A safe way to type French accents on a PC is by using the ALT key and the code associated to the letter. Hold the ALT key and enter the number on the number pad.

à = Alt + 133
â = Alt + 131
é = Alt + 130
è = Alt + 138
ê = Alt + 136
ë = Alt + 137
î = Alt + 140
ï = Alt + 139
ô = Alt + 147
œ = Alt + 0156
ù = Alt + 151
û = Alt + 150
ç = Alt + 135

À = Alt + 0192
 = Alt + 0194
É = Alt + 0201
È = Alt + 0200
Ê = Alt + 0202
Ë = Alt + 0203
Î = Alt + 0206
Ï = Alt + 0207
Ô = Alt + 0212
Π= Alt + 0140
Ù = Alt + 0217

Û = Alt + 0219
Ç = Alt + 0199

Click here for a popup that you can refer to while you work. You can also print it and tape it to the side of your screen. Right click in the window and choose "Print".


A very easy tool to use is Lexibar.

You can drag the letters or double-click and paste them with Ctrl-V.

Another easy program to use is AX. AX allows you to alter any character's accent always using the same key. This applies to symbols as well. For example 2 then F8 gives ², e then F8 gives é, pressing F8 again gives ê and again gives è and so on. There is no need to remember any key combinations or use different keys for doing what is basically the same thing for example à, È « and ì are all created by typing the base character then F8 as required.

At home, I used AllChars for many years. I highly recommend it as well. Here's how it works. Type <Ctrl>, (but don't hold it down). Then AllChars will take the next TWO characters you type and substitute another in their place. For example: type <Ctrl> (and release it !) followed by <`> and <e> and you get an <è>. Use the SHIFT key for the accents on the capital letters. You can double-click on the icon in the systray (bottom right) in order to view the sequence you have to use to produce the accents.

The most important keys are...

Ctrl + ` + letter = è, à, ...
Ctrl + + letter = é
Ctrl + , + letter = ç
Ctrl + " + letter = ë, ï, ...
Ctrl + ^ + letter = ê, â, ...


french.typeit.org - This page allows you to easily type French accents and other French characters without a French keyboard. With Internet Explorer, Press Ctrl + Letter repeatedly until you get the right symbol. For example, to type ë, press Ctrl+E four times. Stop the mouse over each button to see its keyboard shortcut. Hold Shift for upper case: http://french.typeit.org/.

CopyPasteCharacter.com is an great site that automatically copies special characters you click on to your clipboard.

editez - If you want a more complete online text editor and you use Internet Explorer 5.5+ for Windows, you can go to editez, my online plain text editor. It has French buttons as well that you can press when needed. When you're finished with your text, use the save button to save your file as text or HTML:



It's pretty easy on a Mac. Hold the Option key and type the second character, release and then type the letter. Use the SHIFT key for the accents on the capital letters:

à = Option-` + a
â = Option-i + a
é = Option-e + e
è = Option-` + e
ê = Option-i + e
ë = Option-u + e
î = Option-i + i
ï = Option-u + i
ô = Option-i + o
ù = Option-` + u
û = Option-i + u
ç = Option-c

À = Option-` + Shift-a
Â= Option-i + Shift-a
É= Option-e + Shift-e
È= Option-` + Shift-e
Ê= Option-i + Shift-e
Ë= Option-u + Shift-e
Î= Option-i + Shift-i
Ï= Option-u + Shift-i
Ô= Option-i + Shift-o
Ù= Option-` + Shift-u
Û= Option-i + Shift-u
Ç= Option-Shift-c

United States—International

The precise technique for making this change differs for different Microsoft Windows platforms. In Windows XP, launch the Regional and Language Options applet from Control Panel, then click on the Languages tab, the Details button, and finally on Add. Check the box labeled Keyboard layout/IME, select United States—International, and click on OK. In the Default input language pane, select English (United States)—United States International. The process is similar in Windows 2000, but you start by launching Keyboard from Control Panel, clicking on Input Locales, and then clicking on Change. In Windows 98 or Me, launch Keyboard from Control Panel, click on the Language tab and then Properties, then select the United States—International keyboard layout.

With the new keyboard layout active, the single quote, double quote (representing the umlaut), back quote, circumflex (^), and tilde characters become "dead keys." When you type one of them, nothing happens. If the next character is one that can accept the specified accent, the accented character appears. If not, both characters appear.

To type one of the dead-key characters alone, you must press the space key after it. To type a dead-key character followed by a space, you type the character and two spaces. In addition, the right-hand Alt key causes many other keys to generate special characters. For example Alt+c gets a copyright symbol ©, Alt+5 produces the euro sign ¤, and Alt+1 inserts a Spanish-style upside-down exclamation point: ¡.

Good luck!