Typing European Portuguese Accents (with any Keyboard)
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, you should be able to press and hold on any vowel (on your software keyboard) to apply an accent, regardless of whether 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 in most of your other apps.
In many cases, you can just hold down the letter you want on your keyboard until you see options pop up on the screen for the accented versions. Then you just select the corresponding number. If that doesn't work for you, see the instructions below for Mac and Windows.
(Windows users are going to hate this…) 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, and you'll be off to the races.
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 trying 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 two keys and then type the letter you want to apply the accent to
To type ã as in pão, you would hit Option, n, (release), a
To type é as in café. you would hit Option, e, (release), e
To type à as in Vou à escola, you would hit Option, ` , (release), a
To type ê as in mês, you would hit Option, i, (release), e
To type ç as in peço, you would hit Option, c (no need to hit c again for this one!)
This is where I must ask you to not shoot the messenger… unfortunately, there are tedious shortcuts for every combination of vowels and accents, which require 5 key presses each. Sorry.
(It might be worth checking out some third-party solutions, or perhaps getting used to a Portuguese keyboard configuration).
For the shortcuts below, you first hold down ALT, then type the 4-digit numbers in succession.