For US English keyboard users, the international keyboard (which is not a physical keyboard, but rather a simple Control Panel setting) is the easiest and most convenient method for typing French accents because it maintains the QWERTY layout, with just a few changes and additions:
- To type accent grave (à, è, etc), type ` (to the left of 1) then the vowel.
- Accent aigu (é), type ' (single quote) then e.
- Cédille (ç), type ' then c.
- Circonflexe (ê), type ^ (shift + 6) then e.
- Tréma (ö), type " (shift + ') then o.
- To type French quotation marks « » use ctrl + alt + [ and ], respectively.
The minor disadvantage of the international keyboard is that when you want to type the "helping" character (e.g., single or double quotes) by itself rather than above a vowel, you have to type the symbol then hit the space bar. For example, to type c'est
, type c
then hit the spacebar then type e s t
. It takes a little while to get used to typing that extra space when you just want to type ' or "
Troubleshooting the international keyboard
If you are plagued by strangeness such as cést
when you try to type c'est
, re-read the note above.
In order to use the international keyboard to type French accents, you need to select that keyboard layout