Download: Maccents 1.0.15 for Windows (July 2, 2024)

Typing accents better

Accents can be a real pain. I know of four ways to type them:

  1. Switching your keyboard layout.
    • The forward slash becomes É and so on.
    • This is not great because you don’t get any more keys — you just make a different set harder to use.
  2. Clicking on a visual on-screen keyboard.
    • This is painfully slow.
  3. Pressing a long combination of keys for each letter + accent.
    • For example, ALT + numpad 1 + 3 + 3 yields à.
    • This requires a ton of memorization, is hard to execute, and is unavailable on laptops without numpads.
  4. Using a compose key, breaking down each accent into two steps: choose the accent and then choose the letter.
    • This is by far the fastest, easiest, and least limiting option in my experience.

The good news is that Mac users have this by default: if you choose OPTION + e, you get an acute accent, and then you choose the letter to apply it to: é.

The bad news is that Windows users don’t have this option.

Hence Maccents! Maccents makes the Windows key into a compose key, using mostly the same layout as on a Mac, plus a few more combinations.


  1. If you don’t have AutoHotkey or know what that is, just open the .zip and run the .exe. (Windows will try to protect you from an .exe from the Internet so choose “run anyway”.)
  2. This is an AutoHotkey script begun by someone else and modified by me. If you have AutoHotkey, you can run the uncompiled .ahk file instead.
  3. All the compose key combinations are listed in the readme file.
  4. To get it to run automatically in the background: make a shortcut to the program; hit Windows key + R (run) and enter shell:startup; copy the shortcut in there.