Hacks for typing Portuguese characters


Windows users have several options:

1. AX is a Windows-only program that runs in the background and lets you add accent marks to characters using a single preset keystroke. This is undoubtedly the easiest of the Windows options, and pretty fast too.

2. Use the built-in Language Bar to toggle your keyboard to Portuguese. This is the method I use and it allows for the fastest typing once you’ve memorized the Portuguese keyboard layout, but it does take a small amount of setup plus few days of use to really get used to it.

When you switch to Portuguese mode using the Language bar, the Portuguese keyboard layout will be mapped onto your keyboard. Here’s what that layout looks like:

Unfortunately, since English keyboards are missing two of these keys, you won’t be able to type a ? or ” as you normally do. Instead you’ll need to use the keystrokes below.

Here are the keys to use to type every special character you’ll need when your keyboard is set to Portuguese mode (PT). Remember that the order in which you press the keys matters.

ç            semicolon key
Ç            SHIFT + semicolon key
á, é, í, ó   [ + letter
Á, É, Í, Ó   [ + SHIFT + letter
à            SHIFT + [ then A
À            SHIFT + [ then SHIFT + A
â, ê, ô      SHIFT + ' + letter
Â, Ê, Ô      SHIFT + ' then SHIFT + letter
ã, õ         ' + letter
Ã, Õ         ' then SHIFT + letter
?            RIGHT ALT + W
"            SHIFT + ~ (the key directly above the tab key)

I have my Language Bar options set up so that pressing Alt+SHIFT toggles the keyboard between English and Portuguese, so that I can switch modes quickly while typing.

3. Enter characters individually using Alt codes. I don’t like this method because it’s slow and requires you to memorize the codes, but at least it can be used on any computer with no prior setup.

4. Don’t forget that, in a pinch, you can always google the word or character you need online and then copy and paste from your browser.


é – Option-E
à – Option-tilde-A
ô – Option-I-O
ã – Option-N-A
ç – Option-C


Settings -> General -> Keyboard -> Keyboards -> Add New Keyboard… -> Portuguese

Once you’ve added the keyboard, you can switch between keyboards by pressing the Globe button to the left of the spacebar. When you’re using the Portuguese keyboard, the phone will use the Portuguese spelling dictionary, which means you can usually type words without worrying about accents – autocorrect will insert them for you, if it’s turned on.

You can also press and hold individual letters on the keyboard to bring up a list of accent marks for that letter. This works regardless of which keyboard you’re using.

6 Responses to Hacks for typing Portuguese characters

  1. RainbowDash says:

    Uhh, I use “English international” rather than a pure Portuguese keyboard? Why?

    Well, because it keeps most english characters in their place BUT it adds much more characters, like “ñ µ ã õ á é à è ì ò ù ç” <- those, which is useful, for French, Spanish, Portuguese and a lot more language that use Latin characters.

    Hope it helps.

    • Lauren says:

      I never have figured out the keyboard mappings for English International, I guess I just got used to the Portuguese layout. But it sounds much more useful. Love your username btw!

  2. RainbowDash says:

    I made a terrible mistake in my previous post, it’s actually “United-states international” not English international…

  3. Asher Bennaphtali says:

    This is what works on my Mac:

    acute accent option-e é
    grave accent option-tilde/grave à
    circumflex accent option-i ô
    trema option-u ü
    tilde option-n ã
    c cedilla option-c ç

    For the accents over the vowels, hold down the option key and then press the specified letter. That places the accent mark on the page. Then type in the desired vowel. It will magically appear under the accent. For the ç, just hold down the option key and type a c; you’ll get ç.

    Lauren, your site is life-changing. Muito obrigado.


    • Lauren says:

      Wonderful – thank you Asher, I will add those keystrokes to this page. And thanks for the nice words about the site!

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