How to make the letters with dots on top

Written by daisy buchanan
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How to make the letters with dots on top
The German language makes frequent use of the trema. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

When typing words in other languages, special symbols frequently are needed, which do not exist on the American English computer keyboard. The trema, a symbol comprising two dots, appears above a vowel in many Germanic and Slavic languages. To type letters with a trema -- or other special characters -- on a traditional American English keyboard, you will need to know and use special alt-codes. These codes are standard for American keyboards and can be used in all word processing programs, in web design programs, on many websites and even when typing on chat programs.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Use a search engine to find an alt-code table. This is a special table, which details the keyboard shortcuts used to type letters with a special symbol, such as the trema. Alt-codes can be used on virtually all computer programs and websites.

  2. 2

    Locate the letter you need to type on the table, and take note of the associated code.

  3. 3

    Click your document so the cursor is in the place where you need to type the special character. Hold down the "Alt" key on your computer.

  4. 4

    Type the combination for your special letter, using the numeric keypad, while holding down the "Alt" key. The numeric keypad usually is located on the right side of the keyboard. When typing alt-codes do not use the numbers in the home row of keys. The code you need to type almost always will be three numbers. For example, to type an umlat (the letter u with a trema above it, frequently used in German language), hold down the "Alt" key and type 129 on the keypad.

  5. 5

    Release the "Alt" key, and make sure the code produced the desired results. Continue typing.

Tips and warnings

  • To insert a trema in Microsoft Outlook, you can either use an alt-code or navigate to the "Insert" menu, and click "Symbols." Choose "More Symbols," and a menu will pop up. Choose the specific character you need and click "Insert."

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