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This question already has an answer here:

I am having a US-layout keyboard for my windows 8. As I don't see these Um-laut signs on my keyboard. Is there any way to input these symbols using non-German keyboards?

marked as duplicate by Carsten S, guidot, Glorfindel, jonathan.scholbach, peterh Jul 25 at 16:46

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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is about computer systems, not the German language. – Carsten S Jul 25 at 15:21
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On Microsoft Windows, you can use the ALT key plus the appropriate numeric string to insert these letters. While holding down ALT, enter the appropriate string of numbers in sequence on the NUMPAD (the top row of numbers will not work).

Ä = Alt-142 (or 0196)
ä = Alt-132 (or 0228)
Ö = Alt-153 (or 0214)
ö = Alt-148 (or 0246)
Ü = Alt-154 (or 0220)
ü = Alt-129 (or 0252)
ß = Alt-225 (or 0223)

Sources:

Typing German letters with an American keyboard

How to Make an Umlaut in Word

  • Those only work on MS Windows. It was asked for but I think it's useful to repeat it in the answer. – Janka Jul 25 at 14:50
  • @Janka Good call. I've updated the answer. – Travis Troyer Jul 25 at 15:05
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The simplest way to do so (especially if you need these characters no more than once) is to select them from the charmap ( Windows ) or the equivalent program in Linux, MacOs or whatever you happen to use, and just copy and paste them. This kind of program is existing on just about any platform. If you were not using windows 8 but windows 10 you could even use the clipboard history feature to simplify matters even more...

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This depends on the operating system and user interface your computer uses.

  • On MS Windows, select the US (International) keyboard layout, then press and release " followed by press and release of a, o, u, A, O, U, s. If you happen to need a single ", press and release " two times.
  • On MacOS, press and hold the option key, then press and release a, o, u, A, O, U or s.
  • On X11 (e.g Linux), press and release the compose key, then press and release ", then press and release a, o, u, A, O, U. For ß, press and release the compose key, then press and release s two times. The compose key may actually be a key combination. Shift+RightAlt is common.

There are many more methods, for example using numeric codes or installing an alternative input method. The above are those most simple to remember.

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It might not be everybodys thing, but when I write in different languages, I actually switch the keyboard layout and use whichever layout is suitable for the language I am writing. Otherwise, I usually have the feeling that I either have to twist and break my fingers to reach 'auxilliary' key combinations or remember endless Alt+XYZ codes.

I am not exactly sure where this feature is hidden in Windows 8, but in the system settings, probably somewhere around 'regions & languages', you will be able to add additional keyboard layouts. Your computer does not know which letters are actually printed on each of your keys, so the configured keyboard layout does not have to match the actual layout on the physical keyboard. After having installed additional keyboard layouts, you can conveniently switch between them either using the default key combination left shift + left alt or configure any other key combination. The currently selected keyboard layout will be shown as a two letter language or country code on the right edge of the task bar.

After installing the German keyboard layout you will have access to the German letters on the following keys:

  • ä on ' (Ä on shift + ')
  • ö on ; (Ö on shift + ;)
  • ü on [ (Ü on shift + [)
  • ß on -

Some punctuation marks and other non-letter characters are now not necessarily where you are used to, but they are rarely used in normal typing.

Most other operating systems also allow several keyboard layouts to be configured and offer some kind of key combination to switch between them.

  • although especially if your not familiar with the layout in question it may even be better if you switch to the said layout on an on-screen-keyboard... For obvious reasons... – der bender Jul 25 at 15:21
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I really like this variant, as there are many more special chars aviable with this solution (works for win with US international keyboard layout).

Ä: right ALT GR + Shift + q

ä: right ALT GR + q

Ö: right ALT GR + Shift + p

ö: right ALT GR + p

Ü: right ALT GR + Shift + y

ü: right ALT GR + y

ß: right ALT GR + s

source


BUT you forgot one

The big ß, the ẞ. It's a letter 'officially' introduced in 2017 for the uppercase ß. I don't think a lot of people know it by now ^^.

ẞ: left ALT + 7 8 3 8 (on Numpad)

source

Unfortunatley not every font supports this letter and this method won't work everywhere.

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