How to Type Spanish Accents and Letters
Having trouble typing á, é, í, ó, ú, ü, ñ, ¿, and ¡ on your keyboard? ¡No te apures! (Don't sweat it!) There are several ways you can incorporate these letters and punctuation marks into your daily life.
1. You can simply copy and paste the letters and punctuation marks given above.
2. You can learn the keyboard shortcuts on your Mac or PC.
3. You can set your keyboard layout to Spanish.
Read on for more on keyboard shortcuts and layouts!
If you only need an accented character every now and then, there is no need to change your full keyboard layout. Instead, you can make use of keyboard shortcuts, which we'll explain for both PC and Mac users below.
There are several keyboard shortcuts you can use for Spanish letters and punctuation on your PC. This first set is for newer computers and may only work in Microsoft Office.
If you’re using Office for Windows, use the following shortcuts:
- For accented vowels, press Ctrl + ', then the vowel you want to accent.
- For the Spanish ñ, press Ctrl + ~, then the n key.
To get accented vowels on a Mac, hold down the Option/Alt key (⌥), and press the e key. Then, release both keys and type the letter that you want to accent.
For the ñ, hold down the Option/Alt key while you press the n key, then press n again.
To type an umlaut over the u, hold down the Option/Alt key while pressing the u key, then press u again.
To type ¡, press the Option/Alt key and the ! key.
To type ¿, press the Option/Alt key, Shift, and the ? key.
On many keyboards, you can also simply hold down the letter you want to accent. This will cause a little box with letter choices to pop up, and you can select which letter you want. For example, holding down the n key will cause a box with and ñ and ń to appear.
How to Type Accents and Letters with Character Codes
Another way to type Spanish letters and punctuation marks is to use character codes. Each character in your computer has a code made up of the Alt key and a three-digit number, all of which are listed below.
|Accented letter||Alt code|
|á||Alt + 0225|
|é||Alt + 0233|
|í||Alt + 0237|
|ó||Alt + 0243|
|ú||Alt + 0250|
|ñ||Alt + 0241|
|ü||Alt + 0252|
|¡||Alt + 0161|
|¿||Alt + 0191|
To type the numbers, you must use the numeric keypad on the right side of your keyboard, not the number keys on the top row.
Full Keyboard Configuration
For those using Spanish letters and punctuation on a regular basis, we recommend going into your Control Panel/System Preferences and adding the Spanish keyboard configuration. This will mean you need to learn the new key placements, but it is very easy once you get used to it.
After changing your keyboard layout, you can also put a skin on your keyboard to help you learn new key placements. A skin is a plastic keyboard cover that you can place over your original keyboard if you happen to configure it. Skins are very cheap and available in many different languages, including (of course) Spanish!
For Windows Vista
- Go to your Control Panel
- Click on "Clock, Language, Region”
- Click on "Change Keyboards"
- Click "Add" and Select "Spanish-International Sort"
For Windows XP:
- Go to your Control Panel
- Click on "Date, Time, Language, and Regional Options"
- Click on "Regional and Language Options"
- Select the "Languages" tab at the top
- Click on "Details" near the bottom
- Click "Add" and choose "Spanish-Traditional Sort"
- Go back to the "Languages" tab and choose the option to "switch languages" by pressing "left alt-shift" at the same time. This way, you can switch to and from the Spanish and regular keyboard whenever you want.
- Go to your System Preferences
- Click on "International"
- Select the "Input Menu" tab
- Scroll down to select "Spanish - ISO"
- Note the keystrokes necessary to switch between languages or select "Show input menu in menu bar" to be able to select which keyboard you want to use.
Spanish-International Sort Keyboard Layout
Once you have installed your Spanish keyboard, it may react a bit differently than you're used to. In particular, several punctuation marks are in different places than they are on an English-language keyboard. Here's how to type a few of the trickier ones (check out the image of the Spanish Mac keyboard below to follow along.)
- To type an apostrophe ('), press the key immediately to the right of the key for the number 0.
- To type a question mark (?), press Shift, then the key immediately to the right of the key for the number 0.
- To type double quotes ( " ), press Shift, then the key for the number 2.
- To type a semicolon ( ; ) press Shift, then the comma (,) key.
Happily, the period (.), comma (,), and exclamation point (!) keys are in the same places on Spanish and English Mac keyboards.