How To Type Characters With Umlaut Marks

Keyboard shortcuts for using an umlaut

Close-up of hands writing on laptop
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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 lower case "i" those two dots replace the single dot.

An umlaut is used in many languages, and a few of those languages have loanwords in English, which are words English has borrowed directly from the other language, for example, the French word, naïve. 

The umlaut diacritic carries over into English when it is 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

There are several keyboard shortcuts to render an umlaut on your keyboard depending on your platform. 

Keep in mind that some programs or computer platforms may have special keystrokes for creating diacriticals, including the umlaut marks. See the application manual or help files if the following keystrokes do not work when trying to type umlaut marks. 

Mac Computers

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

Windows PCs

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.

Numeric codes for upper-case letters with an umlaut:

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

Numeric codes for lower-case 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, you can copy and paste accented characters from the character map. For Windows, locate the character map by clicking Start > All Programs Accessories > System Tools > Character Map. Or, click on Windows and type "character map" in the search box. Select the letter you need and paste it into the document you are working on.

HTML

Computer programmers use HTML (HyperText Markup Language) as the basic computer language to build web pages. HTML is used to create most 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), then the letter (A, e, U, etc ), then the letters "uml" then ";" (a semicolon) without any spaces between them, such as:

  • ë=  ë
  • Ü= Ü

In HTML the characters with an umlaut may appear smaller than surrounding text. You might want to enlarge the font for just those characters under some circumstances.