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Typing accented characters

I always prefer doing Duolingo lessons on desktop browser, for the ease of cross-referencing, checking google translate and writing down new vocabulary on google docs. Most of all, my fingers are a bit too thick to type comfortably on smart phone keyboard without accidentally touching other keys.

The real pain is typing the accented characters in French. Unlike keyboards on smart phones (Android or iOS), Duolingo's built-in function in browser is just awful: only supports mouse-clicking, and every click the cursor will be moved to the end of sentence, even though the letter you want to alter is in the middle of sentence.

I have wasted so much of time shifting between keyboard and mouse, until I find out that Windows actually has a built-in layout for standard English keyboard that you can type accented characters! I came so close in paying and buying 3rd-party software for accented characters input.

Following web page teaches you how to add the US-international keyboard layout under Windows 10.


Example usage:

To type accent grave (à, è, etc), type ` (to the left of 1) then the vowel.

Accent aigu (é), type ' (single quote) then e.

Cédille (ç), type ' then c.

Circonflexe (ê), type ^ (shift + 6) then e.

Tréma (ö), type " (shift + ') then o.

To type French quotation marks « » use ctrl + alt + [ and ], respectively.

The disadvantage of the international keyboard is that when you want to type the single quote (') by itself rather than above a vowel, you have to type the symbol then hit the spacebar. For example, to type c'est, type c then ' then hit the spacebar then type e s t.

May 2, 2020



Ooh. Interesting. I didn't know you could do that either. What I did was to install French as a language along with the Canadian Multilingual Standard keyboard, then figured out and memorised where all the accented letters, symbols and punctuation marks are/how to make them. This seems easier. :')


Thanks for reminding me again!! I had forgotten how to do it


Personally I prefer to load the correct keyboard - then every character is just one key stroke like normal.


I am not quite sure what you mean. If I load a French keyboard, most of the keys show the wrong letter, and (at least so far as I can tell) you still need additional keystrokes to get to é, è, ê etc. Or have I got something wrong?


There are a range of keyboard layouts. You want the one that keeps all the English letters alone and puts the extra characters on the punctuation.


Commenting to add that a Chromebook's International keyboard is also very easy to install and use. I toggle between that and the Arabic keyboard for Duolingo.


If you are using a Mac (certainly with a UK keyboard, I cannot speak for US) the keystrokes are: opt-e then e to get é, opt-` then e to get è and opt-i then e to get ê (obviously if you type a different vowel you get à, ô etc.) opt-c (no additional c necessary) gives ç. For those doing German ü is from opt-u then u and so on.


I am using a Mac (US), and what I do is hold the e down, and then it opens a window with the options, keys 1-7. So for é, I push and hold e, and then type 2. For ê, I push and hold e, and then type 3.

So it still takes 2 typing strokes, but you don't have to memorize the shortcuts.


Yes, that is how I started doing it, and yes, it is good for those you/I can't remember, but it is so slooooow waiting for the options to arrive, that I find it much quicker to use the option keys. But you are absolutely right that it gives you all the options. Good hint.


Merci! I had to change the keyboard type twice, as the first time my settings glitched and my keyboard became non-QWERTY somehow, but the second time worked like a charm and it is much easier to type accents now.


Here a really helpful and detailed discussion → I can't type the accents!


From the first lines of that help file, "- Do you work in English and in another language from western Europe? (Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, German, Dutch, ...) - Does your Windows computer have a US-style keyboard? If you answered "Yes" to both questions,"

Which of course doesn't help those of us not using US keyboards. To be honest, on devices with physical keyboards, I tend to use the character map. If I'm having to write more than a few words, I install the keyboard and print out a map for it.

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