How to Type a Tilde on Mac Keyboard

The Tilde character may not be one that you use on a regular basis, but believe it or not, there are many uses for it. Whether it is to accent a letter, display a mathematical equation, write a line of code, or just add a special character to your password, the tilde is necessary for most users at one time or another.

The tilde is located on the far upper left side of your keyboard on the same key as the tick mark ( ‘ ) just between the tab key and the escape key. It’s easy to type, all you have to do is hold down the shift key and press the key with the tick mark key and tilde on it.

My name is Eric and as a long-time computer user, I am pretty familiar with computer keyboards and where most keys are typically located. The tilde key is one of the basic keys on your keyboard which makes it easy to find and easy to type.

Keep reading below if you would like to learn more about the tilde and see a picture of where it is located. I will also discuss some of the uses for it and even another way to type it without your keyboard.

Typing a Tilde

Typing a tilde on your Mac is quite simple. As stated above you will see it on your Mac keyboard (as well as most other keyboards) on the upper left side between the escape and tab keys. It is on the same key at the tick mark or back quote (`).

As you can see it is shown on the upper portion of the key, which means you need to use the shift key to type this character. Just hold down the shift key and press the key with the tilde character on it and it will be inserted into your text. It’s that easy!

The information above shows how to type a plain tilde by itself, but if you need to type a tilde above a letter for an accent mark you will need to use another method. I’ll show you how to do this in the next section when I discuss using the tilde for an accent mark.

Using the Emoji Popup to Type the Tilde

Another way to type or insert a tilde is to use Mac’s emoji popup window. The emoji popup has a variety of tilde characters you can use and it also has letters that use the tilde as an accent mark.

The emoji popup window is easy to use. To pull it up, first click on the location in your text where you want to insert a character. Next press the Control + Command +Space keys all at the same time and that will make the window appear.

Once you see the window, type the word tilde in the search box at the top of it.

As you can see above, there are a variety of tilde marks that you can choose from and you can also see the many letters and other characters that use the tilde. Find the one you wish to use and click on it. It will then be inserted into your text.

What Would I Use the Tilde for?

There are a number of different uses for the tilde character. It can be used by itself or you sometimes see it over the top of letters as an accent mark.


In mathematics, it denotes equivalence or approximation. For example, if you say x ~ y, it means that x and y are equivalent but not necessarily equal. It is also used for approximation. If I write ~500, it means approximately 500 or around 500.

Computer Languages

The tilde symbol is used in a number of computer languages as an operator to denote an action or comparison of values or variables. For example in the PERL scripting language, the tilde is used in conjunction with the equal sign (=~) to search for a pattern of characters in a string or variable.

So the expression, if ($var =~ 1234), would return a value of TRUE if the variable $var contains the string of characters 1234.

Mac Terminal

In Mac Terminal as well as other UNIX/LINUX-based command line interfaces we use the ~ to refer to our home directory. It’s a quick way to reference or navigate to the home directory. For example:

cd ~

Would move me to my home directory.


Do you ever get frustrated when creating a new password for an account and it requires that you have at least one special character? The tilde is considered a special character and it is one that is very easy to use, especially due to its location on the keyboard. 

It’s also easy to remember. Because of this, many people use the tilde as a special character in their passwords.

Accent Marks

The tilde character is also used as an accent mark and is seen over the top of specific letters to denote its pronunciation. It’s not used that much in the English language, but it is used often in Spanish and some in other languages.

If you want to put a tilde over top of a letter as an accent mark, use the following steps.

  • Step 1: Click on the location where you want to insert the character.
  • Step 2: Press the Option + N keys.
  • Step 3: Press the key with the letter you wish to have a tilde over.

Note that this only works for the specific characters that can have a tilde over them such as the as ã, ñ, and õ.

You can also use the emoji popup to find characters with the tilde over them. Take a look at the next section to see how to use it to find the tilde and letters with a tilde over top of them.


Below are a few questions that are often asked when discussing how to type a tilde on a Mac keyboard.

Which is better to use, the keyboard or the emoji popup?

I prefer using the keyboard method because it is quick and easy. I don’t have to stop what I am doing and bring up the emoji popup, I can just press the shift and tilde key. If you would like to have options to use other tilde characters that look slightly different, then the emoji popup may be a better method, but in the end, it is really up to you and your preferences.

Can I use the emoji popup for the tilde as a special character in a password?

This is a good question and something I have never tried so I don’t know if it would work, but I would suggest against doing this. If it did work, you may have issues using your password on computers and devices other than your Mac since it won’t have the popup available. Besides it will be a real pain to have to use the emoji popup anytime you need to put in your password.

What is an Enye and how do I type it?

An enye is the letter n with a tilde above it (ñ or Ñ). You can type it by pressing the Option + N keys at the same time and then pressing the N key again. You could also use the emoji keyboard if you wanted to do so.


Typing a simple tilde mark is as easy as pressing the shift and back quote keys at the same time. If you need to put one above a letter you can use the Option + N keys and then type the letter you wish to have the accent mark on.

I hope the information above can help you to type a tilde character when you need to do so. As usual, let me know if you have any questions or comments. I would love to hear from you!

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