I'm using Apple's wired keyboard with number pad.


Above the number pad there are 4 unassigned function keys (F16 to F19) which I would like to assign to the German umlauts ä, ö, ü and the sharp s ß.

Is there a way to do that?

  • Not sure you can... but isn't it quicker to do it the 'regular' way, Opt/U, vowel for ä ö ü or just Opt/S for ß ? And what about upper case Ä Ö Ü ? – Tetsujin May 24 '18 at 8:05
  • I don't think that would be quicker. That's what I use right now and it's a pain. Regarding capital umlauts, the function keys should respond to a pressed shift key the same way as all letters. – Casimir May 24 '18 at 11:01

It would be realizable with a -> Service. Such Automator Services are quite fast...but too slow for a smooth typing flow. However, there are third-party hotkey managers that are suitable for this.

  • Butler: not updated for a long time, but very powerful and fast (and free)
  • BetterTouchTool: quick and easy to use
  • Alfred: might be too slow
  • and many more...

With Butler you can execute text directly (!), with the others you might need an AppleScript. Open the Script-Editor to get the IDs for the umlauts:

id of "Ü"

The necessary Applescript for "Ü" would then look like this:

tell application "System Events" to keystroke (string id 220)

Assign e.g. shift-F19 (because of capitalization)

  • Just installed BetterTouchTool. How do I use it to bind function keys to umlauts? – Casimir May 24 '18 at 15:22
  • Installation guide: – spazek May 24 '18 at 19:34
  • Installation guide: [link] (docs.bettertouchtool.net/docs/installation.html) Setting up a new gesture: [link] docs.bettertouchtool.net/docs/preferences_new_gesture.html ...open BTT preferences -> Gestures , choose "Keyboard". Select on the right part of the window "Application: Global" and in the lower part of the window "+Add a new shortcut". Click to record a shortcut. Choose Trigger Predefined Action: Controlling other Applications -> Run AppleScript (async in background). Insert the AppleScript code – spazek May 24 '18 at 19:45
  • I ended up recording e.g. F16 to trigger alt + u and then chose "Attach Additional Action" that triggers a which following the first action macOS converts to ä. The same works for ö and ü. For ß, simply trigger alt + s with no attached action. – Casimir May 24 '18 at 20:03

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