Typing German Characters

Posted on 22. Apr, 2009 by in Language

Have you ever wondered how to type German characters on an English language keyboard? I have a PC and this is how I do it: 1) Go to control panel 2) Under Clock, Language, Region click on change keyboards 3) Go to keyboards and languages 4) Go to general 5) Click add 6) Click on the German. That should work. I also think this is a good opportunity to go over the German alphabet so we’ll be doing double duty today. First we’ll go over the German Buchstabe or letter and the Aussprache or pronunciation, then the English keystroke that produces that letter and some examples of German words that contain that letter.

a – pronounced as ah. Same as the English keystroke. (der Apparat) phone

ä – ay. It’s the quotation and apostrophe key. (die Fähre) ferry

b – bay. Same as English. (das Buch) book

c – say. Same as English. (die Änderung) change, alteration

d – day. Same. (dunkel) dark

e – ay. Same. (elf) eleven

f – eff. Same. (der Feind) enemy

g – gay. Same. (gleich) same, equal

h – haa. Same. (das Haus) house

i – eeh. Same. (immer) always

j – yot. Same. (das Jahr) year

k – kah. Same. (kennen) to know

l – ell. Same. (die Leute) people

m – emm. Same. (der Mann) man

n – enn. Same. (nein) no

o – oh. Same. (oft) often

ö – ooh. The semicolon key. (Österreich) Austria

p – pay. Same. (das Papier) paper

q – koo. Same. (der Quast) brush

r – err. Same. (rechts) right

s – ess. Same. (das Salz)

ß – ess-zett. Hyphen key. (groß) big, great

t – tay. Same. (der Tag) day

u – ooh. Same. (unter) below

ü – uyuh. Left Bracket key above the quotation key. (über) over, about

v – fow. Same. (der Vater) father

w – vay. Same. (die Woche) week

x – ixx. Same. (das Xylofon) xylophon

y – opp see lohn. The z keystroke. (der Typ) type

z – zett. The y keystroke. (das Zebra) zebra

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14 Responses to “Typing German Characters”

  1. ali 23 April 2009 at 1:08 am #

    gut comment

  2. Scott Welker 23 April 2009 at 1:17 am #

    Thank you for taking over the blog, Yohann. THe tip on making your keyboard “German” is much appreciated. Another way to do it is to hold down “Alt” and type the number of the ASCII character for the special character you want. For instance, I will use Alt + 225 to type this ess-zett: ß . The other codes can be found at http://www.asciitable.com.

    Also I have one favor to ask of you, as our native speaker host: could you post the entire blog in German somewhere? It would be nice to try the advanced challenge of reading every word “auf Deutsch.”

    Vielen Dank!

  3. Leandro López (inkel) 23 April 2009 at 4:26 am #

    This is also possible with the following ALT + Keypad combination:

    Ä Alt 0196
    ä Alt 0228
    Ë Alt 0203
    ë Alt 0235
    Ö Alt 0214
    ö Alt 0246
    Ü Alt 0220
    ü Alt 0252
    ß Alt 0223

  4. Yohann 23 April 2009 at 4:56 am #


    Is that for a Mac or PC? Regardless, I think the way I do it is easier. Most of the keys are identical to English. Under your system you would have to memorize or look up the number combination every time you use an umlaut character. But thanks anyway for the tip.

  5. Leandro López (inkel) 23 April 2009 at 6:02 am #

    Those are for Windows. It is true you will have to memorize the codes maybe, but is not as hard as it looks. In fact it’s easier than to use the standard German keyboard, as the layout is different (letters Y and Z swapped their position.)

  6. Todd Hill 23 April 2009 at 1:02 pm #

    Another option with Windows is to select US-International as your keyboard. With this option, your keys stay the same as you US-English keyboard. However you can use the right ALT or Shift+right ALT with another key to get the German characters. For example right ALT+s will give the ß, right ALT+q gives ä and Shift+right ALT+q gives Ä.

    It also provides the option to use double quote+a to get ä.

    This url provides the details


  7. Yohann 23 April 2009 at 5:06 pm #


    transparent.com has a page where you can read many articles in German with an accompanying translation in English. It’s here: http://blogs.transparent.com/newsletter/german/2000/nov_00.htm

  8. Yohann 23 April 2009 at 5:06 pm #

    Thank you everyone for your comments on the various and multifaceted ways to type in German!

  9. Marita 28 April 2009 at 7:55 pm #

    For the Umlaute on a Mac you hold OPTION and click ‘u’ and then the letter that you want the Umlaut on.

    For ß you hold OPTION and click ‘s’.

  10. Eva Onishi 4 May 2009 at 2:25 pm #

    Another way of doing it is buying a German keyboard!

  11. Yohann 4 May 2009 at 5:09 pm #


    That’s true too!

  12. Maus Tastatur 5 August 2009 at 12:03 pm #

    thx i was searching that

  13. Shyamala 20 December 2010 at 5:22 pm #

    Hallo! Ich habe eine deutsche Tastatur bekommen. Aber nachdem ich sie anschließt habe, funktioniert sie wie eine englische Tastatur. Wo ist das Problem? Helfen Sie mir bitte..

  14. Felicia 4 September 2012 at 11:00 pm #

    Thank you SO much. I was looking everywhere for somewhere that would just tell me which key is which after changing it to German (something I’m very familiar with as I already have United States-International and Russian keyboards in Windows 7).

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