Danish Characters


thatched roof

Danish Alphabet

In the Danish alphabet there are three characters or letters which do not exist in the English alphabet. They are ø, æ, and å. It would be just as wrong to use o in place of ø in Danish as it would be in English to substitute o for a. So it is essential that you learn to make these letters on your computer. You need to be able to use them to search databases, and also to record your findings correctly. Note, that the letter å can be written as aa. Å is the more modern way, rather than aa. Some databases use only one or the other of the two options, so if you don't find any results with å, try aa. These three letters appear at the end of the alphabet, in this order: æ, ø, å

An online Danish keyboard:
Use your regular keyboard to type all letters except for those unique Danish characters which you select by clicking on the screen.

Mac users are lucky because it's very easy to make the Danish characters on a Mac. All you have to do is hold down the option key, while pressing another one.
For ø hold down the option key and press o .
For æ hold down the option key and press ' .
For å hold down the option key and press a.

To capitalize the letters above, just hold down the shift key at the same time.

Venita Roylance of the Denmark list has this advice for Mac users who will be typing a lot in Danish:

In regards to making Danish letters on a Mac, one can use the keyboard shortcuts you listed, or one can choose to use the Danish keyboard. It takes a bit to get used to where the 'new' keys are, but it is very useful when you are typing more than just one or two words. To get there, go to "System Preferences," choose "International," then "Language." Click on "Edit List" and check the box by "Dansk" then click "OK." A flag appears in the menu bar at the top of the desktop representing the default language you use (in my case American). Clicking on that flag will give you a menu of the other keyboards you have selected to choose from, ie Danish. When you have finished using Danish, just click on the flag and return to English. (The same routine works for any other language on the list, of course.)

In Windows 7:

Vista or WindowsXP:
There are several ways to make the Danish letters in Windows. Here are some for you to choose from:

1. Instructions for setting up WinXP so that its keyboard can toggle between English and Danish.By Jim Sindberg of the Denmark Rootsweb list.

1. Click on Start and go to Control Panel.
2. Open Regional and Language Options.
3. Click on the Languages tab
4. Click on the Details button.
5. Click on the Add button.
6. Open the Input language window by clicking what's in it.
7. Scroll to Danish, select and click OK ONCE.

Now your keyboard is duel language capable. But you need to be able to toggle between them.

1. At bottom click on Key Settings.
2. In Action window double click on Switch between input languages.
3. I selected CTRL + SHIFT under Switch input languages.
4. I left Left ALT selected under Switch Keyboard layouts.
5. Click OK and Apply until you are out of Regional and ....

Test using CTRL + SHIFT (pressing the 2 key together for a second)
to toggle between the languages. I just installed this procedure
on one of my Windoz PCs. It works. It took 2-3 times as longer then
installing on my Linux PC, but still only took 5 minutes.

CTRL + SHIFT is a nice selection for me as I am a touch typist and can press both with my big left little finger without looking.


Ian Westergaard of the Denmark list explains how to switch to the Danish keyboard in Windows Vista:

Go to - Start - Control Panel - Regional and Language Options - Keyboards and Languages - Change Keyboards - Add - click on the "+" beside "Danish (Denmark)" - click on the "+" beside "Keyboard" - select "Danish" - OK -
Set your default Keyboard - Apply - OK - OK - close the Control Panel.

2. There is a method for a PC that is similar to using the option key on a MAC - you use the Right Hand Alt Key on your PC keyboard. By Ian Westergaard, Denmark Rootweb List Member.

Åå is Right Hand Alt Key (shift) W
Ææ is Right Hand Alt Key (shift) Z
Øø is Right Hand Alt Key (shift) L

Here is how to set it up.

Install the United States International keyboard.

Windows 98 - Start / Settings / Control Panel / Keyboard / Language /
Properties / Keyboard Layout / United States International / OK / Apply
/ OK. You may need the Win98 CD.

Win XP - Start / Control Panel / Regional and Language Options /
Languages / Details / Add / Tick the box beside “Keyboard layout/IME” /
Click on the arrow head at right hand side of the box underneath /
Select “United States International” from the drop down list./ “OK” /
“Apply” / “OK” / click on your old keyboard setting / “Remove” / “Apply”
/ “OK” / close control panel. The new settings will take effect when you next restart your computer.

After installing the United States International keyboard, experiment with holding down the RIGHT HAND Alt key and the various letter keys and you will find the characters with diacriticals, unfortunately not all of them are available. Press the RIGHT HAND Alt key plus Shift for upper case.

One disadvantage - with some keys, such as " and ', you have to press the space bar after pressing the key before " or ' will appear on screen. But you soon get used to this.

Another alternative is to download Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator (MSKLC) and create your own custom keyboard. The program is easy to use.

For Windows 95 from Jim Sindberg, Denmark Rootsweb list member.

To make the ASCII characters using the "Alt" key on IBM keyboards, press the "Alt" key and while holding it down press the following number combinations. Be sure to use the number keypad on the right side of your keyboard and not the numbers along the top. Also make sure that your "Num Lock" light is on for this to work. A note of caution here; these characters may not display correctly on some Mac machines and may look different according to what country setting the keyboard is set up for.

Alt + 134 = å
Alt + 143 = Å
Alt + 145 = æ
Alt + 146 = Æ
Alt + 0248 = ø
Alt + 0216 = Ø
Alt + 148 = ö
Alt + 153 = Ö
Alt + 129 = ü
Alt + 154 = Ü

There is also another way in Win95, which allows you to switch between languages using shift-control as a language change toggle. When typing in English and you wish to type a Danish special character, you can toggle to Danish, then type the character, and toggle back to English. Easy. Fast. You can touch type this way, even with your smaller notebook keyboard setup with 3 languages.
To setup your computer:

1. go to Start
2. go to Settings
3. go to Control Panel
4. go to Keyboard
5. go to Language
6. go to Add
7. select the language(s) you want
8. select OK and you are done

Now you should have a blue square in your tray. This blue square says En for English or Da for Danish, etc. All you have to do when you want Danish characters is to toggle to "Da" with shift-control and type semicolon for æ, quote for ø, and [ for å. To make them caps, use shift just like in English. Since there will be other keys changes, you may wish to toggle back to English immediately after typing the Danish special characters. Remember the toggle is done very quickly. A held shift-control is used in highlighting text. So you must toggle quickly in order to get shift-control to toggle language changes instead of highlighting.

By the way, the computer should be setup with:

Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit

The image on this site is an interesting thatched roof, somewhere in Denmark.

Design by Paula Goodfellow
Information and text by Paula Goodfellow, Betty Jack, Rock Johnson and other members of the Denmark Rootsweb email list.
Inages and text copyright 2004-2012.
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Page last updated Sep. 3, 2012