How do I type Portuguese accents? This is a common question for learners, since if you’re like myself (Joel), you primarily use an English keyboard.
To help you make the transition to typing accented characters in Portuguese, our Lessons include an accent toolbar that should appear at the bottom of the screen, whenever you’re asked to type.
The aforementioned accent toolbar is hidden on mobile devices, because on modern iOS (iPhone / iPad / iPod Touch) and Android devices, there is an easier way. Simply press and hold on any vowel (on your software keyboard), then slide your finger over to the correct character, and release. This should work regardless of whether or not you have the Portuguese keyboard enabled in settings.
As mentioned above, you can use our accent toolbar on the site, but we recommend learning how to create the accents yourself early on so that it becomes second nature. You obviously won’t have the luxury of using an accent toolbar when you’re writing an email or in most of your other apps!
In many cases, it’s the same as on mobile: you can just hold down the letter you want on your keyboard until you see options pop up for the accented versions. Then select the corresponding number. If that doesn’t work, or you’d prefer a different method, see the instructions below for Mac and Windows.
Typing accents on a Mac happens to be quite easy, to the point where even when typing in Portuguese, I am much more comfortable using my English keyboard than when I try to use a native Portuguese keyboard… it’s just a matter of getting used to a few key commands.
Once you practice and train your muscle memory for a week or so, it’s really just a matter of holding down one extra key than if you had an actual Portuguese keyboard, (with the benefit of not having to unlearn a lifetime of using an English keyboard layout!).
Step 1: Hold down the Option key (located a couple keys to the left of the spacebar)
Step 2: Type one of letters below to “tell” your system which accent you need.
- Tilde ˜ = Option n
- Acute ´ = Option e
- Grave ` = Option `
- Circumflex ˆ = Option i
- Cedilha ç = Option c
Step 3: Release those keys and then type the letter you want to apply the accent to.
- To type ã as in pão: Option n (release) a
- To type é as in café: Option e (release) e
- To type à as in Vou à escola: Option ` (release) a
- To type ê as in mês: Option i (release) e
- To type ç as in peço: Option c (no need to hit c again for this one!)
Update: Thanks to tips from our members, we’re able to update this section with an easier method: setting up your keyboard to QWERTY International / US International). To find this setting on Windows 10, go to Settings > Time&Language > Language. Under Preferred Languages, choose your language. Then click Options > Add a keyboard and select United States International.
Now you just need to switch to that keyboard. Your bottom right toolbar should show which keyboard language you’re currently using, so you’ll just click on that and choose US International. Now you can simply type the accent and then the letter it goes on. For example:
- To type ã as in pão: Shift ~ (release) a
- To type é as in café: ‘ e
- To type à as in Vou à escola: ` a
- To type ê as in mês: Shift ^ (release) e
- To type ç as in peço: ‘ c
If that doesn’t work for you, unfortunately there are 4-digit unicode shortcuts that you have to memorize for every combination of vowels and accents. For the shortcuts below, you first hold down ALT, then type the 4-digit numbers in succession.
Ready to try it out?
Head back to the units and practice your new skills in the listen and type questions: Units