How to Type Spanish Accents on a Keyboard

By Lester L'Fayette

To type correctly in Spanish, you need to know how to type Spanish accents on a keyboard. Omission of accent marks in Spanish is tantamount to a severe spelling or grammar mistake in English. If native Spanish speakers read what you write, they will surely notice any accent marks you neglect to include. If you run a Windows operating system, you will either have to reconfigure your keyboard for easy access to Spanish accents or learn multiple-entry keystrokes for each; Macintosh users need only remember a few keyboard shortcuts

Reconfiguring a Windows keyboard for Spanish accents

Step 1

Access the Control Panel by clicking the "Start" button in the lower left corner and then selecting "Control Panel." XP users should click on “Regional and Language Options” while Windows 7 and Vista users should click on “Clock, Language, Region.”

Step 2

Windows XP users, click the “Languages” tab and the “Details” button, then click the “Add” button. In the new window, select “United States – International,” click on “OK” and then “Apply.”Windows 7 and Vista users, click on “Change Keyboards.” In the new window, click the “Change Keyboards” button, add the “United States – International” keyboard and click “OK.” Then select “United States International” from the “Default Input Languages” drop-down menu.

Step 3

Use a punctuation mark followed by the desired letter to create Spanish accents. For example, when you want to type “á,” type an apostrophe and then the letter "a." For “é,” type an apostrophe and then the letter "e." The formula (apostrophe + letter) is the same for all vowels. For “ñ,” type "~" and then the letter "n." For “ü,” type a quotation mark and the letter "u."

Typing Spanish accents on a Mac keyboard

Step 1

To type an accented vowel in Spanish, key the following: "Option," the letter “e” and the desired vowel. For example, to create “ó,” type "Option" and the letter "e" simultaneously, then the letter "o." The rest of the vowels use the same formula.

Step 2

To type “ñ,” press "Option" and "n" simultaneously, then press the "n" key again.

Step 3

To create the “ü” character, hit "Option" and the letter "u" simultaneously, then press "u" again.

Tips & Warnings

  • Windows users, if you do not want to reconfigure your keyboard, see the "Resources" section of this article for a list of 4-digit codes you can use to create Spanish accents. While it may be tempting to avoid reconfiguring your keyboard settings through use of these codes, using the codes for each letter can be very cumbersome.
  • Mac users, make sure you press the "Option" key and the first of the two letters at the same time, release both keys, then press the last letter.