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How to make an umlaut on mac

how to make an umlaut on mac

In the diverse landscape of language, the umlaut—two small dots placed over a vowel—is a diacritical mark that’s crucial in several languages, such as German. For Mac users, who often pride themselves on their devices’ ease of use and versatility, adding an umlaut might at first seem perplexing. However, as a long-time Mac user and writer frequently engaging with multilingual content, I’ve found various swift and simple methods to incorporate this character—which I am excited to share today.


Common Scenarios:

Writing in German 🎓

  • Expressing correct pronunciation in German words like ‘für’ (for) and ‘müde’ (tired).
  • Refining your written communication in German to avoid confusion.

Translating or Transcribing 🌐

  • Including umlauts in translated text to preserve meaning.
  • Maintaining linguistic integrity in transcription.

Academic or Professional Writing ✍

  • Incorporating umlauts in proper nouns such as people’s names or geographical locations.
  • Ensuring terminological accuracy in academic papers or publications.

Step-by-Step Guide. How To Make An Umlaut On Mac:

Method 1: Keyboard Shortcut 🖐

  • Hold the ‘Option’ key and press ‘u’ to create the umlaut symbol.
  • Release the keys and then type the vowel that you want to pair with the umlaut. For instance, to make an “ä”, you would press ‘a’ after the umlaut shortcut.

Note: This method is useful for quickly adding umlauts without altering keyboard settings.

Conclusion: Keyboard shortcuts are a fast and convenient way to type umlauts on a Mac for frequent users.

Method 2: Using The Character Viewer 🕵

  • Access the Character Viewer by clicking on the Flag icon in the top menu bar and selecting “Show Emoji & Symbols”.
  • In the search bar of the Character Viewer, type ‘umlaut’. Select the desired umlaut-accented character to insert it into your document.

Note: If you do not see the flag icon, you may need to enable it in the keyboard preferences as explained in Apple’s support document.

Conclusion: The Character Viewer is a graphical interface that allows for precise selection of umlaut characters and is especially useful for those not familiar with keyboard shortcuts.

Method 3: Input Sources 🌏

  • Open ‘System Preferences’ and go to ‘Keyboard’.
  • Click on the ‘Input Sources’ tab, then click ‘+’ and add the ‘German’ or other relevant keyboards.
  • Switch between input sources by clicking on the flag in the menu bar or using a keyboard shortcut.

Note: Changing the entire keyboard layout can be helpful if you write extensively in a language that utilizes umlauts.

Conclusion: Input sources modify the whole keyboard layout, which can be significantly beneficial for immersive language tasks.

Method 4: Text Replacement 😎

  • Go to ‘System Preferences’ and open ‘Keyboard’.
  • Under ‘Text’, click the ‘+’ to add a new text replacement.
  • Enter a simple code in the ‘Replace’ column (e.g., ‘ue’ for ‘ü’) and the vowel with the umlaut in the ‘With’ column.

Note: Text replacement is a powerful tool for those who regularly use specific umlauts and want to accelerate their typing efficiency.

Conclusion: By setting personalized shortcuts, text replacement functionality allows for quick umlaut insertion without remembering complex key combinations.

Method 5: Dictation 🗣

  • Enable ‘Dictation’ in the ‘Keyboard’ preferences under ‘System Preferences’.
  • Press the ‘fn’ (Function) key twice or use the designated dictation shortcut to begin dictation.
  • Speak the words that require an umlaut clearly, such as ‘München’ (Munich).

Note: The success of this method relies on proper pronunciation to ensure the Mac recognizes the need for an umlaut.

Conclusion: For those who prefer speaking to typing or have disabilities, dictation can be a helpful alternative to manually inserting umlauts.

Method 6: Creating Keyboard Shortcuts 🎹

  • Access ‘System Preferences’ and navigate to ‘Keyboard’.
  • Select ‘Shortcuts’ and then ‘App Shortcuts’. Click the ‘+’ to create a new shortcut.
  • Choose the application or ‘All Applications’ if you want the shortcut to be universal. Enter the exact menu title of the character (e.g., ‘ë’) and assign a keyboard shortcut to it.

Note: This is an advanced method best suited for users with specific and consistent umlaut usage across many applications.

Conclusion: Custom keyboard shortcuts can greatly reduce the effort needed to insert umlauts for power users with consistent workflows.


Precautions and Tips:

Umlaut Utilization Tips 🎓

  • Practice the keyboard shortcuts to increase your typing speed and efficiency when using umlauts.
  • Customize text replacements for common words that use umlauts to suit your personal or professional writing habits.
  • Investigate additional character insertion methods offered by Apple for a method that best matches your workflow.

Enriching Your Umlaut Experience

The use of umlauts extends beyond casual typing; they are an integral part of certain languages and essential for precise communication. As such, doing justice to the texts that require umlauts becomes not just about linguistic accuracy but also about cultural respect. Whether you’re a student learning a new language, a professional translator, or just a language enthusiast wanting to connect more authentically with another culture, understanding and properly using the umlaut is paramount.

Another benefit of learning how to make an umlaut on a Mac is improving your keyboard proficiency. Macs are known for a plethora of shortcuts and tricks that can streamline your workflow, and understanding these can enhance your efficiency across various tasks.

For more in-depth assistance, Apple’s official guide on typing different languages and symbols can serve as an additional resource. You can also explore online forums such as Apple Support Communities for further insights and tips shared by other Mac users.

As technology continues to evolve, the methods for character input do as well. Keeping an eye on updates to macOS and new features introduced by Apple can also provide novel ways of typing specialized characters like the umlaut.


Mastering diacritical marks such as the umlaut is essential for anyone writing in a foreign language on their Mac. By using these varied methods—keyboard shortcuts, character viewers, input sources, text replacement, dictation, or creating custom shortcuts—typing an umlaut becomes a breeze. As with any new skill, patience and practice are key.

Don’t let the fear of making mistakes deter you from utilizing these techniques. As you grow accustomed to typing umlauts using your preferred method, you’ll find that what once seemed like a perplexing punctuation task will have transformed into second nature. Happy typing!


Press and hold the letter key that you want to add an umlaut to, then select the umlauted character from the pop-up menu or press the corresponding number.

Yes, you can press Option+U, then release these keys and type the desired vowel (a, o, u) to create an umlaut over it.

Yes, open the Character Viewer by clicking the Input menu (flag icon) in the menu bar and selecting Show Emoji & Symbols, then search for umlaut to find and insert them.

Aside from using keyboard shortcuts or the Character Viewer, you can also set a custom keyboard shortcut in System Preferences for frequently used umlaut characters.

In Microsoft Word for Mac, you can use the same Option+U shortcut or insert umlaut characters from the Insert > Symbol menu.

Yes, you can enable and use the Keyboard Viewer from the Input menu in the menu bar to view and click on keys to type umlauts.

You can use the Keyboard section in System Preferences to create text replacements or change keyboard layout to a language that uses umlauts for easier typing.

Consider switching your keyboard layout to German, allowing direct access to umlaut characters without additional key combinations.

For HTML or coding, use the HTML entity (like ä for ä) or Unicode. For regular web pages, keyboard shortcuts or software-based methods would work too.

Yes, if you’re using a keyboard without an Option key, you may use the Alt key (if present) or reconfigure shortcuts using System Preferences. For additional assistance with MacOS features or character typing, you can refer to the official Apple support page: Apple Support.