Type Characters With Umlaut Marks

Keyboard shortcuts offer a fast solution

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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.

An umlaut is used in many languages, including German, and a few of those languages have loanwords in English, which are words English has borrowed directly from the other language (e.g. the French word, naïve)

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

The umlaut diacritic marks are found on the upper and lower case vowels Ä, ä, Ë, ë, Ï, ï, Ö, ö, Ü, ü, Ÿ, and ÿ.

Different Strokes for Different Platforms

Several keyboard shortcuts to render an umlaut on your keyboard depending on your platform. 

Windows

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

If you do not have a numeric keypad on the right side of your keyboard, these numeric codes will not work. The row of numbers at the top of the keyboard, above the alphabet, will not work for numeric codes.

These are the numeric codes for uppercase letters with an umlaut:

  • Ä: Alt+0196
  • Ë: Alt+0203
  • Ï: Alt+0207
  • Ö: Alt+0214
  • Ü: Alt+0220
  • Ÿ: Alt+0159

These are the numeric codes for lowercase letters with an umlaut:

  • ä: Alt+0228
  • ë: Alt+0235
  • ï: Alt+0239
  • ö: Alt+0246
  • ü: Alt+0252
  • ÿ: Alt+0255

If you do not have a numeric keypad on the right side of your keyboard, or the Num Lock key isn't present on your keyboard, you can copy and paste accented characters from the character map. In Windows, you can open the character map from the Run dialog box.

Microsoft Windows character map
  1. Press Win+R to open the Run box then type charmap.

  2. Double-click or double-tap the characters you want to copy so that they're written in the Characters to copy section at the bottom of that screen.

  3. Use the Copy button to copy those characters, after which you can paste them anywhere with the Ctrl+V keyboard shortcut.

The Windows character map is also a great way to learn which hotkeys produce different characters. When you select one of the characters in the Character Map screen, note the Keystroke information at the bottom of the window which describes which keys are needed to make that particular character.

Mac

On a Mac, hold down the Option key while typing the letter to create characters with the umlaut. A small menu will pop up with different diacritic mark options.

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 option for accessing 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, if you hold down the uppercase or lowercase O key, you can slide your finger over to ö or Ö to use it in texts, emails, etc.

HTML

Computer programmers use HTML as the basic computer language to build web pages. HTML is used to create almost every page you see on the web. It describes and defines the content of a web page.

In HTML, render characters with an umlaut by typing & (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.

Here are some examples:

  • ë: ë
  • Ü: Ü
  • ÿ: ÿ

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