French Accent Marks
On a Mac
To type accents on an Apple with the option key, hold down the option key while pressing the key(s) in bold in this list. For example, to type ê, hold the option key while typing i, then release both and type e. To type î, hold option, type i, release and type i again.
Note: In these instructions, "and" means to keep holding the option key and the first key listed while typing the second. "Then" means to release the option key and the first key before typing the second.
é Hold option key and e then e
à, è, ù Hold option key and ` then a, e, or u
(this key is the accent key to the left of the number 1 on the keyboard)
ç Hold option key and c
â, ê, î, ô, û Hold option key and i then a, e, i, o, or u
ë, ï, ü Hold option key and u then e, i, or u
œ Hold option key and q
French quotation marks
« Hold option key and \
» Hold option key and shift key and \
€ Hold option key and shift key and 2
On an iPad or iPhone
To type accented letters on an iPhone or iPad, press and hold the button for the unaccented letter for a moment. A list of accented letters will pop up for you to choose from.
For example, to type à, press and hold the letter a, then choose à. To type é, è, ê, or ë, press and hold e, then make your selection. For ç, press and hold the letter c.
On a Windows PC
For US English keyboard users, the international keyboard (which is not a physical keyboard, but rather a simple Control Panel setting) is the easiest and most convenient method for typing French accents because it maintains the QWERTY layout, with just a few changes and additions:
é Type ' (single quote) then e.
à, è, ù Type ` (to the left of 1) then the vowel
ç Type ' then c
ê Type ^ (shift + 6) then e
ö Type " (shift + ') then o
To type French quotation marks « » use ctrl + alt + [ and ], respectively.
Note: The minor disadvantage of the international keyboard is that when you want to type the "helping" character (e.g., single or double quotes) by itself rather than above a vowel, you have to type the symbol then hit the space bar. For example, to type c'est, type c then ' then hit the spacebar then type e s t. It takes a little while to get used to typing that extra space when you just want to type ' or "
In order to use one of these alternate keyboard layouts, you need to add it to Windows. Once you've done this, you can either set it as your default keyboard, or use alt plus shift to toggle between two or more layouts. The way to do this is slightly different for each operating system.
International Keyboard: English (United States), US-Int'l
UK Extended Keyboard: English (UK - extended)
French Keyboard: French (Standard)
French Canadian Keyboard: French (Canadian)