July 8, 2008

Typing Portuguese Accents (Keyboard shortcuts)

Are you ready to get serious and start typing accents? Not only will your accented text look somewhat cool, but you will also be able to type correct Portuguese and get some important distinctions, like the difference between avô (grandfather) and avó (grandmother)... or coco and cocô !*

On a Mac, it is very easy to type accents, even without any configuration (setting up a keyboard etc.) necessary. You just have to remember the 5 combinations below (press keys in the square brackets at the same time and then type a vowel):

[Option n] = tilde (til) e.g.: não
[Option `] = grave accent (crase) e.g. Fui à escola. (I went to the school)
[Option e] = acute (acento agudo) e.g.: café
[Option i] = circumflex (acento circunflexo) e.g.: você
[Option c] = cedilla (cê cedilha) e.g. força (strength)

These should work with all applications, including word and browsers in Internet Cafes, and you should remember them in no time if you use them (it works for me! ˆ´˜ç :-)).

On Windows, unfortunately it is harder to just use the immediately available shortcuts. This is because they have separate codes for each combination of vowel, case and accent, so there are more codes to type and remember... but here are the codes anyway (press the Alt Key at the same as the codes below on the number keypad only):

á 0225, Á 0193, à 0224, À 0192, â 0226, Â 0194, ã 0227, Ã 0195
é 0233, É 0201, ê 0234, Ê 0202
í 0237, Í 0205
ó 0243, Ó 0211, õ 0245, Õ 0213, ô 0244, Ô 0212
ú 0250, Ú 0218
ç 0231, Ç 0199

... So Windows users usually set up an international or Brazilian Keyboard first, which you can quickly learn how to do here (Brazilian), here or here (International)**. Once an international keyboard is set up, the key combinations become easy and more intutitive (press keys in square brackets at the same time, followed by a vowel):

[Shift ~] = tilde (til)
[`] = grave accent (crase)
[' ](apostrophe) = acute (acento agudo)
[Shift ^] = circumflex (acento circunflexo)
[RightAlt c] = cedilla (cê cedilha)

Want to try it out? Leave a comment with accents!

*Digresssion for advanced learners only... you may be entertained by these discussions on Brazilians confused by these words.
** For setting up a Brazilian keyboard on a Mac, see this page.


  1. On Linux / Ubuntu you can insert any Unicode characters with Shift+Control+U+(code):

    The codes are:

    À:C0 Á:C1 Â:C2 Ã:C3 Ç:C7 É:C9 Ê:CA
    Í:CD Ó:D3 Õ:D5 Ô:D4 Ú:DA

    à:E0 á:E1 â:E2 ã:E3 ç:E7 é:E9 ê:EA
    í:ED ó:F3 õ:F5 ô:F4 ú:FA

    On OpenOffice you have to press Enter before letting go of Shift and control too.

    But there is an easier way: spell check :) Ubuntu has support for about a zillion languages and it all works in Firefox, OpenOffice, Thunderbird etc. Just right-click the word to fix.

  2. Oi Ananda. Estou com um problema e gostaria de saber se vc teria a solução. Já configurei meu teclado no laptop para ABNT2, ok, mas não consigo inserir interrogação e barra... Vc tem alguma dica? Estou pensando em comprar um teclado USB em português avulso, mas não consigo encontrar aqui em NY, onde moro. Vc sabe de algum lugar que venda?
    Obrigado pela atenção, Pedro.

  3. Oi Pedro! Desculpa a demora para responder (estive meio fora do ar). Demorou tanto que talvez você já tenha encontrado a solução, não é? Qual é o seu environment? Como eu uso um Mac em casa, eu uso os shortcuts acima, com o teclado U.S. mesmo... vou ter que pesquizar um pouquinho... Mas por enquanto, aqui está uma link (não sei se vai ajudar):


    Se você já tiver uma solução, se importa compartilhar com o pessoal aqui?

  4. I’m on a PC, using Vista, so in order to type accents, I change my keyboard layout to: U.S. International. From the Control Panel, click on Regional and Language Options, then Keyboards and Languages tab, then Change Keyboard, then Add a Language and select Portuguese (Brazilian ABNT2). Now to type an accent on the letter “a”, you type the apostrophe key (’), then the letter “a”, which gives you: “á”.

  5. I’ve found the MS Word spell-check and grammar tools to be very helpful when typing in Portuguese. In order to access the tools, you have to buy a Single Language Pack for Portuguese, which is $25. You can get it here:

    It has a thesaurus too :)

  6. When reading or typing in Portuguese, I find Babylon to be an amazingly helpful tool...it’s an online dictionary and translation software. When reading in Portuguese, you can mouse over a word and with one click it will tell you the meaning. If you are writing in Portuguese and you don’t know a word, you just type it in English and it gives you the word in Portuguese along with the definition and several other useful entries. You can try it for free, but then you have to pay about $90, but it is totally worth it. I use it constantly! Check it out:

  7. Awesome site!
    Have been struggling without it for a while!
    Good on ya!

  8. my old laptop brings an american keyboard and even using English (us) language layout, I will have: (I'm using windows vista)

    shift + 6 = ^ ... shift + 6 + e = ê
    comma + c = ç
    comma + a = á
    comma + o = ó
    comma + e = é
    and tilde (~) and ( ` ) I have the keys...

  9. I have an English keyboard and I want to be able to type Portuguese accents. I have set up symbols in word with shortcut, but these don't work on the web (like in this box) or on msn messenger. I don't understand how to set them up. I have tried the codes on this page but nothing works on my keyboard, and I don't seem to be able to change the settings of my keyboard (I obviously still mainly want to type in English with my keyboard, but just want to be able to put accents on words when typing in Portuguese).

  10. In MS Word 2007 (and Vista) on an English keyboard, I'm able to:
    ctrl + ' + a = á
    ctrl + ` + a = à
    ctrl + ,(comma) + c = ç
    ctrl + shift + ~ + a = ã

    You don't have to hold all the keys down at once just type them sequentially making sure you type the ctrl and the ' (or ` or , etc) as if you were using the shift key to get a capital letter. I've found you can get quite quick at it and not even have to look! Good luck.

  11. on my laptop how do i get `~,^ on

  12. Hi Ananda! Is there an update for new iMacs? These shortcuts (for the vowels) don't seem to work with my keyboard...
    Um abraço,

  13. Oi Elena! I just bought a new Mac (last week) and they work on mine (no adjustments needed...). Are you using the default out of the box settings (American English everything)?

  14. Ananda, muito útil as suas dicas. A partir de agora estarei usando as sequências de tecla para acentuar as palavras. Por acaso, você teria algum link na internet onde eu possa acessar as "novas" regras de ortografia?

  15. Hi Ananda, I manage to write with accents, but when I send an email to some people with a PC, I can see when I get a reply from them that the accents turned into weird symbols on their computers. Is there a way to stop this from happening? Thank you.

  16. Hi there! I actually don't know much about the accents on PCs :-(, but I will try to see if I find anything on this! Not nice when you have those weird symbols. What font do you use on your outgoing mail? Let us know if you find anything on this!

  17. Thanks it was really helpfull!!!!!

  18. Descobri dois shotcuts no teclado ABNT2
    Coquei esse o ABNT2 no meu samsung com teclado americano

    Ctrl+Alt+w = ?
    Ctrl+Alt+q = /



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