home Software, Tips How to type French Accents on a MacBook Pro

How to type French Accents on a MacBook Pro

While the French language utilizes roman characters, the French accents often perplex people when it comes to typing them on a computer. Fortunately however the ability to type the accents is built into OSX, so you can type them with no configuration or extra software required. This article will explain to you step-by-step how to type all of the different French accents on your MacBook Pro – and although the article was written for MacBook Pro users you can type French accents the same way on most modern Macintosh computers running OSX.

Some people prefer a physical keyboard cover for their macbook keyboards. This is a great way to easily switch between English and French keys without changing your software settings. We recommend this very low cost one for MacBook keyboards:

HRH AZERTY French Language Silicone Keyboard Cover Skin Protector for MacBook – $5

French Characters On MacBook Keyboards

We’ve created a handy infographic to use as reference when you can’t remember exactly how to type french characters on your mac keyboard. Feel free to bookmark it and share it with your friends!

type french characters on macbook keyboard

Most French accents are typed on a MacBook Pro by holding down “option”, pressing another key that correlates to the sort of accent you want to type, then hitting the letter that you want to have an accent. For example, if you wanted to type ” ù ” then you’d press ” ` ” while holding down “option”, then hit “u”. Once you get the hang of that, here’s instructions on how to type all the different types of French accents on your Mac:

•Acute Accent ( é ): Press “e” while holding the “option” key, take your finger off the option key then press “e” again.

•Grave Accent ( à, è, ù ): Press ” ` ” while holding down the “option” key, then press either “a”, “e” or “u”. to put a Grave accent above the appropriate letter.

•Cedilla ( ç ): Simply press “c” while holding down the “option” key.

•Circumflex ( â, ê, î, ô, ü ): Press “i” while holding down “option”, then press either “a”, “e”, “i”, “o” or “u”.

•Tréma ( ë, ï, ü ): Press “u” while holding down “option”, then press either “e”, “i” or “u”.

•OE Ligature ( œ ): Simply press “q” while holding down the “option” key.

Note that to type any of these accented letters as capital letters simply hold down “shift” while typing the final letter (for example, you could press “i” while holding down “option”, then hold down “shift” while pressing “a” to get ” Â “.

Other French Characters On MacBook Keyboards

Although they aren’t exactly French accents, there are a couple of other symbols that you may want to know how to type when you’re dealing with the French language on your MacBook Pro. There’s the Euro symbol (€), which you can easily type on your American keyboard by hitting “option”, “shift” and “2”. There’s also the French quotation marks, which differ from the western ones – French quotation marks look like «this». The opening one ( « ) is typed by pressing “option” and ” \ “, while the closing one ( » ) is typed by pressing “option”, “shift” and ” \ “.


  • Christine Borsuk

    And option-4 is the cents 🙂
    So cool, thank-you!

  • A W

    Thanks! This makes it so much easier. I was trying to figure it out by changing the keyboard input but then realized I could just use shortcuts instead.

  • Ton van Bragt

    How do i type a ^ (without character) on a French MacBook Pro keyboard? On my English Mac bookpro this is “Shift 6”

  • Jack in the box

    Help! how do I type tirets cadratins on my mac?