ALT shortcuts for accents in European languages

NOTE: this article is about Windows. I have never tried this on Unix.

How do we type the following accented characters?

è, é, à, etc

Method 1

You can go to Control Panel > Region and Language > Keyboards and Languages > Change Keyboards… > Add…

Do it for French, German, Hungarian… Whoa! Are you that much of a polyglot?

Method 2

If you are and you want to type all the accented characters (è, é, à, etc) at once without changing your US QWERTY keyboard, ALT key is the alternative. For example, hold the ALT key, type 138, release ALT and voila! Oh, sorry… Voilà! Voilà the violènt violét vïola.

Here are the most common accented characters in European languages (LET ME KNOW IF I AM MISSING SOMETHING IMPORTANT!)


The most common non-ASCII characters in French are e-acute (é), e-grave (è), e-circumflex (ê), a-grave (à), c-cedile (ç). Once in a while the word “naïve” will pop up. Very rarely you will use other circumflex: î, û, â, ô.

  • é – ALT+130
  • è – ALT+138
  • ê – ALT+136
  • à – ALT+133
  • ç – ALT+135
  • ï – ALT+139
  • î – ALT+140
  • û – ALT+150
  • â – ALT+131
  • ô – ALT+147
  • ë – ALT+137 (I don’t remember the last time I saw this but I am sure you can use the regular e for this one!)


The most common accents in German are the u and o umlauts, i.e. ü, ö, sometimes ä. To pronounce them you usually stretch your lips out like you want to kiss somebody. Germans also use a strange, non Latin character ß which comes from fusing together the pair “fs”. It is pronounced as a harsh double S. for example, straße, pronounced “shtrasse”.

  • ü – ALT+129
  • ö – ALT+148
  • ä – ALT+132
  • ß – ALT+225


Spanish uses many acute (forward) accents whenever the accent in a 2+ syllable word does not fall on the penultimate (second-last) syllable.

  • é – ALT+130
  • á – ALT+160
  • í – ALT+161
  • ó – ALT+162
  • ú – ALT+163


The most common one is è which is “is”, i.e. 3rd person of the verb “to be”, very common. Sometimes you see à, especially in irregular verbs.

  • è – ALT+138
  • à – ALT+133


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