Typing in Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word in Windows allows for the use of diacritics like accents with simple key combinations. Some of these techniques can also be used on a Macintosh. The simplicity of the key combinations means that Word may be your easiest method of typing in your language using Windows. You can type in Word and then copy-paste text written in Word into other programs or your browser for internet-based activities. After reading this page you will be able to find a wide varity of special characters and create key combinations to enter those characters. There is also a chart at the end with the common character key combination options.

Insert a Character

You can find and enter a wide variety of symbols and special characters in Word. Once you have found a character you can add a keyboard shortcut for that character.

Find a Character

Select InsertSymbolAdvanced Symbol. Word will then open the table of characters from which you can choose your desired character. If you do not see the character you need, change the font type. Normal text should display the necessary options for most Western European languages. For other characters, browse the other font options. Select the desired character and hit Insert.

Add a Keyboard Shortcut

For repeated use of a symbol in Word, you may want to use or even customize the Keyboard Shortcut for the symbol. To do so, first go to InsertSymbolAdvanced Symbol and follow the steps for Finding a Character to find your desired character.

Many symbols already have an assigned shortcut as seen in the Common Characters, but if you do not see a shortcut, or wish to create your own, select Keyboard Shortcut. This will open a new window (Press new keyboard shortcut). From here you can assign new and unique shortcuts. To save these changes, click Assign.

Common Characters

Table Notes:

When the keys are separated by the plus (+) sign, press and hold down the keys one after another in order, then release. If the two sets of keys are separated by a comma (,) release all the keys in front of the comma before pressing the second set.

To create "á" for example, you would press and hold down the control key, then hit the ' button. (This will make it so the next vowel typed is topped with an acute accent, but one will not appear until you actually press the letter over which you want the accent to appear.) Release all keys, then press the "a" to add the "a" below the accent.

´Acute accent Control + ' (" without shift) , Any vowel key
`Grave accent Control + ` (~ without shift) , Any vowel key
¨ Umlaut Control + : (Shift + ;) , Any character
~ Tilde Control + ~ (Shift + `) , Any character
ˆCircumflex Control + ^ (Shift + 6) , Any character
¡Inverted exclamation point Control + Alt + ! (Shift + 1)
¿Inverted question mark Control + Alt + ? (Shift + /)
«Left-pointing angular quote mark Control + ` , Shift + < (Shift + ,)
»Right-pointing angular quote mark Control + ` , Shift + > (Shift + .)
ßEszett Control + & (Shift + 7) , s
çc-cedilla Control + , (actual comma) , c
øSlashed o Control + / , o
œEthel Control + & (Shift + 7) , o
æAsh Control + & (Shift + 7) , a
åRinged a Control + @ (Shift + 2) , o