Teaching and Learning with Technology

Computing With Accents and Foreign Scripts

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Almost all applications support German accents. Guidelines for typing and using accents are given below.  If you need to refer to additional characters, look under the Accents section. Thanks to Franz Nagel for his technical assistance.

See Also: Germanic Languages

This Page

  1. High German, Swiss German (Alemannisch) and "Low German"
  2. Accent Codes
    1. Windows Alt Codes
    2. Windows International Keyboard
    3. Macintosh Accent Codes
  3. German or International Keyboards (New Page)
  4. HTML Accent Codes
  5. Language Code Details: Language Codes: de (Standard German), see others below
  6. Linux Links

High German, Swiss German (Alemanisch) and "Low German"

There are three types of "German" which are really three distinct languages. The form most familiar to Americans is probably High German (Hochdeutsch), which is the standard form of German used in Germany and Austria. The name refers to the fact that it originated in the Alps, versus other forms which originated from the lowlands. Note that Pennsylvania Dutch, spoken in the Amish community and elsewhere, is a High German dialect.

The form of German used in Switzerland, sometimes called Alemannisch, is also a "High German" (Alpine) form, but differs significantly from standard High German.

Low German (Plattdeutsch) refers to the group of Germanic languages coming from coastal Europe (lowlands), particularly Saxony. However, this branch of Germanic also includes English, Dutch, Afrikaans and Frisian although English is no longer mutually intelligible with other Germanic languages on the continent of Europe.

About German Dialects

Windows Alt Codes

In Windows, combinations of the ALT key plus a numeric code can be used to type a non-English character (accented letter or punctuation symbol) in any Windows application. More detailed instructions about typing accents with ALT keys are available.  Additional options for entering accents in Windows are also listed in the Accents section of this Web site.

Note: The letters ü, ö, ä and ß can be replaced by "ue", "oe", "ae" or "ss" respectively.

German ALT Codes
Sym Windows ALT Code
Ä ALT+0196
ä ALT+0228
Ö ALT+0214
ö ALT+0246
Ü ALT+0220
ü ALT+0252
ß ALT+0223

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Windows International Keyboard Codes

In order to use these codes you must activate the international keyboard. Instructions are listed in the Keyboards section of this Web site.

Windows International Keyboard Codes for German
Accent Code
Umlaut Accent ("+V) - Type double quote, then the vowel.
ß Type RightAlt+S.
Type RightAlt+5.

Windows German Keyboard

If you wish to simulate a non U.S. keyboard, follow the instructions for Activating Keyboard Locales to activate and switch Microsoft keyboards.

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Macintosh Accent Codes

See table below for codes.

Macintosh Accent Codes for German
Accent Code
Umlaut Accent Type Option+U, then either a lower-case or upper-case vowel.
ß Type Option+S.
Type Shift+Option+2.(May not work  for all fonts)

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HTML Accent Codes

German Encoding and Language Tags

These are the codes which allow browsers and screen readers to process data as the appropriate language. All letters in codes are lower case.

See Using Encoding and Language Codes for more information on the meaning and implementation of these codes.

HTML Entity Codes

Use these codes to input accented letters in HTML. For instance, if you want to type Müller, you would type Müller.

The numbers in parentheses are the numeric codes assigned in Unicode encoding. For instance, because ü is number 252, Müller can also be used to input Müller. These numbers are also used with the Windows Alt codes listed above.

Note: The letters ü, ö, ä and ß can be replaced by "ue", "oe", "ae" or "ss" respectively.

German HTML Codes
Sym Entity Code
Ä Ä (196)
ä ä (228)
Ö Ö (214)
ö ö (246)
Ü Ü (220)
ü ü (252)
ß ß (223)

European Quote Marks

Many modern texts use American style quotes, but if you wish to include European style quote marks, here are the codes. Note that these codes may not work in older browsers.

Entity Codes for Quotation Marks
Sym HTMl Entity Code
« « (left angle)
» » (right angle)
‹ (left single angle)
› (right single angle)
„(bottom quote)
‚(single bottom quote)
“(left curly quote)
‘(left single curly quote)
”(right curly quote)
’(right single curly quote)
– (en dash)
— (em dash)


Using Encoding and Language Codes

Computers process text by assuming a certain encoding or a system of matching electronic data with visual text characters. Whenever you develop a Web site you need to make sure the proper encoding is specified in the header tags; otherwise the browser may default to U.S. settings and not display the text properly.

To declare an encoding, insert or inspect the following meta-tag at the top of your HTML file, then replace "???" with one of the encoding codes listed above. If you are not sure, use utf-8 as the encoding.

Generic Encoding Template

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=??? ">

Declare Unicode

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8 ">


The final close slash must be included after the final quote mark in the encoding header tag if you are using XHTML

Declare Unicode in XHTML

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" />

No Encoding Declared

If no encoding is declared, then the browser uses the default setting, which in the U.S. is typically Latin-1. Some display errors may occur.

Language Tags

Language tags are also suggested so that search engines and screen readers parse the language of a page. These are metadata tags which indicate the language of a page, not devices to trigger translation. Visit the Language Tag page to view information on where to insert it.

See the German language tag section for a list of all codes.

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German Language Code Details

For most purposes, the language code is de but if you have specific needs, then these additional codes can be used. Visit the Language Tag page to view information on how to implement these in HTML.

Country Codes

The following country codes are recognized by Microsoft products.

Spelling Reform

These codes refer to spelling system changes and are registered with the IANA Language Subtag Registry (but not implemented everywhere).

ISO-639-3 Codes for Linguistics

These three-letter codes are meant for linguists specializing in Germanic languages. Codes are based on the SIL Ethnologue. For Web pages, the combinations of de-country code are also recommended.

High German

Low German (Plattdeutsch)

See the Dutch page for additional codes




Some content in German.

About German Dialects


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Last Modified: Tuesday, 04-Jun-2013 12:39:42 EDT