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¿Escribe en Español? How to Type Spanish Accents and Spanish Words

Updated on February 13, 2017
by Esparta Palma. Mexico is just one of the countries where Spanish is spoken.
by Esparta Palma. Mexico is just one of the countries where Spanish is spoken. | Source

If you bought your Windows system in the U.S., then you can easily use its default keyboard to enter all the letters, numbers and symbols of the English language with one or two key presses. However, if you’re learning the Spanish language, entering Spanish names, or keying-in addresses from Latin America or Spain, your keyboard may be inadequate for the task. Fortunately, Windows has several built-in features for handling foreign languages, without your having to spend extra cash for accessories or software. These methods only work on word processors or text boxes that can handle formatted characters. For example, Microsoft Word and WordPad can handle these procedures but the text-based Notepad cannot.

Using the CTRL Key

The easiest way to type Spanish accents and Spanish words is to combine the CTRL, punctuation and letter keys. The following are examples:

  • To enter “ó”, press the CTRL and apostrophe (') keys, and then the “o” key
  • To enter “ñ”, press the CTRL, SHIFT and tilde (~) keys, and then the “n” key.
  • To enter “ü”, press the CTRL, SHIFT and colon (:) keys, and then the “u” key.

Using ALT Codes

Another way to enter Spanish accents and Spanish words is to press the ALT key and while holding it down, type a numeric code, which also allows the entry of Spanish symbols. The following are examples

Letter Key

Á ALT + 0193

á ALT + 0225

É ALT + 0201

é ALT + 0233

Í ALT + 0205

í ALT + 0237

Ñ ALT + 0209

ñ ALT + 0241

Ó ALT + 0211

ó ALT + 0243

Ú ALT + 0218

Ü ALT + 0220

ú ALT + 0250

¿ ALT + 0191

¡ ALT + 0161

Switching to the Spanish Keyboard

If you’re typing lengthy documents in Spanish, you can temporarily switch your keyboard to Spanish letters in Windows 7.

  1. Click the Start button and then choose “Control Panel,” “Clock, Language and Region” and “Change Keyboards or Other Input Methods” under Region and Language. The Region and Language dialog box appears.
  2. Click the “Keyboards and Languages” tab, if it is not selected. Then click the “Change Keyboards” button. The Text Services and Input Language dialog box appears.
  3. Click the “Add” button, if Spanish is not showing as an installed service. The “Add Input Language” dialog box appears.
  4. Choose the Spanish language and any variants that you want to use. For example, you can click “Spanish (Mexico)” and under that choose “Latin American.” Click “OK” to close the Add Input dialog box. Note how the “EN” icon appears next to “Spanish” in the Installed Services box. Click “OK” to close the Tex Services and Input Languages dialog box. Click “OK” again to close the Region and Language dialog box.
  5. Look to the right of your task bar, where you’ll see the “EN” icon for “English.” Click that icon to display the Languages popup. Choose “ES (Spanish)” to activate the Spanish language keyboard.

Using the Spanish Keyboard

You can now type Spanish accents and letters on the Spanish keyboard as follows:

  • To enter accented vowels, press the “[“ key and then the vowel. For example, to enter “ó”, press the “[“ key and then the “o” key.
  • To enter “ñ”, press the colon (:).
  • To enter a regular question mark (?), press the underscore (_) key.
  • To enter “¿”, press the equal (=).
  • To enter “¡”, press the plus (+).

For information on typing French accents on French words, see How to Type French Accents on French Words.

© Copyright 2011 by Aurelio Locsin.

Which method will you use most often?

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    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 5 years ago from Northern California, USA

      I am studying spanish right now, so this hub comes in handy for me. I like using the CNTL keys, but I never thought there was an alternative to use the ALT keys. What a helpful hub. Thank you so much.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi again alocsin,

      SHARING this now so that more people can learn how to use these Spanish Accents when needed. BTW...the share tab in the recipes hubs are now on a black tab on the left hand side of the page. Another new format they are trying.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      ThÁÑks! lol! this is so familiar to me. I used to work for Fords Motors, and every letter we sent out had to be written in the appropriate language. For example Spain, Hungary, Romanian and so on. So I had to learn all the Control + numbers, and Alt + numbers. I didn't realise that I could use it on my normal pc keyboard. Brought back memories doing those couple of letters! Great info and very helpful. I also used to translate from Greek to English, but it was on a completely different system. Maybe I will try to find it! cheers nell

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Thanks Peggy. I'm bummed about that too, Peggy W. Fortunately, there's always the browser bookmarks.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Great information! Too bad they are getting rid of the bookmark button. This would surely have gone into it for future reference. May just print this out. Thanks! Voted up, useful and interesting.

    • yoginijoy profile image

      yoginijoy 5 years ago from Mid-Atlantic, USA

      ¡Muchas gracías! It works! Me has salvado de muchos errores en mi ortografía. I have been writing without accents inside of emails and now I won't have to. Quick question: Have you been able to memorize this?

    • KathyH profile image

      KathyH 5 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      This is so interesting! I had no idea how to do any of this, I'm bookmarking this one, thank you for sharing! :)Voted up and across!

    • jainismus profile image

      Mahaveer Sanglikar 5 years ago from Pune, India

      This is very useful for me as I am learning to write in Spanish language. Thank you for sharing this information.

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 5 years ago from United States

      Amazing information Alocsin.

      My kid is learning Spanish in school and every now and then we have to type some Spanish words to Google them etc.

      This made life easier for me...THANK YOU!

      voted up and sharing!

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

      Voted up and SHARED - very helpful information! Thanks!

    • wheelinallover profile image

      Dennis Thorgesen 6 years ago from Central United States

      I will have to experiment with it. Spanish was my second language and I can still read it but haven't tried writing like my mother did. The ability to speak it now is beyond me. She translated 37 dialects of central and South American Spanish. As an international business person being able to do this would help. We currently rely on Google Translate. As I am the only Spanish reader here. Thanks for SHARING.

    • upal19 profile image

      Ashraf Mir 6 years ago from Dhaka

      Very useful article. I've started learning spanish but have very little time for this. I'm bookmarking this for my future study. Thanks for sharing.

    • cmuckley profile image

      cmuckley 6 years ago

      This is a great resource. I love Spanish, and always skip accent marks, etc. when typing in it. Thx!

    • Tracy Lynn Conway profile image

      Tracy Lynn Conway 6 years ago from Virginia, USA

      This is great to know! My kids study Spanish and they will be delighted to learn how to use these keys.!

    • vicki goodwin profile image

      Sojourner McConnell 6 years ago from Winchester Kentucky

      This information was something I had not run across before. Thank you for taking the time to teach something that really is interesting. There was a great variety and I enjoyed this hub

    • CWanamaker profile image

      CWanamaker 6 years ago from Arizona

      I had no idea there was a CTRL method. Thanks!