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How to make a tilde on mac

how to make a tilde on mac

If you’re working with documents or coding on a Mac, knowing how to type a tilde (~) character can be crucial for various purposes, such as indicating directory paths or denoting approximations in mathematics. While typing letters and numbers might be straightforward, special characters like the tilde may require a bit of know-how. In this guide, I’ll share the methods I’ve personally found effective for making a tilde on a Mac, ensuring a seamless workflow on your end. You’ll learn not only the basic keystroke but also alternative approaches and tricks for using the tilde across different applications and situations. Let’s dive in and uncover the simplicity behind this seemingly elusive character.


Common Scenarios:

Finding the Tilde Key in Various Keyboard Layouts 📋

  • Understanding where the tilde (~) key is located on different keyboard layouts, such as U.S., U.K., or Spanish.
  • Finding the hidden character menus that display the tilde sign in macOS.
  • Struggling to type a tilde in full-screen applications where shortcuts might not work.

Using the Tilde in Command-Line Applications 💻

  • Typing commands in Terminal where a tilde represents the home directory.
  • Creating shell scripts that require the tilde for path variables or special expressions.
  • When setting up development environments, needing to include the tilde in configuration files.

Writing in Languages or Contexts Requiring a Tilde 📝

  • Composing text that includes Spanish ñ or other special characters with a tilde accent.
  • Using the tilde in mathematical notation to represent equivalency or approximation.
  • Incorporating the tilde in scientific papers or mathematical equations where it has specific significance.

Step-by-Step Guide. How To Make A Tilde On Mac:

Method 1: The Standard Keyboard Shortcut 📱

  • Press and hold the Option (⌥) key.
  • While holding the Option key, press the ‘N’ key.
  • Release both keys and then press the Spacebar to generate a standalone tilde (~).

Note: This method is the most common and is applicable for the majority of macOS users.

Conclusion: Quick and effective for everyday use.

Method 2: Character Viewer Utility 🔍

  • Press Control (⌃) + Command (⌘) + Spacebar to open the Character Viewer.
  • Search for ’tilde’ in the search bar.
  • Double-click the tilde symbol (~) to insert it where your cursor is.

Note: This method is especially useful if you’re looking for a variety of tilde styles or if the keyboard shortcut is not working.

Conclusion: Offers more options and is user-friendly.

Method 3: Using ASCII Character Code 🔢

  • Switch to an application that allows you to enter ASCII codes (like TextEdit).
  • Press and hold the Option (⌥) key.
  • Type 00AC using the keyboard.
  • Release the Option key and the tilde (~) should appear.

Note: This method is a bit more technical but is a good alternative when the standard methods don’t work.

Conclusion: May require some memory practice but is a reliable fallback method.

Method 4: International Keyboard Layout 🌏

  • Open System Preferences and click on ‘Keyboard.’
  • Click on the ‘Input Sources’ tab and click the plus (+) button to add a new keyboard layout, such as ‘U.S. International – PC.’
  • Select the new layout and use the tilde (~) key normally located near the left shift.

Note: This method is excellent for those frequently typing in multiple languages.

Conclusion: Expands typing capabilities beyond the standard U.S. keyboard layout.

Method 5: Custom Keyboard Shortcuts 🔥

  • Open System Preferences and go to ‘Keyboard.’
  • Click on ‘Text’ and press the plus (+) button to add a new text replacement.
  • In the ‘Replace’ column, type a rarely used key sequence, like ‘;;t’, and in the ‘With’ column, enter the tilde (~) symbol.

Note: This method is great for those who need to type a tilde frequently and prefer a personalized shortcut.

Conclusion: Offers a tailored typing experience for power users.


Precautions and Tips:

Accelerate Your Workflow 💪

  • To quickly access frequently used special characters like the tilde, consider creating keyboard shortcuts tailored to your specific needs.
  • Remember that keyboard layouts and shortcuts can differ between various Mac models and macOS versions; always check Apple’s support documentation for the latest information.
  • For writers and developers, getting comfortable with the Character Viewer can not only assist with finding the tilde but provide access to a myriad of other useful characters and symbols.

Maximize Efficiency

As someone who regularly writes code and documentation on my Mac, learning to type a tilde quickly was essential. But beyond just typing the character, it’s essential to understand its use and significance in various contexts. On the Mac, it’s not just about pressing keys; it’s about utilizing the system’s built-in features to enhance your productivity.

For example, power users can employ automation tools like Automator or AppleScript to create customized workflows that include typing special characters like the tilde. Moreover, integrating the use of a tilde with other keyboard shortcuts can significantly speed up tasks such as navigating between directories in Terminal or quickly formatting text in a word processor.

Advanced users might also take advantage of programming languages like Swift or scripting languages such as Python to write small programs or scripts that can handle text transformation tasks, including inserting special characters where needed.

For those needing to type the tilde in web-based applications or content management systems, browser extensions or plugins can be found that provide enhanced keyboard functionality, including the easy insertion of special characters.

Taking a holistic approach to typing efficiency on your Mac involves more than memorizing keyboard shortcuts; it’s about creating a seamless interaction between your ideas and the digital page. Whether you’re a writer, programmer, or just someone who frequently uses special characters, the Mac platform offers robust tools for making keyboard input both flexible and powerful.


As you’ve seen, adding a tilde on a Mac can be accomplished through various methods tailored to different user needs. Whether you’re handling documents, coding, or engaging with specialized software, these strategies ensure that typing a tilde is effortless. Mastering these techniques has greatly improved my efficiency on the Mac, and I hope they’ll do the same for you. For further assistance, never hesitate to consult Apple’s official support resources or seek out community forums and discussion groups where fellow Mac users share their tips and tricks. Remember, with every new macOS update, continuous learning and adaptation is the key to achieving typing mastery and workflow optimization.


Hold the Option key (⌥) and press the N key once, then release both keys and type the spacebar for a standalone tilde (~).

To place a tilde over a letter, press Option+N together, release, and then type the desired vowel (e.g., ‘a’ for ã).

Yes, launch System Preferences, go to Keyboard, click Input Sources, and add a keyboard layout that includes a tilde.

Yes. In System Preferences under Keyboard, choose Text, and you can create a custom text replacement or shortcut for the tilde.

Yes, in System Preferences > Keyboard, check Show keyboard and emoji viewers in menu bar, then click the viewer to see where the tilde is.

Ensure you’re pressing the correct keys, and check your keyboard layout. Some layouts may require different key combinations for the tilde.

Yes, if your Mac has a Touch Bar, it can display different characters, including the tilde, when you tap the emoji or text button.

macOS does not typically support ASCII codes, but you can use the Option key shortcuts provided, or copy and paste the tilde (~).

With Voice Control enabled, you can potentially create a custom voice command for typing a tilde, though standard commands may not include it.

For an extensive guide to typing symbols, visit Apple’s official support page at Apple Support.