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German characters on the Mac (umlauts ¨ and ß)

For those of you interested in typing your answers out without using the mouse and generating these characters for use in questions posted like this one, here's a handy guide (for those of you using a Mac, with the North American keyboard layout).

The option key is used to generate special characters. Option-u will add an umlaut to the character that you type next. Option-s can be used to generate an ß.

For example:
Option-u, u: ü
Option-u, o: ö
Option-u, shift-a: Ä

This mechanic can be used for many other accent characters in other languages. You can see all possible characters by using the Keyboard Viewer and holding down modifier keys: open up Keyboard Preferences in System Preferences, under Keyboard, check "Show Keyboard & Character Viewers in menu bar", and then choose "Show Keyboard Viewer" from the menu that will then appear at the top-right of your screen.

June 15, 2012



It's not consistent, but Safari will often correct for umlauts, too.


It's actually not Safari--that's Mac OS X's built-in spellcheck. It figures out that you're writing in German and then identifies errors. So it's not actually correcting for umlauts per se--it's just noticing that you've typed a word that doesn't exist and suggesting umlauts to match a dictionary word.


Huh. It didn't seem to be doing that in Firefox - but I haven't been able to get the sound to work in Firefox, so I switched to Safari. Whatever it is, it's rather handy.


That has to do with how the application in question was written--if it makes use of the native Cocoa libraries for text input on OS X (like Safari's WebKit) it'll have those features, but Firefox is heavily cross-platform, so it has its own way of doing things.

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