How to Type Accents in Italian on a Keyboard

Learn how to type accent marks over vowels

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

Suppose 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.” Many words in Italian need accent marks, and while you could just ignore all those symbols, it’s actually quite easy to type them on a computer keyboard.

You only need to make a few simple adjustments to your computer's keyboard program—whether you have a Mac or a PC—and you'll be able to insert accented Italian characters (è, é, ò, à, ù) for any electronic message.

If You Have a Mac

If you an Apple Macintosh computer, the steps for creating accent marks in Italian are quite simple.

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

You can also choose "Show Keyboard Viewer" from the flag icon drop-down to see all of the keys.

If you have a PC

Using Windows 10, you can actually turn your keyboard into a device that will type Italian letters, accent marks and all.

Method 1:

From the desktop:

  1. Choose "Control Panels"
  2. Go to the Clock, Language, Region option.
  3. Select (click on) "Add a Language"
  4. A screen with dozens of language options will appear. Choose "Italian."

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

Consult the Italian Language Character Chart for the correct numbers.

Tips and Hints

An upper-pointing accent, as in the character á, is called l'accento acuto, while a downward-pointing accent, as in the character à, is called l'accento grave.

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, such as in the sentence: Lui e’ un uomo simpatico, which means, "He’s a nice guy."

If you want to type without having to use codes or shortcuts, use a website, such as this one from Italian.typeit.org, a very handy free site that provides typing symbols in a variety of languages, including Italian. You simply click on the letters you want and then copy and paste what you've written onto a word-processing document or email.