How to Type Umlauts on a Windows Keyboard

The Umlaut Keyboard Shortcuts for Windows

Want to prove your über-prowess with the German language (writing, e.g., Änderungsschneiderei)? Find out here how to type umlauts on Windows (including umlaut shortcuts you can use to quickly type ö, ä, and ü even on a laptop keyboard).

First, Another Way to Write Börd

Bird is among the English words that do contain an umlaut, at least a spoken one.

For the ‘i’ in bird comes deceptively close in pronunciation to the German umlaut o. That umlaut o character did develop from an i brightening an o that came immediately before it in many a Middle High German word, of course.

Either way, let’s turn to actually writing boir… börd:

How to Type Umlauts on a Windows Keyboard

Easy: Using the International Keyboard Layout

On a Mac? How to Type Umlaut Characters on a Mac Keyboard

Time needed: 2 minutes

To enter the umlauts ä, ö and ü using Windows 11 and Windows 10 using any desktop or laptop keyboard:

  1. Do enable and switch to the United States-International keyboard layout.

    How to switch: After you have added the US-International keyboard layout, press Space while holding the Windows key until United States-International appears for the desired input language in the menu.
    Vanilla U.S. keyboard: Using the plain U.S. keyboard layout for Windows, entering umlauts is less than straight forward; you can use the Unicode for the occasional umlaut (see below) or, perhaps better, copy and paste.

  2. Press ".

  3. Now press the character to which you want to add the umlauts, A, a, O, o, U or u.

Almost as Easy: Using PowerToys Quick Accent

To type accented letters—including umlauts—swiftly on Windows using PowerToys Quick Accent:

  1. Enable Quick Accent. (See below.)
  2. Type the letter you want to turn into an umlaut, hold the key and immediately press Space.
    Other keys: The right () and left arrow () keys also work by default (instead of Space).
    Example: To type ö, press and hold O, then press Space.
  3. Press Space (while you keep the letter’s key pressed) until the desired umlaut character highlights.
  4. Release the letter key to insert the umlaut.
    You can insert umlauts and other accented characters with PowerToys Quick Accent

More diacritics: How to Type Accents on Windows

Add and Enable Quick Accent with Microsoft PowerToys

To enable Quick Accent for Windows 11:

  1. Install Microsoft Windows PowerToys from Microsoft Store.
    Winget: You can also run winget install Microsoft.PowerToys in a Terminal window to install PowerToys using the Windows package manager
  2. Open PowerToys.
  3. Select Quick Accent.
  4. Turn on Enable Quick Accent.
    Enable Quick Accent in Microsoft PowerToys for Windows

Cumbersome: Using Alt-Numpad Umlaut Keyboard Shortcuts

You can also type umlauts with a number; to enter ä, ö and ü using the Alt key and the number keyboard on Windows:

  1. Enable the numeric keypad.
    The key: Press NumLock.
  2. Press and hold the Alt key.
  3. Enter the number corresponding to the desired umlaut from the table just below.
    Example: For ö, press 0246.
  4. Release the Alt key.
CharacterUmlautUmlaut Alt Key
a umlautä0228
A umlautÄ0196
u umlautü0252
U umlautÜ0220
o umlautö0246
O umlautÖ0214

In Microsoft Office for Windows

In Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other apps in the Office family, you can use a special keyboard shortcut as well as the Symbols dialog to insert umlauts.

One-Off: Copy and Paste Umlauts

You can, of course, also copy and paste any umlaut character from here; use this table:

CharacterUmlaut
a umlaut
A umlaut
u umlaut
U umlaut
o umlaut
O umlaut

How to Type Umlauts on a Windows Keyboard: FAQ

My font does not support umlauts; what can I do?

If you have no access to the keyboard shortcuts or the US-International keyboard layout, and if even copying and pasting does not work because you use a font that will not display umlaut characters correctly, use the following substitutes:

CharacterUmlautASCII Substitute
a umlautäae
A umlautÄAe
u umlautüue
U umlautÜUe
o umlautöoe
O umlautÖOe

Ligatures: German does not use æ and œ, for instance, as substitutes for umlauts. Such ligatures appear as their own characters in languages such as French, Danish, and Norwegian.

Finnish and Estonian: In these languages, ä, ö and ü cannot be substituted with their ASCII equivalents.

(How to type umlauts using the keyboard (including laptop keyboards) tested with Windows 11 Version 22H2 and Windows 10; updated April 2024)

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