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 macOS (and it predecessor OSX), so you can type them with no configuration or extra software required.

how to type french accents on macbook

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 macOS or 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. There are of course, others to suit your particular model, you just need to search.

French Characters On MacBook Keyboards

We've created a handy infographic to use as a 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 "\".

Mike Roberts

Hi, my name is Mike and I made this site to document all the helpful tips and tricks that I've discovered using various Apple Macs and other Apple products over the years, as well as to provide more general guides in relation to using the internet. I've been obsessed with Apple products ever since I could afford my first iPod, and am somewhat of a fanboy (you might have guessed). For me, the simply work without any fuss, issues or errors. I can rely on their products. The build quality is excellent and I even have several, several-year-old Macbooks in my wardrobe that are still humming along fine (just a bit slower). You can contact me personally using the form on this page.


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  1. having trouble with the accent graves- when I follow your instructions, I get these symbols instead: å, é, ü

  2. For €, it isn't what is said but Option and 2 you press without Shift. The latter option yeilds™ which is useful to know too. It would also be interesting how to type the pound sign.
    ¡€#¢∞§¶•ªº–≠`Ÿ⁄™‹›fifl‡°·‚—±≤≥÷æ…«‘“≠–ºªº–¯˘¿ÚÆ”’»±—‚·°‡flfi›™⁄Ÿ⁄™‹›Ω≈ç√∫~µ≤≥÷æ…¬˚∆˙©∂ßå«‘“πø^¨¥†®´∑œ≠–ºª•¶§∞¢#€¡`˜ˆı◊ÇÙÛÒÔÓÌÏÎÍÅ∏ØÈËÁʉ„Œ. O.K. I cannot find it though I found lots of other interesting stuff by trying Option and then Option and Shift with all the keys that seem relevant. Does anyone know how to type the pound Sterling sign on a MBPro U.S. please. Thank you.

  3. 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.

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