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I'm sure I've either heard this on the MacCast or possibly wandered across this functionality while ambling around OS X but can't seem to locate it again and I'm beginning to think it was all a dream...


Here's what I want to achieve: I want to be able to bring up a keyboard on my screen in the hope that this will aid typing characters that have accents on them.


If this is not the right way to go about this, where do I need to look to be able to type characters with accents? I'm relatively new to the Mac community and it just gets better and better.


Thanks for any help



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It'll help get you started learning which accent marks are associated with which characters, but once you use them for a while you start to memorize them. For example I know that the umlaut in on the u key. So to type this ü I hold option, push u and then push which ever vowel I want to put the umlaut over. Another one is to use this accent é á which is obtained from pushing e while holding option and then choosing the vowel I want to put the accent over.


Anyway, to answer you question, more directly, go to your sytem preferences and select international (top row) and then check the box next to show keyboard viewer. This will place the input menu item in your menu bar so in the future you can use that menu item to show the keyboard viewer.


Have fun, and welcome to the Mac.



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Here are some accents that combine with the vowels a, e, u, i and o:

Alt + e -> adds accent aigu to the next vowel (á, é, ú, í, ó, and Á, É, Ú, Í, Ó)

Alt + ` -> adds accent grave to the next vowel (à, è, ù, ì, ò, and À, È, Ù, Ì, Ò)

Alt + i -> adds an accent circonflexe to the next vowel (â, ê, û, î, ô, and Â, Ê, Û, Î, Ô)

Here is an accent that combines with the vowels a, e, u, i and o, together with the letter y:

Alt + u -> adds an umlaut to the next vowel, plus y (ä, ë, ÿ, ü, ï, ö, and Ä, Ë, Ÿ, Ü, Ï, Ö)

Here are some additional accents:

Alt + n -> adds a tilde to one of the
characters (ñ, õ, ã, and Ñ, Õ, Ã)

Alt + c -> c cedille (ç and Ç)

There are also an important ligature you want to know of.

Alt + s -> German Ringel-S (ß)

In German, the Ringel-S is different from two consecutive letters s.


And then there are special characters for Scandinavian accent letters and ligatures, which are often a combination of the option key and a letter key (see here for more info about those Scandinavian special characters).


You can see the possible combinations highlighted in the on-screen keyboard, however, it's more productive to learn them by heart and lots of practice.


However, not all characters can be represented by typing key combinations. For those characters, you need to open the character palette. You can open this palette in Finder with the menu Edit -> Special Characters, or by setting up your International tab in system preferences so, that there appears a menu item in the menu bar at the top of the screen in the form of a flag, and if you click on it, one of menu items will be Character Palette. Read this article on the Apple website how to do this for your version of Mac OS X.

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Ignoracious that's an impressively comprehensive reply, cheers.


almighty_apork, I found the 'keyboard viewer' and also checked the 'character map' box. After taking a look at the character map it looked familiar from my time exploring OS X. I then realised it appears on all applications under the 'Edit' tab within 'special characters' this method should suffice for what I need.


The shortcuts will come in very handy.


Thanks guys.

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