accented characters in osx

selectable accents for the letter 'a'
selectable accents

UPDATE: I upgraded my OS X to Mountain Lion recently and I am not sure if it is as a result of the upgrade, or some other setting change I may have made, but now if I hold down a letter key for a short period, I get a tool-tip style box (right) that then allows me to select the appropriate accent. This doesn’t work for all letters, but it does make it more convenient.

I had a need to be able to print accented characters on certain letters, mainly being vowels, but potentially others as well. Most character sets have a limited set of accents, and most of them only apply to certain letters, and others don’t have the accents I want.

For example I want to print 5 main types of accents, being:

à á ā â ǎ

another example

x̀ x́ x̄ x̂ x̌

I’m using a macbook pro and pages in OSX, although this applies to any application, this is how I did it:

Open up System Preferences >> Personal >> Language and Text >> Input Sources

Once there, add a new keyboard, in this case I added “US Extended”.

Now to add some accents, I need to type the accent first, and then the character, but this only works for some letters (I suppose those that can be normally accented), but as you can see above, I have accented the letter ‘x’. So achieve this you must type the letter first and then [option]+[shift]+[code]. Not too hard, the five I need are:

  • a bar over the letter – ā – [option]+a then type the letter
  • a ‘v’ over the letter – ǎ – [option]+v then the letter
  • a ‘^’ over the letter – â – [option]+^ then the letter
  • a ‘`’ over the letter – à – [option]+` then the letter, and finally
  • a ‘ ́’ over the letter – á – [option]+e then the letter

^ <– is [shift]+6
` <– is the back tick, or key with the tilde (~) on it
́ <– is the quote mark key with single and double quotes [‘,”]

It was that simple :-)

note: I am learning the thai language and it is a very tonal language and inflections on letters are necessary to determine the tone of the word, hence I need this ability. These 5 marks above fit the bill perfectly, although the bar one really isn’t needed, but at least now I have the option of including it, or not including it.

Originally found here:…

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