works on Macs, iPhones and iPads – is to tap the letter that you want to accent and hold the key down. After a moment a ‘pop-up’ bubble will appear and you can select the accent you wish to use. On your Mac, when you hold the e key down, a pop-up will appear and you can select from one of 7 different accents for the e key. To select the accent, just click on the one you want to use, or tap it’s corresponding number (in this case, 1-7)

French character accents on a Mac

On your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, when you hold down a key a series of options for that key will appear. As illustrated in the screenshot below, when you hold down the letter e a menu will appear with options for the e key.

french characters on an iPhone iPad or iPod Touch

Another option for typing French characters on your Mac is to use the option key.

To type an accent aigu, hold down the option key and tap the letter e (an apostrophe-looking character will appear temporarily) . Then let go of the option key and tap the letter e again. This time an e with an accent aigu (é) will replace the apostrophe.

Using the option key to type an accent grave is a bit different. Hold down the option key and tap the ` key. Let go of the option key and this time tap either a, e or u – depending on which letter you want to use the accent grave with.

Typing an accent circonflexe is a bit like an accent grave – hold down the option key and tap the i key. Let go of the option key and this time tap either a, e, i, o or u – depending on which letter you want to use the accent circonflexe with.

To type a tréma use the same method as a circonflexe but replace the i key with the u key.

One final way to type characters with accents is to use the Characters Viewer (it’s called just Characters in older versions of OS X/macOS) – the same one that you can use to “type” emojis.


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