11+ Mac keyboard skills to learn today

In this guide, you'll learn how to unlock the most useful hidden keyboard characters on your Mac.

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If you happen to be multilingual, a developer, a statistician or a data scientist, it’s likely you already know how to unlock additional symbols when typing on your Mac. But if you aren't, you’ll need to take a moment to learn.

How to type a check mark

Want this? √ Type Option and v (or type Option-4 for a cent sigil).

How to type a copyright symbol

The Mac shortcut to type a copyright (©) symbol is Option + g.

To infinity and beyond

Tap Option + 5 to reach infinity: ∞

How to type an acute accent on your Mac

To type a grave accent, press Option and the letter e together, let go the keys and then press the letter you wish to accentuate: á, é, í, ó, ú.

How to type a grave accent on your Mac

It’s similar for a downwards accent on a letter: press Option and ` together, let go the keys and then press the letter you want accented: à, è, ì, ò, ù.

How to type other accents on your Mac

There are other accents you can type on your Mac:

  • Option + i, letter      â, ê, ô, î, û
  • Option + n, letter     ã, ñ, õ
  • Option + u, letter     ä, ë, ï, ö, ü, ÿ
  • Option, A or a          å, Å
  • Option + ‘                æ, Æ
  • Option + q, Q          œ, Œ
  • Option + c or C       ç, Ç
  • Option + o or O       ø, Ø

How to type an upside-down question mark

If you’ve ever wanted to soup-up your Twitter name with an upside-down question mark like the cool kids on Netscape Navigator, here’s how to do it:

Shift + Option + ? = ¿

Shift and Option together unlock all kinds of additional characters. Press Option + Shift 2 to type ™, for example.

How to type an Apple logo

Another example: just press Option + Shift + k to type an Apple logo: 

How to type emojis

The easiest way to type emoji on your Mac is to press Control + Command + Space to summon the emoji character palette at the point in your document at which your cursor sits. Now find the one you want to use and press it to insert it.

Want more characters?

If you don’t need to use unusual characters in your work often enough to learn where they are, but need to do so on an ad hoc basis, here’s what to do:

  • Open System Preferences>Keyboard and check ‘Show keyboard and emoji viewers in menu bar’.
  • A new Menu item will appear; click this to get to the character and emoji viewers.
  • Now you can see what characters are available as you press different keys.

Use Text Replacement

You can also create your own keyboard shortcuts for items you may write frequently. These can be words, phrases, or even complete paragraphs. Once you set one of these shortcuts up, all you’ll need to do to type one of them is to recall the code you associated with the phrase. The only problem is these only work inside applications that support the feature (not Word). Here is how to do it.

  • Open the Keyboard item in System Preferences.
  • Select the Text pane and tap the plus (+)

A new text entry field appears. Type the shortcut code you want to use in the left-field and the text you want created when you use that code in the column to its right.

Be careful not to use a code you’ll use naturally at other times, as that will get annoying pretty fast. To type your phrase in the future, you’ll only need to type that code. (Of course, another way to place regularly used phrases inside documents is to use Text Snippets, some of which are here.)

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Hope this helps.

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