How to type German Umlauts in Windows with a US/UK Keyboard

For years I’ve had several keyboard layouts installed on my systems. Switching between them makes it easy for me to quickly hit the correct keys to type in English and well as German. A handy keyboard makes it easy to switch between them, and a little icon in the Windows task bar shows me what’s currently in use.

This setup worked fine when I mainly worked on a single system and wrote in two languages, but nowadays I work across so many systems and it’s cumbersome to install a second (or third) keyboard layout on each one of them. So I was looking for a way to write out those pesky Umlauts like ä, ö and ü, not to mention the ß (Eszett we call it, rather than “little B”).

macOS has implemented a super easy solution for this: you simply hold down the letter you need an accent on, and an overlay menu pops up that lets you select one for any Western language you can think of. On Windows however… the situation is rather sad. NO native solution exists, and many suggestions I read about offer hack implementations that I’ve not been able to get working.

Until I came across Nancy Thuleen’s website with the following super easy table of ASCII codes:

ALT 0223  =  ß
ALT 0228  =  ä
ALT 0246  =  ö
ALT 0252  =  ü
ALT 0196  =  Ä
ALT 0214  =  Ö
ALT 0220  =  Ü

To use them, hold down the LEFT ALT KEY on your keyboard, while typing out the number on your NUM PAD. Num Lock should be enabled for this, and as soon as you let go of the ALT key, your magic letter shall appear.

Thanks for sharing, Nancy!

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