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How to type special characters and accents in Windows

You'll only need one method most of the time.
By

Published onJanuary 4, 2024

You’ll inevitably need to type non-standard characters into Windows at some point. You may be communicating in other languages, and if nothing else, you’ll probably find yourself inserting things like emojis and em-dashes. Three different avenues are available for this in Windows, depending on the exact thing you’re trying to type.

QUICK ANSWER

To insert to special characters and accents in Windows, the catch-all solution is the Windows + . (Windows key plus period key) pop-up menu.  Depending on what you're trying to do, other options include the Character Map or adding more input languages via Settings > Time and language > Language and region.


JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS

How to type special characters by using the emoji keyboard

Emojis in Windows 11
Microsoft

The catch-all solution is the emoji keyboard, invoked by hitting Windows + . (the Windows key and the period key). Despite its nickname, you can insert just about any character you want this way.

  • To find an emoji, type a keyword into the Search bar, or browse Microsoft’s collection by clicking the arrow icon next to the Emoji category. Click on an emoji to insert it where your cursor is located in the last-selected app.
  • For other categories, including Kaomojis and Symbols, click the icons at the top of the pop-up. There’s no way of searching through these by keyword, so you’ll have to browse by scrolling.
  • The Symbols category is subdivided into General punctuation, Currency symbols, Latin symbols, Geometric symbols, Math symbols, Supplemental symbols, and Language symbols. Click on a carousel tab and scroll to see what’s on offer.

How to type accent characters by using the Character Map

The Windows 11 Character Map
Roger Fingas / Android Authority

You probably won’t be using this option very often, but the Character Map can insert multiple letters, numbers, or symbols simultaneously, and in different fonts to boot. Here’s how to use it:

  • In the Windows search bar, type in Character Map and open the top result.
  • If necessary, choose a font in the drop-down menu up top. This won’t matter if the app you’re pasting into doesn’t support alternate fonts.
  • Click on a character and then Select to add it to your copy list. Scroll to see everything available.
  • Once you’ve chosen all the characters you plan to insert, click Copy.
  • Use Ctrl + V or right-click options to paste copied characters into another app.

Since there’s no keyboard shortcut for the app, you may want to create a desktop shortcut or pin it to the taskbar if you expect to use it often.

How to add another input language in Windows

If you want to add an input language for something other than English (or whatever your native language happens to be), you can add multiple “keyboards” to Windows this way:

  • Open the Settings app.
  • Navigate to Time and language > Language and region.
  • Select the language with the keyboard you want, then Options.
  • Click Add a keyboard and choose one of the options available. If what you’re after is missing, go back to Language settings, then choose Preferred languages > Add a language.