How does one typeset accent marks outside of math mode?

My apologies for this very basic question.

How does one typeset accent marks outside of LaTeX math mode?

For example, on this question both Derek Jennings and I cite papers from Paul Erdos. Derek gets the double-dot accent mark on Erdos' name, but I don't know how. When I pull up Derek's source there's no markdown there; just the symbol ö itself! Of course, when I see an accented character that I want to use I can just copy it (which is what I just did with ö), but this doesn't help me if there's an accent mark I want to use but I haven't seen others use yet.

Another example: Mariano Suárez-Alvarez (copied from one of his posts). I don't know how to get the acute accent mark on the a.

• I cheat and use a "character map" program myself... :D – J. M. ain't a mathematician Dec 17 '10 at 0:18
• Erdős is spelt with an ő (U+0151 LATIN SMALL LETTER O WITH DOUBLE ACUTE), not with a ö (U+00F6 LATIN SMALL LETTER O WITH DIAERESIS)! – Mariano Suárez-Álvarez Dec 17 '10 at 4:26
• By the way, this was discussed in tea.mathoverflow.net/discussion/221/… – Mariano Suárez-Álvarez Dec 17 '10 at 4:27
• @Mariano: Thanks for the correction on Erdős. I also hope you don't mind me using your name as an example. :) – Mike Spivey Dec 17 '10 at 5:51

You can try using Html Character Entity References. Which are usually of the form &blah; (ampersand, word, semi-colon).

Most common browsers should support them.

For example:

&Otilde;: Õ
&aelig;: æ
&agrave;: à

If not, you can perhaps try using the unicode character itself and pasting it straight, like you did with ö.

• Thanks, Moron. This is helpful. – Mike Spivey Dec 17 '10 at 0:02

One other way if you don't feel like memorizing HTML entity references is to let someone else do the remembering for you.

[Edit: Live version of the script is dead; original author has placed the script On GitHub, but you will need to have a way of serving up PHP scripts to run it.]

• Beautiful! Thanks, Willie; I did not know such a thing existed. – Mike Spivey Dec 17 '10 at 0:01
• I only found out from Andrew Stacey yesterday about his script. So neither did I until 30 hours ago. – Willie Wong Dec 17 '10 at 1:03
• Seems the link is dead. – Gerry Myerson Mar 30 '19 at 5:08

You can also do cut-n-paste. I get most of those characters from tables such as this one from Wikipedia.

I mention this because it seems that HTML character reference does not work in comments; typing pr&eacute;simplifiable in the body will produce "présimplifiable", but in the comments you'll get the literal text. See for example my last comment in this answer (if you were wondering why I chose that word just now...).

• Or just check here with pr&eacute;simplifiable. – Arturo Magidin Dec 17 '10 at 22:00