How To Type Accents in Italian on a Keyboard

Learn how to type accent marks over vowels in Italian

Close-up of computer keyboard
Close-up of computer keyboard. Charles Ghazanfari / EyeEm

You’re writing to an Italian friend, and you want to say something like “Di dov’è la tua famiglia? - Where is your family from?”, but you don’t know how to type the accent over the “e.”

This can happen with tons of words in Italian, and while you could just ignore all those pesky accents, it’s actually quite easy to type them on a computer keyboard.

This lesson will show you how to insert accented Italian characters (è, é, ò, à, ù) in any electronic message.

If you have a Mac

Method 1:

To place an accent over…

  • à = option + tilde (~) / then press the ‘a’ key
  • è = option + tilde (~) / then press the ‘e’ key
  • é = option + ‘e’ key / then press the ‘e’ key again
  • ò = option + tilde (~) / then press the ‘o’ key
  • ù = option + tilde (~) / then press the ‘u’ key

Method 2:

  1. Click on the Apple icon on the top left of the screen.
  2. Click System Preferences.
  3. Choose Keyboard.
  4. Choose Input Sources.
  5. Click the addition button on the bottom left of the screen.
  6. Choose Italian.
  7. Click Add.
  8. In the top right hand corner of your desktop, click on the symbol of the American flag.
  9. Choose the Italian flag.

Your keyboard is now in Italian, but that means you have a whole new set of keys to learn.

  • Semicolon key (;) = ò
  • Apostrophe key (‘) = à
  • Left bracket key ([) = è
  • Shift + left bracket key ([) = é
  • Backslash key (\) = ù

TIP: You can also choose Show Keyboard Viewer from the flag icon dropdown to see all of the keys.

If you have a PC

Method 1:

  1. Select the Start menu, then select Settings, then select Control Panel.

  2. Next, choose the Keyboard option and click on the Language tab.

  3. Click the button and choose Italian. An icon will appear in the tray field. Toggle between English and Italian keyboards as needed.

Method 2:

  1. With the NumLock key on, hold down the ALT key and strike the three- or four-digit code sequence on the keypad for the desired characters. For example, to type à, the code would be “ALT + 0224.” There will be different codes for capitalized and lowercase letters.

  1. Release the ALT key and the accented letter will appear.

NOTE: Consult the Italian Language Character Chart for the correct numbers.

Tips:

  1. An upper-pointing accent, as in the character á, is called l'accento acuto.

  2. A downward-pointing accent, as in the character à, is called l'accento grave.

  3. You may also see Italians using an apostrophe after the letter ‘e’ instead of typing the accent above it. While this isn’t technically correct, it’s widely accepted. E.g. Lui e’ un uomo simpatico. - He’s a nice guy.  

  4. If you want to type without having to use codes or shortcuts, use a site like this.

  5. Learn how to type characters on your smartphone here.