How to Type Spanish Accents and Letters

-á, -é, -í, -ó, -ú, -ü, -ñ, ¿, ¡

There are several ways to configure your keyboard to type in the Spanish accented letters and upside-down punctuation (-á, -é, -í, -ó, -ú, -ü, -ñ, ¿, ¡) and which one you use depends on the frequency with which you need these letters or punctuation!

1. Inserting Accented Characters with an English Keyboard Layout

If you only need an accented character every now and then, there is no need to change your full keyboard layout.

For all PCs

There are several key combinations you can use to insert single characters into your text on a PC. The first is for newer computers using the Control key 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.
  • For , press Ctrl + ~, then the letter -n.

The second way is to use character codes. Each character in your computer has a code made up of the ALT key then a three-digit number, all of which are listed below.

Accented letterAlt code
áAlt + 0225
éAlt + 0233
íAlt + 0237
óAlt + 0243
úAlt + 0250
ñAlt + 0241
üAlt + 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.

For all Macs

To get accented vowels on a Mac, hold down the Option key, and while holding it down, type the letter -e; then release those keys and type the letter that you want the accent to appear on:

For the , hold down the Option key while you type the -n, then type -n again.

To type an umlaut over the -u, hold down the Option key while pressing the -u key then type -u again.

To type the upside-down punctuation marks, press the following keys all at once.

2. 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.

For Windows Vista

  1. Go to your Control Panel
  2. Click on "Clock, Language, Region”
  3. Click on "Change Keyboards"
  4. Click "Add" and Select "Spanish-International Sort"

For Windows XP:

  1. Go to your Control Panel
  2. Click on "Date, Time, Language, and Regional Options"
  3. Click on "Regional and Language Options"
  4. Select the "Languages" tab at the top
  5. Click on "Details" near the bottom
  6. Click "Add" and choose "Spanish-Traditional Sort"
  7. 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.

For Macs

  1. Go to your System Preferences
  2. Click on "International"
  3. Select the "Input Menu" tab
  4. Scroll down to select "Spanish - ISO"
  5. Note the keystrokes necessary to switch between languages OR Select "Show input menu in menu bar" to be able to click-select which keyboard you want to use.

Spanish-International Sort Keyboard Layout

Once you have installed your Spanish keyboard, it will react slightly differently than you are used to.

  • First, you will notice that when you type an apostrophe ( ' ), nothing happens. This is because if you type a vowel immediately after, you will get an accented vowel (-á, -é, -í, -ó, -ú). To get an apostrophe, push the key for the hyphen (to the right of the key for the number 0). You can see several other changes in the picture below.
  • The quotes ( " ) key behaves the same way as the apostrophe key in that it gives you the umlaut ( ¨ ) rather than quotes for the letter () in words like lingüística . To type in regular quotes, simply press shift, then the number 2.
  • The semicolon ( ; ) key has also been replaced by the . To type a regular semicolon, simply press shift, then the comma key.

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