# How to type special/accented letters in LaTeX?

How to type these special letters from European languages in latex? ä, é, and L'?

• try texmaker portable means without installing it Sep 6, 2020 at 15:55

You can type texdoc lshort in a command line (Command Prompt on Windows, Terminal on Linux/Mac OS X). Then have a look at Table 2.2 in Section 2.4.8. I'll quote it for you here.

• You can also type them directly and use the inputenc package, which makes your source a lot more readable. Jan 13, 2011 at 3:25
• Do you know how to type "L'" as well? Thanks. I typed "L'" and "L\'", but both does ways do not display "L'" when it generates the pdf file. Jan 13, 2011 at 3:28
• Assuming you typed "\L" and not "L\", if you're still not getting the character its because of the font encoding or the font itself (which may not have the glyph.) It should work with a standard TeX distribution. Did you try my suggestion too? Jan 13, 2011 at 4:24
• THe problem with using character modification is that spelling no longer works properly....or maybe there's a way around that too...let me ask a new questions. Jan 13, 2011 at 11:57
• The "L'" should work with \usepackage[T1]{fontenc} and \v L Jan 13, 2011 at 13:00

## With pdfLaTeX

Save your file as UTF-8 and put

\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc} % usually not needed (loaded by default)
\usepackage[T1]{fontenc}


in your preamble. With current (>2018) distributions inputenc is no longer needed if the file is UTF-8, as that is the assumed default encoding.

Then you can just type the characters normally into your source file.

## With XeLaTeX or LuaLaTeX

ALternatively you can use XeLaTeX or LuaLaTeX which accept UTF-8 input natively. In that case you need to add only:

\usepackage{fontspec}


to your preamble. You should not load inputenc (or fontenc) in this case. These engines allow you to use any font installed on your system. See the fontspec documentation for more details.

## Lousy editor

If your text editor doesn't support UTF-8 encoded files, you should probably get another editor. But if you're stuck with one, you can also use:

\usepackage[latin1]{inputenc} % for PCs
\usepackage[applemac]{inputenc} % for Macs


and save the files in the default encoding for your machine. You cannot use XeLaTeX or LuaLaTeX with such files, however.

• Good advice. It's a good idea to load lmodern after switching the font encoding so that you get a font with all the extra accents and letters in it. Jan 13, 2011 at 7:29
• Big upvote for fontspec. I was using lualatex and Unicode characters were not displayed at all. I tried inputenc, fontenc, lmodern, babel, polski and nothing worked. May 13, 2015 at 14:53
• I'm all for UTF-8, but how would you suggest handling scenarios where the publisher's (archaic) template (I'm looking at you, IEEE) doesn't include the necessary packages? Would you simply add them to the template? Jan 31, 2016 at 10:46
• @DaveEveritt If the publisher accepts LaTeX source documents then you should definitely not change the engine, so using LuaLaTeX or XeLaTeX instead of pdfLaTeX is almost certainly not an option. But loading inputenc and fontenc is likely to be ok. If the publisher provides a style file but you submit camera ready PDF based on the style, then using any engine you like should be fine, and therefore loading the packages you need. Jan 31, 2016 at 14:52
• @AlanMunn thanks, that's well-put. I suppose the only remaining issue is to make sure the result doesn't stray from the publisher's fonts. Jan 31, 2016 at 15:15

Users looking to make common accents in regular text mode can do so with, for example, \'e.

## MWE:

\documentclass[10pt]{article}
\begin{document}
Alfred Land\'e.
\end{document}


## Output:

• I think Kit already covered this in their answer from five years ago, no? Apr 13, 2016 at 16:23
• This answer is a surely duplicate, as already noted by Au101. I flagged it for deletion. Jan 9, 2017 at 9:20
• @HenriMenke, I'm sorry you feel that way; I think this answer much more clearly answers the question than Kit's answer. In face, I remember seeing this thread during my research and having to continue looking for the answer because it seems "buried" above. Jan 9, 2017 at 13:42
• This answer is very helpful--definitely not a duplicate. Kit's answer doesn't show how to produce a grave or acute accent using characters on a standard US keyboard layout. This shows that an acute accent can be produced with a normal apostrophe (U+0027), but Kit's answer shows a right single quotation mark (U+2019). Mar 6, 2018 at 21:26

You can use Detexify. Just draw your symbol, and it will figure out what you need to type! Much easier than plowing through endless symbol tables :).

• I tried and I couldn't make it work for any accented letter, although it works for a lot of usual mathematical signs.
– Pere
Jan 14, 2018 at 9:41

The package selinput was not yet mentioned. Because I found good answers regarding its use on other places in TeX.SX let me first link to them:

• Heiko Oberdiek (author of selinput):

The input encoding depends on the editor that is used to write the TeX file … If the user is troubled to find the right encoding, then package selinput can help, …
(Encoding problems with custom LaTeX class (only on Windows 7/8). Why?)

• For languages other than English you can choose a semiautomatic input selection. … The selinput package is part of the oberdiek bundle. It will select the right input encoding in dependence of the file encoding.
(German character not rendered to pdf)

You could choose another way of input encoding by the selinput package from the oberdiek bundle. It chooses the right encoding by some glyphs from your language correspondingly to the encoding of the source file.
(How to use spanish accents?)

The hardest part can be to find out, what has actually to be written in \SelectInputMappings, read the package documentation for this. You are not forced to add every letter not in ASCII range, but you have to add some distinctive characters for your language. Below I added the letters from question.

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage[T1]{fontenc}
\usepackage{selinput}
\SelectInputMappings{%
eacute={é},
Lcaron={Ľ},
}

\begin{document}
äéĽ
\end{document}


Maybe a short hint for the users of some languages with so called diacritics (or combining diacretic marks as e.g. in the german layout, see below): If you want to get an é or É (e/E accent acute) as described in this answer, you have to pay attention to not write \´e as you are possibly used to do (in e.g. a text-based program like Microsoft Word). (´ is the (yellow) accent key between ß and BACKSPACE on a german layout)

Btw, that "locking in and waiting for input" or diacritic behavior is also called dead key, as it produces no output of its own but modifies the output of the key pressed after it.

You should write \'e instead (' is the (green) apostrophe key, SHIFT + #).

For reference I marked the correct key in green and the incorrect in yellow:

This also applies to the other keyboard layouts with diacritics(link to languages with these letters), but not the ones with a dedicated key for the respective letter (in this example é) as french, spanish, swiss, italian or more (to put it differently, those layouts typically have a single key é or É among others).

This behavior of the accent keys is not present on the the standard english keyboards, but it can be switched to e.g. US/UK International to get a feel. Compare for example the dedicated  key (~ without SHIFT).

• This is really out-of-date advice. The default file encoding assumed by the LaTeX kernel is UTF-8, as is the default file encoding of most editors. So the simple answer is just type your letters as you would in any other application, and make sure you're loading a font that contains them. Sep 6, 2020 at 16:26
• @Alan that's not right. The OP asked about "How to type these special letters from European languages in latex? ä, é, and L'?", so those keys are not present for him. True, he could copy-paste the é every time, but still, using \´e` will always be more robust. Period. Oct 12, 2021 at 8:28

I don't mind plowing my way through symbol lists such as this one. Once I've found what I need, and then use it nth of times, I don't forget it. It's a good learning process.