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Spanish languageFAQ: How do I type Spanish accents?

You don't need special software or hardware to type Spanish accents - just follow these instructions.

Windows users have several options.

  • International keyboard (Win XP)
    1. Open your Control Panel (via Start menu or My Computer)
    2. Double click Regional and Language Options
    3. Click Languages
    4. Click Details
    5. Click Add
    6. Pick English (United States - International)

    This method has the advantage of maintaining the QWERTY layout, with the following changes:

    1. To type acute (á, é, í, ó, ú), type ' (single quote) then the vowel.
    2. Tilde (ñ), type ~ (shift + `) then n.
    3. To type Spanish quotation marks «  » use ctrl + alt + [ and ], respectively.
    4. To type the Spanish punctuation marks ¿ and ¡ use right-alt + ? and 1, respectively.

    The minor disadvantage of the international keyboard is that it takes a little while to get used to typing a space when you actually want to type ' or ".

  • International keyboard (Win 95, 98, ME, NT)
  1. Open your Control Panel (via Start menu or My Computer)
  2. Double click Keyboard
  3. Click Language
  4. Click Properties, Settings, or Details (whichever you see)
  5. Click Add
  6. Pick English (International or United States International)
  7. Continue as above.
  • International keyboard (Win 2000)
    1. Open your Control Panel (via Start menu or My Computer)
    2. Double click Keyboard
    3. Click Input Locales
    4. Click Change
    5. Click Add
    6. Pick English International or United States International
    7. Continue as above.

  • Spanish keyboard
  1. Follow the instructions above but pick Spanish (modern sort)
  2. Switch between the English and Spanish layouts with Alt + shift.
  3. NOTE: The layout of the Spanish keyboard os somewhat different than the layouts of other keyboards - refer to the map of the Spanish keyboard.
  4. HINT: You can invoke the Windows On Screen Keyboard - go to Programs/Accessories/Accessibility/On Screen Keyboard. When you change to the Spanish keyboard and move your cursor over the on screen keyboard, it will display the Spanish layout. You can then type the accented letters by clicking on the On Screen Keyboard. After pressing ALT/SHIFT you can then continue on your regular keyboard.
  • ALT codes
    Type ALT + 3 or 4 digit code to type accented characters. You can only use the numeric keypad, NOT the row of numbers across the top of your keyboard - list of ALT codes.  

Mac users can use KeyCaps:

  1. Click on the apple on the top left of the screen
  2. Open KeyCaps (a little keyboard will appear on the desktop)
  3. Hold down the option key - the accents will appear and you can click on them with the mouse.
For example, to type í, hold option, click ' (apostrophe), type i. The accented character will appear.

Mac OSX users have another option:

  1. Go to "System Preferences," then "International"
  2. Change the system operating language to Spanish - your OS as well as most Apple software will then use Spanish.


Lessons: Acute Accent Tilde

Other Frequently Asked Questions


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