Umlauts on a U.S. Keyboard

Using the German language can be pretty tiresome for longer texts, when you press the key and punch in a numeric character code in order to obtain this Umlaut. This article will show how to solve this problem.


The "QWERTY" layout has not been designed to work with umlauts. Therefore, you will not typically get an umlaut or "ß" – only vowels with an accent. They are, however, on the "international" keyboard next to the vowel key. So, you just need to learn a few another additional keyboard shifts when typing blindly. The Windows-native drivers for U.S. keyboards include an international version that lets you directly type diacritics and special characters also for many other languages.

Under Windows 2000/XP/7, you will find the keyboard settings in Control Panel under "Regional and Language Options" on the tab "Languages" behind the "details". Here, right click on "Add" and select from the list of "Keyboard layout / IME" the layout "English (United States, International)". Confirm with "OK". Then the new layout in the selection list "default input locale", and close all dialogs with "OK."

By simultaneously pressing the right key and a normal key you can now generate umlauts. The right key is exclusively reserved for this, while the left button remains in its original function, e.g. to achievement menu entries. To distinguish, we use in the following combinations of the right key as >.You get capital letters by additionally pressing the key.


Study following table to have an overview of the system:



"rAlt" - "y"


"rAlt" - "q"


"rAlt" - "p" "rAlt"


"rAlt" - "5"


"shift" - "rAlt" - "s"


"shift" - "rAlt" -":"

" ° " (degrees)

"rAlt" - <[>

"«" (Swiss quote)

<rAlt> - <]>

"»" (Swiss quote)



Additional information