How to Type Characters With Umlaut Marks

Keyboard shortcuts offer a fast solution

What to Know

  • Windows: Select Win+R > enter charmap > double-click the character > select Copy > Ctrl+V to paste, or use Alt+numeric code.
  • Mac: Press and hold Option+u > type the letter or use the Character Viewer program.

This article explains how to create an umlaut on a Windows PC, a Mac, and in HTML. 

What Is an Umlaut?

The umlaut diacritic mark, also called a diaeresis or trema, is formed by two small dots over a letter, in most cases, a vowel. In the case of the lowercase i, those two dots replace the single dot. The umlaut diacritic marks appear on uppercase and lowercase vowels:

Ä Ë Ï Ö Ü Ÿ
ä ë ï ö ü ÿ

Many languages, including German, use umlauts. A few of those languages have loanwords in English, which are words English borrowed from the other language. For example, the French word, naïve.

The umlaut diacritic carries over into English when used in foreign branding, for example, in advertising or for other special effects. The popular ice cream company Häagen-Daz illustrates such usage.

Different Strokes for Different Platforms

Several keyboard shortcuts render an umlaut from the keyboard, depending on the platform. 

Windows Keyboard Shortcuts

On Windows PCs, enable Num Lock. Press and hold the Alt key while typing the appropriate number code on the numeric keypad to create characters with umlaut marks.

Uppercase Lowercase
Ä:  Alt+0196 ä:  Alt+0228
Ë:  Alt+0203 ë:  Alt+0235
Ï:  Alt+0207 ï:  Alt+0239
Ö:  Alt+0214 ö:  Alt+0246
Ü:  Alt+0220 ü:  Alt+0252
Ÿ:  Alt+0159 ÿ:  Alt+0255

Windows Character Map

You need a numeric keypad to enter numeric codes. The numbers at the top of the keyboard, above the alphabet, won't work in this way.

If you don't have a numeric keypad on the right side of your keyboard, or the Num Lock key isn't present on your keyboard, copy and paste accented characters from the Character Map in Windows.

  1. Press Win+R to open the Run dialog box, then enter charmap.

  2. Double-click the character you want to copy so that it appears in the Characters to copy text box.

    Microsoft Windows character map
  3. Select Copy to copy the character, after which you can paste it anywhere with the Ctrl+V keyboard shortcut.

The Windows character map is also a great way to learn which hotkeys produce different characters. Select a character in the Character Map to view the Keystroke information at the bottom of the window, which describes which keys make that character.

Mac Shortcuts and Character Viewer

On a Mac, press and hold the Option key while typing the letter u. Then type the letter to which you want to add the umlaut.

The Character Viewer program in macOS is another way to access these special characters. You can get there from most text boxes in most programs through the Edit > Emoji & Symbols menu.

Accented Letter list in Character Viewer in macOS

Another way to access these characters on a Mac is to use the PopChar X program, which is like a Mac version of the Windows Character Map utility.

Mobile Devices

On an iOS or Android device, access umlaut marks by tapping and holding a particular key. For example, tap and hold the uppercase or lowercase O key, then slide your finger over to ö or Ö to use it in texts, emails, and other documents.

HTML

Computer programmers use Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), a foundational computer language, to build, describe, and define the content of web pages. You'll find it on almost every page on the web.

To use HTML codes for German and other languages to render characters with an umlaut, type & (the ampersand symbol), followed by the letter (like A), the letters uml, and then a semicolon (;). This string must not include any spaces between the characters.

In HTML, the characters with an umlaut might appear smaller than the surrounding text. To make the text flow better, enlarge the font for those characters.

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