I would like to map the Alt (Option) + (a/u/o/s) to ä,ü,ö,ß

Is there a native way, or a software for it?

  • Alt/s is already ß. The others are only one more keypress away - alt/u then a, e, i, o, u
    – Tetsujin
    Oct 2 '17 at 8:24
  • I know, but a direct replacement would be more productive for me Oct 2 '17 at 8:25
  • What is your current keyboard layout? British? German? etc. Oct 2 '17 at 9:05
  • Us International / but I want regular american ABC Oct 2 '17 at 9:24
  • US International PC already has just " plus the base letter to get umlauts. Oct 3 '17 at 0:41

I use Ukelele which is a keyboard layout creator for mac.

I'd recommend "File > New from current input source..."

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Then you can just hold down the ⌥ key and then double-click a key to change its output. Here you can paste your special characters.

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Save your new layout and move it to /Library/Keyboard Layouts/

Then you should be able to choose it from your keyboard/input sources preferences

  • that looks like what I want, im gonna give it a try Oct 2 '17 at 9:27
  • Good luck, ask if you need anymore help (I use this so often, it's one of my favourite tools) Oct 2 '17 at 9:29
  • wasn't that easy, since there were problems with saving it but now it works: äöüÄÖÜ :) Oct 2 '17 at 9:45

There's the default long press functionality, where you long press a letter (~2sec) and it gives you a tooltip with alternatives that are... I guess similar to that letter. You can then press the associated numbers to replace the original letter.

You can also navigate the list with:

  • TAB and Shift + TAB and
  • and
  • Pressing Enter will replace the original letter.
  • Pressing Esc will cancel

Example where I long pressed s

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Example where I long pressed o:

I think it doesn't give me the ö, because that already exists in my keyboard layout as its own key.

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You can adjust the delay for when the tooltip shows up here:

System Preferences > Keyboard > Keyboard (first tab) > Delay Until Repeat

When Delay Until Repeat is set to Short, the delay is maybe half a second, if I had to guess.

enter image description here


I believe you should be able to do that under System Preferences/Keyboard and look for customizations. There is a representation of what each modifier key does wrt the rest of the keys. In any case, search in this site for "umlaut" and see if that helps.

Yeh, there it is... Mountain Lion - Umlauts with english keyboard layout


  • I can't find any customizations in the keyboard settings Oct 2 '17 at 8:23
  • There is no way to customize anything like this in MacOS other than via text replacements, Oct 3 '17 at 0:45

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