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.

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

There are three types of "German" which are really three distinct languages. The language called German is a form of High German (Hochdeutsch) referring to its origin in the Alps. It’s closely related to Yiddish and Pennsylvannia German (a.k.a Pennsylvania Dutch).

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

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 from the number keypad can be used to type a non-English character in any Windows application.

See the detailed instructions on the ALT Code How To for complete information on implementing the code. Additional options for entering accents in Windows are also listed in the Accents section of this Web site.

German ALT Codes

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

Quick Examples

  1. To input capital Ä (ALT+0196), hold down the ALT key then type 0196 (all four digits) on the numeric keypad. The ALT codes do not work with the row of number keys on the top.
  2. To input lowercase ä (ALT+0228), change the code from 0196 to 0228.

See the ALT Code How To for complete information on implementing the code.

Windows International Keyboard Codes

In order to use these codes you must activate the U.S. international keyboard.

Once the U.S. International keyboard has been activated, you can use the codes below.

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.


Macintosh Accent Codes

See table below for codes. The Option codes below work in any Mac application.

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)


German Web Pages

If you are developing Web pages with Spanish content, the following information can make sure that the content is properly displayed.

This section presents information specific to Spanish. For general information about developing non-English Web sites, see the Encoding Tutorial or the Web Layout sections.

Historical Encodings

Unicode (utf-8) is the preferred encoding for Web sites. However, the following historic encodings may still be encountered.

  • iso-8859-1 (Latin 1),
  • iso-8859-15 (adds support for the euro ()
  • win-1252

If possible, you should transition to Unicode.

Language Tags

Language Tags allow browsers and other software to process text more efficiently. They are also important for optimal screen reader accessibility.

Below are some common codes that might be used in the German speaking areas.

Country Codes

  • de (Standard German)
  • de-DE (Germany)
  • de-AT (Austria)
  • de-LI (Lichtenstein)
  • de-LU (Luxembourg)
  • de-CH (Swiss German)

Spelling Reform

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

  • de-1901 (Traditional spelling)
  • de-1996 (1996 and later)
  • de-AT-1901 (Traditional, Austria)
  • de-AT-1996 (Reform, Austria)
  • de-CH-1901 (Traditional, Swiss)
  • de-CH-1996 (Reform, Swiss)
  • de-DE-1901 (Traditional, Germany)
  • de-DE-1996 (Reform, Germany)

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.

Other High German Codes

  • gsw (Alemmanic German)
  • gsw-FR (Alsatian, France)
  • gsw-CH (Swiss German, Schwyzerdütsch,)
  • bar (Bavarian, Bayerisch/Baierisch/Boarisch)
  • cim (Cimbrian, Italy)
  • ksh (Cologne, Kölsch,)
  • lim (Limburgisch)
  • ltz (Luxembourgeois)
  • vmf (Mainfränkisch, Mainz-Frankish, Franconian)
  • mhn (Mócheno, Italy)
  • pdc (Pennsylvania German)
  • pfl (Palatine German, Pfaelzisch)
  • swg (Swabian, Schwäbisch)
  • wae (Walser, Austria, Switzerland)
  • yi (Yiddish)

Historical Stages

  • goh (Old High German)
  • gmh (Middle High German)

Low German (Plattdeutsch)

Low German languages are spoken to the north and are quite different from the High German forms. See the Dutch page for additional codes

  • pdt (Plautdietsch, "Low German")
  • nds (Low Saxon, Low Franconian)
  • sxu (Upper Saxon)
  • wep (Westphalien)

HTML Accent 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
listed above.

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

HTML Entity Codes

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)




Some content in German.

About German Dialects

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