Adding German keyboard/input

 

What is the layout of the German keyboard?

Vista Logo
Tutorial on how to add a German keyboard to Windows Vista or Windows 7
Win Logo
Tutorial on how to add a German keyboard to Windows XP
Win98 Logo
Tutorial on how to add a German keyboard to Windows 98
OSX Logo
Tutorial on how to add a German keyboard to Mac OS X
AX logo Alternative for Windows users: Tutorial on how to add AX Character Cycling

German Keyboard Layout

The German keyboard is similar to the American keyboard you are used to, but it adds support for the 4 German characters (ä, ö, ü, and ß) that are not found on American keyboards. Many of the non-alphabet keys are in different places as well.

Note that it also has the keys z and y in reversed position!

We've circled the most important differences in the keyboard below:

Adding an Input Language to Windows Vista or Windows 7:

1. Open the Control Panel from the Start Menu.

2. In the Clock, Language and Region section, click Change keyboards or other input methods.

3. On the dialog box that appears, select the Keyboards and Languages tab and click on Change keyboards...

4. Under the General tab, click Add.

5. A new dialog box appears. Select an Input language to install - search for German (Germany) on the list and then check German. Click OK.

6. The window will close and you will come back to the previous dialog box. Click Apply.

7. Now, in the lower right-hand side of your desktop, click on the language bar.

Then, select DE German (Germany).

 

8. You can now switch between English and German keyboard inputs by selecting the language on your Taskbar. (If you do not see the language selection on your taskbar, right click anywhere on the empty portion of the toolbar, and then under "Toolbars" option make sure "Language bar" is checked.)

Note that Windows only switches a language for the CURRENT window - all other windows still use your default language (which is most likely English). You will have to remember to select German as the input language for Auf geht's! every time you start the program.

Adding an Input Language to Windows XP:

1. Open the Control Panel. Make sure the Control Panel looks like this (classic view) - if you need to, you can switch to Classic View in the upper left side of the window.

2. Double-click on the Regional and Language Options button.

3. On the dialog box that appears, click the Languages tab:

4. Under the Languages tab, click the Details button:

5. In the window that pops up, click the Add button to install German keyboard.

6. A new dialog box appears. The upper pull down menu lets you select an Input language to install - search for German (Germany) on the list.

7. Now use the lower pull down menu to select a Keyboard layout - choose German.

8. After you have selected German as both your Input Language and Keyboard Layout, click OK.

9. You can now switch between English and German keyboard inputs by selecting the language on your Taskbar. (If you do not see the language selection on your taskbar, right click anywhere on the empty portion of the toolbar, and then under "Toolbars" option make sure "Language bar" is checked.)

Note that Windows only switches a language for the CURRENT window - all other windows still use your default language (which is most likely English). You will have to remember to select German as the input language for Auf geht's! every time you start the program.

10. You can also use the Language Bar and Key Settings buttons to edit your preferences on how to switch between languages, and how the language bar will be displayed.

Note: For switching between input languages, might consider using the key combination Alt+Shift because it doesn’t conflict with other programs that might be in use.

Adding an Input Language to Windows 98:

Windows 98 has the same basic sequence as Windows XP - while the look of the dialogs might be a little different, the images from Windows XP above show the correct sequence.

1. Open the Control Panel.

2. Double-click on the Regional and Language Options button.

3. On the dialog box that appears, click the Languages tab:

4. Under the Languages tab, click the Details button:

5. In the window that pops up, click the Add button to install German keyboard.

6. A new dialog box appears. The upper pull down menu lets you select an input language to install - search for German (Germany) on the list.

7. Now use the lower pull down menu to select a keyboard layout - choose German.

8. After you have selected German as both your Input Language and Keyboard Layout, click OK.

9. You can now switch between English and German keyboard inputs by selecting the language on your Taskbar. (If you do not see the language selection on your taskbar, right click on the toolbar, and under Toolbars select Language Bar.)

Note that Windows only switches a language for the CURRENT window - all other windows still use your default language (which is most likely English). You will have to remember to select German as the input language for Auf geht's! every time you start the program.

10. You can also use the Language Bar and Key Settings buttons to edit your preferences on how to switch between languages, and how the language bar will be displayed.

Note: For switching between input languages, might consider using the key combination Alt+Shift because it doesn’t conflict with other programs that might be in use.

Adding an Input Language to Mac OS X:

Mac OS X comes with support for multiple language inputs built in. Follow the 4 steps below to set up your keyboard for German input.

1. Select System Preferences from the Apple menu in the Finder.

2. Under the choices for Personal, select the icon for International, as show below.

3. When the International dialog box appears, click the Input Menu tab:

4. Under Input Menu tab, scroll down and select the German keyboard button. Be sure that the Show input menu in menu bar radio button at the bottom of the dialog box is selected to let you easily switch languages.

That's it! You can now easily switch between English and German keyboard inputs by selecting German on the menu bar (look for the flags!). Note that Mac OS X switches the language to German for all applications. Just select U.S. to switch back to English input. (You can also use a key combination to switch back and forth - see Options under the International dialog).

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AX Character Cycling (Windows only):

Another option for Windows users is AX Character Cycling, an application available for free on the Internet. Rather than changing the setup of your keyboard every time you want to type non-English characters, AX lets you keep the English language keyboard and to "cycle" through foreign language characters built off a base character that does exist in English. For example, an ä is built off the base character a and then pressing F8, and an ö off the base character o and then pressing F8. AX creates symbols from many foreign languages besides German and has a custom cycle called EuropeanCombo, which you might consider if you frequently use non-English characters from multiple European languages. This program can be set to start with your computer, and it works in all programs. If you are interested in this alternative to setting a foreign language keyboard, follow the instructions below to install and use AX Character Cycling:

1. Go to http://vulpeculox.net/ax/

2. Click on the Download Now button.

Download Now Button

3. Follow your Internet browser's instructions to save the file. Once it has finished downloading, double click on the AX icon. You may have to look in your Downloads folder. Approve any Windows popups requesting permission to run the application.

4. You should now see the Setup dialog box. Select the language you want the setup to run in (for native English speakers, this will be English). Then click OK.

Note: This is NOT a selection of the foreign language you want characters for.

Select setup language

Continue through the next screens; they should be self-explanatory. Then proceed with the installation.

5. Once AX Character Cycling is installed, click on its icon on the desktop, Start Menu, or program file to run it. A screen will appear listing the current (default) settings. Click OK to proceed to the main menu.To enable German characters, click the dropdown menu under Main Cycle and select German. If you frequently use characters from multiple European languages and don't want to have to switch every time you type in a different language, choose EuropeanCombo.

Select German Cycle

The Function Key dropdown menu lets you choose which key you must press to cycle through characters. The default is F8, but you can choose any F# character.

The Automatic Start dropdown menu lets you choose whether the program starts whenever you turn your computer on or if you must manually click on the icon to turn it on.

The other choices should be fine at their defaults. Press OK to see the new settings, and press OK again to close the dialog box. To call up the Main Menu after this, double click on the icon again or click on the yellow AX icon in the lower right of the Taskbar and select Settings.

Taskbar icon

6. To type a non-English character, simply type the "base" character and then hit F8. For example, to make an ä, type a plain a and then press F8. If you selected German as your Main Cycle, this should immediately become an ä. If you selected EuropeanCombo you will have to press F8 multiple times to cycle through the other "a symbols" in between: a > à > á > â > ä. If you pass up the character you want, you can just keep pressing F8. You will eventually return to the base character and then start over.

Note: The base character for ß is s or B in the German cycle but only B in EuropeanCombo. It is never lowercase b.

Some anti-virus programs may warn you that the AX program could be a virus--but it is not! Some Trojan viruses hook your computer keyboard to create text without your permission, and AX uses a similar process to create foreign language characters without your having to type them manually. However, it does not do this without your permission and has no malicious content. You can uninstall the program at any time by going to the vulpeculox folder under Program Files (or the custom destination you sent the folder to) and running the uninstall application.

Finally, once AX is running, it can be used in any program including Microsoft Word, Internet browsers, and chat applications. If the response seems choppy or the screen flashes but characters do not change after hitting F8, try hitting F8 twice in quick succession instead of just once to cycle through characters.