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Typing accents on a Mac keyboard.

I am aware that some Mac users will know this, but in case you don't know how to type accents on a Mac keyboard:

  1. Press and hold the letter you wish to make accented.
  2. You should see many accented options with a corresponding number. Type the number (for example, long press "a", then press 4 for "ä") to insert the accented character.
  3. Enjoy!
May 23, 2015



This discussion could also be of interest.


I must not understand, I can't get that to work. I get aaaaaaaaaaa4.

I can press "option" + "e" and get ´then I can type a letter under it like é ó ú or "option+n" to get that little worm over the n ñ. I don't know how to do the too little dots that you have.


The character accent menu is only available on Mac OS X 10.7 and newer. To enable it, open Terminal and give it the following command:

  • defaults write -g ApplePressAndHoldEnabled -bool true

Close Terminal, log out, and log back in again, and you should be able to use the method that ThompyAlpaca outlined above. Note that enabling the character accent menu means that you’ll be disabling character repetition by holding down a key.

The trema, ¨, can be entered with Option + u. The inverted Spanish punctuation marks can be entered this way:

  • ¿ — Shift + Option + /
  • ¡ — Option + 1


There are some Czech characters that don't appear in the popup. Any way to add them or generally customize the options?


If you’re comfortable with editing a property list file, yes. For an English language keyboard, you’ll need to edit the file

  • /System/Library/Input Methods/PressAndHold.app/Contents/Resources/Keyboard-en.plist

(It would be safest to keep a copy of the original file, if for some reason you ever needed to restore it.)

For example, to add the Czech letter ě, find the section in that file with the key “Roman-Accent-E”, and look for two keys within that section named “Keycaps” and “Strings”. Both strings associated with these keys have associated (capital) E letters. Add an Ě letter in the same place in both strings, separating it from the other E letters with a space. Save the file, log out, and log back in; ě should now appear in the popup when pressing and holding e.


Yes! Thanks for posting this!

I actually made these changes a few OSX revisions ago and one of the updates wiped my changes out and I couldn't find the file again.

Kind of amazing that someone hasn't posted an edited version of this file publicly. Maybe when I do it I'll post it.


I'm on Sierra; the file is not there. Turns out it's here:

/System/Library/Input Methods/PressAndHold.app/Contents/PlugIns/PAH_Extension.appex/Contents/Resources/Keyboard-en.plist


I did it, and it works, and I made a blog post about it:


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