Teaching and Learning with Technology

Computing With Accents and Foreign Scripts

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Icelandic, Faeroese, Old Norse

Old Norse is the language of the Viking Era Scandinavian period, particularly the Icelandic Sagas. It's spelling system uses characters such as thorn (þ) and eth (ð) which are still used in Icelandic and Faeroese, but no longer in the other Mainland Scandinavian languages (Danish, Norwegian, Swedish).

For other related languages see: Mainland Scandinavian | Germanic Languages | Celtic Languages

This Page

  1. Browser and Font Recommendations
  2. Accent Codes
    1. Windows Alt Codes
    2. Windows International Keyboard
    3. Macintosh Accent Codes (including thorn)
  3. HTML Accent Codes and Language Codes
    1. fo (Faeroese), is (Icelandic), non (Old Norse)
  4. Runic Script Information New Page

Browser and Font Recommendations

Recommended Browsers

All modern browsers support this script. Click link in list to view configuration instructions. In some cases, you will be asked to match a script with a font.

Recommended Fonts

For the modern languages (Icelandic and Faeroese), recent versions of many fonts including Times New Roman, Arial, Verdana, Palatino and so forth should be sufficient. Many fonts also contain the Old Norse ǫ (o-ogonek) character.

For the more exotic Old Norse manusciript characters (not all of which are listed here), you may need a specialized font such as the ones listed below.


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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.

Icelandic and Faeroese ALT Codes

Special Nordic Letters/Punct
Vwl ALT Code
Æ ALT+0198 (Capital ash)
æ ALT+0230 (Lowercase ash)
Ð ALT+0208 (Capital eth)
ð ALT+0240 (Lowercase eth)
Ø ALT+0216 (Capital O slash)
ø ALT+0248 (Lowercase O slash)
Ö ALT+0214 (Capital O umlaut)
ö ALT+0246 (Lowercase o slash)
Þ ALT+0222 (Capital Thorn)
þ ALT+0254 (Lowercase Thorn)
« ALT+0171 (Left Angle Quote)
» ALT+0187 (Right Angle Quote)
Vowels with Acute Accent
Vwl ALT Code
Á ALT+0193 (Capital)
á ALT+0225 (Lowercase)
É ALT+0201
é ALT+0233
Í ALT+0205
í ALT+0237
Ó ALT+0211
ó ALT+0243
Ú ALT+0218
ú ALT+0250
Ý ALT+0221
ý ALT+0253

Additional Old Norse Characters

If you are using a recent version of Microsoft Word (2003+), you can use the  following ALT key plus a numeric code can be used to type a Latin character (accented letter or punctuation symbol) in any Windows application.

Notes on the Codes

Additional Old Norse Characters
Let Character Code
Ǫ ALT+0490
Cap O Ogonek
ǫ ALT+0491
Cap O Ogonek
Ę ALT+0280
Cap E Ogonek
ę ALT+0281
Cap E Ogonek
Ƿ ALT+0503 Cap Wynn
ƿ ALT+0447 Lower Wynn
ALT+42856 Cap Vend
ALT+42857 Lower Vend


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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.

International Keyboard Codes
Character Code
æ, Æ RightAlt+Z, Shift+RightAlt+Z  (You must use the Alt key on the right)
ð,Ð RightAlt+D, Shift+RightAlt+D
þ, Þ RightAlt+T, Shift+RightAlt+T
å, Å RightAlt+W, Shift+RightAlt+W
ø, Ø RightAlt+L, Shift+RightAlt+L
Acute Accent ('+V) - Type single quote, then the vowel.
Umlaut Accent ("+V) - Type double quote, then the vowel.


Codes for Consonants/Punctuation
Sym Code
Ç Shift+RightAlt + <
ç RightAlt + <
« RightAlt+[
» RightAlt+]

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Macintosh Accent Codes

Most of the Scandinavian languages are well supported with accent codes, but the Icelandic eth and thorn requires users to either switch to the Icelandic Keyboard or use Unicode Hex codes.

Mac Option Codes
Accent Code
æ, Æ

Option+' (single quote)

å, Å


ø, Ø


Acute Accent

Type Option+E, then the vowel. For instance, to type á hold down Option+E, then type A. To type Á, hold down Option+E, then type capital A. Activate the OS X Extended Keyboard for ý, Ý

Umlaut Accent

Type Option+U, then the vowel.

Ogonek Accent

Type Option+M, then the vowel.

«, »




Typing Thorn and Eth

OS X Extended Keyboard

If you are working with a Unicode aware application such as Microsoft Office 2004, Text Edit (free with OS X ), Dreamweaver or Netscape 7 Composer /Mozilla Composer you can activate the Extended Roman keyboard (10.2) or the U.S. Extended keyboard (10.3) and use the following codes:

Extended Codes for Mac, X = any letter
Thorn þ,Þ Option+T (lower)
Eth ð,Ð Option+D

System 9

You would need to obtain an Icelandic Language Kit from Apple Iceland. This would include an Icelandic keyboard with all the accented letters including thorn and eth.

Additional Codes

You can switch to the Unicode Hex Input keyboard and use these Option numeric codes. Once entered, these letters can be cut and pasted as needed.

Additional Old Norse Characters
Let Character Code
Ǫ Option+01EA
Cap O Ogonek
ǫ Option+01EB
Cap O Ogonek
Ę Option+0118
Cap E Ogonek
ę Option+0119
Cap E Ogonek
Ƿ Option+01F7 Cap Wynn
ƿ Option+01BF Lower Wynn
Option+A768 Cap Vend
Option+A769 Lower Vend


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HTML Accent Codes

Scandinavian 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.

Note: All the Scandinavian languages are related to each other, except for Finnish.

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 Þórr (Thor) you would type &THORN;&oacute;rr.

The numbers in parentheses are the numeric codes assigned in Unicode encoding. For instance, because Þ is number 222 and ó is number 243, &#222;&#243;rr can also be used to input Þórr. These numbers are also used with the Windows Alt codes listed above.

NOTES: For letters marked with *,  Macintosh OS9 users must install the Language Kits in order to see eth, thorn.

HTML Special Entity codes for Old English and Nordic languages

Special Nordic Letters/Punct
Let Entity Code
Æ &AElig; (198)
æ &aelig; (230)
Ð &ETH; (208)*
ð &eth; (240)*
Ø &Oslash; (216)
ø &oslash; (248)
Ö &Ouml; (214)
ö &ouml; (246)
Þ &THORN; (222)*
þ &thorn; (254)*
« &laquo; (171)
» &raquo; (187)
Vowels with Acute Accent
Let Entity Code
Á &Aacute; (193)
á &aacute; (225)
É &Eacute; (201)
é &eacute; (233)
Í &Iacute; (205)
í &iacute;(237)
Ó &Oacute; (211)
ó &oacute; (243)
Ú &Uacute; (218)
ú &uacute; (250)
Ý &Yacute; (221)
ý &yacute; (253)

Additional Characters

Additional Old Norse Characters
Let Character Code
Ǫ &#490;
Cap O Ogonek
ǫ &#491;
Cap O Ogonek
Ę &#280;
Cap E Ogonek
ę &#281;
Cap E Ogonek
Ƿ &#503; Cap Wynn
ƿ &#447; Lower Wynn
&#42856; Cap Vend
&#42857; Lower Vend


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
« &laquo; (left angle)
» &raquo; (right angle)
&lsaquo; (left single angle)
&rsaquo; (right single angle)
&bdquo;(bottom quote)
&sbquo;(single bottom quote)
&ldquo;(left curly quote)
&lsquo;(left single curly quote)
&rdquo;(right curly quote)
&rsquo;(right single curly quote)
&ndash; (en dash)
&mdash; (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.

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Last Modified: Tuesday, 04-Jun-2013 12:39:57 EDT