There are three legal variants:
“ and for quotations in quotations
‹ ›. There is usually a thin space between the word and the quotation mark.
The first version is the most used in Germany, followed by the second.
The third is the preferred in Switzerland but allowed in a German text too.
When to use what?
Use „Gänsefüßchen“ for handwritings. They are easy to write.
Use »Guillemets« for printed text or for text for the screen. They don’t break the line as hard as „Gänsefüßchen“, and all fonts use them correctly. „Gänsefüßchen“ on the other hand are broken in Tahoma and Verdana: They point in the wrong direction.
How to type?
On a German PC keyboard the characters are not available. But there is useful software for Windows. ac'tivAid Forte has a module CharacterAid:
AllChars offers some easy to learn shortcuts:
On a Mac they can be entered with ⌥ + ⇧ + W for
„ and ⌥ + [ for
This article lists more options for the most common operating systems.
Don’t ever use
" just because they are easy to type.