Tip sheet on special characters

This page will show users (of the Windows or Macintosh OS X operating systems), having a western european “standard” keyboard (showing the latin alphabet), how to generate other characters they might not see on the keyboard. For example a US keyboard will not show accented letters as used in French. A French keyboard will show accented letters common in French, but not accented letters used in Spanish. And so on… You can read the instructions below, or skip directly to the chart.

Special characters on Macintosh (Apple keyboards)

On MacOS, the option key functions as a modifier key like the shift key. Hold it down and press another key simultaneously. For shift+option, hold down both the shift and option keys and press the additional letter key simultaneously.

Special characters on Windows (PC keyboards)

On Windows, the Alt key functions as a modifier like the Shift key. To make special characters, hold down the Alt key and type in the numbers from the numeric keypad. Note that on the some small keyboards (e.g. laptop keybaords) the “numeric keypad” is found by pressing the NumLock key and then looking for the keys on your keyboard that double as numeric keypad keys when in NumLock mode.

Software to help you find special characters

Macintosh OS x

On Macintosh OS X, you can use the operating system’s character palette to find special characters. Press command+option+T to make the character palette window appear.

The character palette will also show up as a menu item in the keyboard menu if the keyboard menu is displayed in the top right of your menu bar. The keyboard menu shows as a flag corresponding to the currently active keyboard layout.

See Apple support document Enter special characters and symbols.


For Windows, use the Character Map application, available from the Start Menu (look in System Tools).

See Microsoft document Using special characters (Character Map): frequently asked questions.

Third-party software

(Note: I’m mentioning a useful little program because I use it at home on my Macintosh, and at work on a Windows machine; it helps you find a special character when you forget the key combination for it. Here’s how the author describes it:

If you don’t want to remember all these numbers, you should try the little shareware utility PopChar from ergonis software. One click, and PopChar displays a table of all characters of the current font. Select the desired character and it instantly appears in your document. You can also insert HTML symbols. PopChar is available for Macintosh OS X and Windows.)

Characters not listed on this page

For more HTML number codes, see Character entity references in HTML 4. For any characters not listed here, you can look at the Unicode character set, which is a whole subject in itself. Suffice it to say that any modern computer operating system and/or web browser can handle Unicode characters and Unicode documents: generating those characters is the tricky part.

Special character chart for western european characters

How to use this chart

You can use the html name or number codes in an HTML document (i.e. a webpage or an e-mail that uses HTML format.)

For Macintosh: press the keys as shown. for example “shift+option+w” means press down the shift key, the option key, and the w key all at the same time. “option+e E” means press down the option key and the e key at the same time, then press the E key (capital E).

Western european special characters and how to enter them from your keyboard
HTML Name Code HTML Number Code Glyph MacOS Windows Description
‘ ‘ option+] Alt+0145 left single quote
’ ’ shift+option+] Alt+0146 right single quote
‚ ‚     single low-9 quote
“ “ option+[ Alt+0147 left double quote
” ” shift+option+[ Alt+0148 right double quote
„ „ shift+option+w   double low-9 quote
† † option+t Alt+0134 dagger
‡ ‡ shift+option+7 Alt+0135 double dagger
  … option+;   horizontal ellipsis
‰ ‰ shift+option+r Alt+0137 per mill sign
‹ ‹ shift+option+3 Alt+0139 single left-pointing angle quote
› › shift+option+4 Alt+0155 single right-pointing angle quote
♠ ♠     black spade suit
♣ ♣     black club suit
♥ ♥     black heart suit
♦ ♦     black diamond suit
‾ ‾     overline, = spacing overscore
← ←     leftward arrow
↑ ↑     upward arrow
→ →     rightward arrow
↓ ↓     downward arrow
™ ™ option+2 Alt+0153 trademark sign
" " "     double quotation mark
& & &     ampersand
&lt; &#60; <     less-than sign
&gt; &#62; >     greater-than sign
  &#91; [     left square bracket
  &#93; ]     right square bracket
&ndash; &#150; option+hyphen Alt+0150 en dash
&mdash; &#151; shift+option+hyphen Alt+0151 em dash
&nbsp; &#160;     Alt+0160 nonbreaking space
&iexcl; &#161; ¡ option+1 Alt+0161 inverted exclamation
&cent; &#162; ¢ option+4 Alt+0162 cent sign
&pound; &#163; £ option+3 Alt+0163 pound sterling
&curren; &#164; ¤   Alt+0164 general currency sign
&yen; &#165; ¥ option+y Alt+0165 yen sign
&brvbar; or &brkbar; &#166; ¦   Alt+0166 broken vertical bar
&sect; &#167; § option+6 Alt+0167 section sign
&uml; or &die; &#168; ¨ shift+option+u Alt+0168 umlaut
&copy; &#169; © option+g Alt+0169 copyright
&ordf; &#170; ª option+9 Alt+0170 feminine ordinal
&laquo; &#171; « option+\ Alt+0171 left angle quote
&not; &#172; ¬ option+l Alt+0172 not sign
&shy; &#173; ­   Alt+0173 soft hyphen
&reg; &#174; ® option+r Alt+0174 registered trademark
&macr; or &hibar; &#175; ¯   Alt+0175 macron accent
&deg; &#176; ° shift+option+8 Alt+0176 degree sign
&plusmn; &#177; ± shift+option+= Alt+0177 plus or minus
&sup2; &#178; ²   Alt+0178 superscript two
&sup3; &#179; ³   Alt+0179 superscript three
&acute; &#180; ´ shift+option+e Alt+0180 acute accent
&micro; &#181; µ option+m Alt+0181 micro sign
&para; &#182; option+7 Alt+0182 paragraph sign
&middot; &#183; · shift+option+9 Alt+0183 middle dot
&cedil; &#184; ¸ shift+option+z Alt+0184 cedilla
&sup1; &#185; ¹   Alt+0185 superscript one
&ordm; &#186; º option+0 Alt+0186 masculine ordinal
&raquo; &#187; » shift+option+\ Alt+0187 right angle quote
&frac14; &#188; ¼   Alt+0188 one-fourth
&frac12; &#189; ½   Alt+0189 one-half
&frac34; &#190; ¾   Alt+0190 three-fourths
&iquest; &#191; ¿ shift+option+? Alt+0191 inverted question mark
&Agrave; &#192; À option+` A Alt+0192 uppercase A, grave accent
&Aacute; &#193; Á option+e A Alt+0193 uppercase A, acute accent
&Acirc; &#194; Â option+i A Alt+0194 uppercase A, circumflex accent
&Atilde; &#195; Ã option+n A Alt+0195 uppercase A, tilde
&Auml; &#196; Ä option+u A Alt+0196 uppercase A, umlaut
&Aring; &#197; Å shift+option+a Alt+0197 uppercase A, ring
&AElig; &#198; Æ shift+option+' Alt+0198 uppercase AE
&Ccedil; &#199; Ç shift+option+c Alt+0199 uppercase C, cedilla
&Egrave; &#200; È option+` E Alt+0200 uppercase E, grave accent
&Eacute; &#201; É option+e E Alt+0201 uppercase E, acute accent
&Ecirc; &#202; Ê option+i E Alt+0202 uppercase E, circumflex accent
&Euml; &#203; Ë option+u E Alt+0203 uppercase E, umlaut
&Igrave; &#204; Ì option+` I Alt+0204 uppercase I, grave accent
&Iacute; &#205; Í option+e I Alt+0205 uppercase I, acute accent
&Icirc; &#206; Î option+i I Alt+0206 uppercase I, circumflex accent
&Iuml; &#207; Ï option+u I Alt+0207 uppercase I, umlaut
&ETH; &#208; Ð   Alt+0208 uppercase Eth, Icelandic
&Ntilde; &#209; Ñ option+n N Alt+0209 uppercase N, tilde
&Ograve; &#210; Ò option+` O Alt+0210 uppercase O, grave accent
&Oacute; &#211; Ó option+e O Alt+0211 uppercase O, acute accent
&Ocirc; &#212; Ô option+i O Alt+0212 uppercase O, circumflex accent
&Otilde; &#213; Õ option+n O Alt+0213 uppercase O, tilde
&Ouml; &#214; Ö option+u O Alt+0214 uppercase O, umlaut
&times; &#215; ×   Alt+0215 multiplication sign
&Oslash; &#216; Ø shift+option+o Alt+0216 uppercase O, slash
&Ugrave; &#217; Ù option+` U Alt+0217 uppercase U, grave accent
&Uacute; &#218; Ú option+e U Alt+0218 uppercase U, acute accent
&Ucirc; &#219; Û option+i U Alt+0219 uppercase U, circumflex accent
&Uuml; &#220; Ü option+u U Alt+0220 uppercase U, umlaut
&Yacute; &#221; Ý   Alt+0221 uppercase Y, acute accent
&THORN; &#222; Þ   Alt+0222 uppercase THORN, Icelandic
&szlig; &#223; ß option+s Alt+0223 lowercase sharps, German
&agrave; &#224; à option+` a Alt+0224 lowercase a, grave accent
&aacute; &#225; á option+e a Alt+0225 lowercase a, acute accent
&acirc; &#226; â option+i a Alt+0226 lowercase a, circumflex accent
&atilde; &#227; ã option+n a Alt+0227 lowercase a, tilde
&auml; &#228; ä option+u a Alt+0228 lowercase a, umlaut
&aring; &#229; å option+a Alt+0229 lowercase a, ring
&aelig; &#230; æ option+' Alt+0230 lowercase ae
&ccedil; &#231; ç option+c Alt+0231 lowercase c, cedilla
&egrave; &#232; è option+` e Alt+0232 lowercase e, grave accent
&eacute; &#233; é option+e e Alt+0233 lowercase e, acute accent
&ecirc; &#234; ê option+i e Alt+0234 lowercase e, circumflex accent
&euml; &#235; ë option+u e Alt+0235 lowercase e, umlaut
&igrave; &#236; ì option+` i Alt+0236 lowercase i, grave accent
&iacute; &#237; í option+e i Alt+0237 lowercase i, acute accent
&icirc; &#238; î option+i i Alt+0238 lowercase i, circumflex accent
&iuml; &#239; ï option+u i Alt+0239 lowercase i, umlaut
&eth; &#240; ð   Alt+0240 lowercase eth, Icelandic
&ntilde; &#241; ñ option+n n Alt+0241 lowercase n, tilde
&ograve; &#242; ò option+` o Alt+0242 lowercase o, grave accent
&oacute; &#243; ó option+e o Alt+0243 lowercase o, acute accent
&ocirc; &#244; ô option+i o Alt+0244 lowercase o, circumflex accent
&otilde; &#245; õ option+n o Alt+0245 lowercase o, tilde
&ouml; &#246; ö option+u o Alt+0246 lowercase o, umlaut
&divide; &#247; ÷   Alt+0247 division sign
&oslash; &#248; ø option+o Alt+0248 lowercase o, slash
&ugrave; &#249; ù option+` u Alt+0249 lowercase u, grave accent
&uacute; &#250; ú option+e u Alt+0250 lowercase u, acute accent
&ucirc; &#251; û option+i u Alt+0251 lowercase u, circumflex accent
&uuml; &#252; ü option+u u Alt+0252 lowercase u, umlaut
&yacute; &#253; ý   Alt+0253 lowercase y, acute accent
&thorn; &#254; þ   Alt+0254 lowercase thorn, Icelandic
&yuml; &#255; ÿ option+u y Alt+0255 lowercase y, umlaut