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Guide to Typing Accents on a BlackBerry

written by: Tommy Carlton•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 5/3/2011

If you have a need to type accents on your BlackBerry, learn how to do it here. This article covers both changing letters and installable languages.

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    While many of us use our Blackberries entirely in English, there are times when you will need to type foreign words that have accents on them. Pulling up your symbols menu, you won't find any accented letters, so how do you do it? There are two different ways to solve this problem.

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    For the Occasional User

    The first method is the easiest, and will allow you to type any accented version of the standard 26 letter alphabet, such as à or é. This method applies to all Blackberries that have a trackball, including any variation of the Pearl, the Pearl Flip, the Curve, the 8800 series, and the Bold. Start out by pressing and holding the letter that you want to type with the accent, such as “a.” After a moment the letter will capitalize itself, but this is ok. Continue holding the letter down, and roll the trackball in any direction. The letter will start to change, and will rotate through all possible variations, including different accents and both uppercase and lowercase letters. Once you find the variation you want, simply let go of the button, and the accented letter will remain. This method is a bit slower than the second method, but is easy to do and requires no additional setup, so it is ideal for those who only rarely need to type accented characters.

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    For the Frequent User

    The second method takes a bit more effort, but is much more powerful. If you regularly type in a language that has accented letters, or if you want to type in a character-based language such as Japanese or Chinese, this is the method you should use. First, you will need to install the Desktop Manager software on your computer, if you have not done so already. You will need to download the appropriate language pack from either your carrier or directly from Not all languages are available from all carriers, so it may take a bit of hunting. This method will work on any Blackberry that you can find the language file for. Once you have the file, use the Application Loader in the Desktop Manager to install the input language. Now you can change your input language at any time with Alt+Enter (default shortcut, changeable in Options > Language > Input Language Selection Shortcut; some Blackberries have this disabled by default). In the new language, the auto correct should add accents for you, changing words like the French “etre” to the accented version of “être.” In a character-based language, you will still be limited to the same keyboard, so you must use an alphabet-based input system such as romaji for Japanese or pinyin for Chinese (these options are adjustable in Options > Language). This method is much more complete than the first, but it does require additional memory on your device as well, so I recommend only installing the languages you regularly use.