I have already activated the compose key (left CTRL). According to all the forums I've read, I have to punch in Compose, followed by "u. This is what I get as a result: ´u'

I am really stuck here. Any help will be most appreciated.

  • 6
    Which keyboard layout are you using?
    – To Do
    Jun 5, 2013 at 8:25
  • 1
    Also look here for some solutions including Linux: german.stackexchange.com/questions/724/…
    – Takkat
    Jun 5, 2013 at 8:47
  • I found it out in the end :)
    – Simon
    Jun 5, 2013 at 10:03
  • 1
    Or just copy-paste your ü from this thread ;-)
    – Adrian May
    Mar 29, 2017 at 11:27
  • 1
    Try this: Übüntü
    – blaha
    Dec 17, 2017 at 1:21

10 Answers 10



I have worked it out.

Firstly, set your Compose Key to Right Alt (Alt Gr on my keyboard) so that it doesn't interfere with the short cuts for copy, paste and many other combinations.

then go to your document and

  • press the Alt Gr button
  • release it
  • then type in u
  • followed by "
  • which gives you a ü

Hope this helps

  • 10
    To find out how to set the Compose Key, head over to the Ubuntu Documentation page
    – dsample
    Sep 21, 2014 at 18:07
  • For those looking here, at the moment it is Compose then " then u. For this laptop compose is Shift and AltGr pressed down together so the actual key sequence is: Shift+AltGr then "u For my other machines it is just AltGr then "u
    – Max Murphy
    Dec 1, 2019 at 13:45
  • I don't think it's a good idea to set the Compose Key to Right Alt, as this key (Alt Graph) is already set up for shortcuts (see my gist Typography symbols for Linux using AltGr & Compose keys) Better to use the right Windows key. Feb 10, 2023 at 8:18

Update For OS: Ubuntu 16.04 x86_64

Alternate characters (like umlauts) are inserted using multiple keystrokes in conjunction with the compose key. In ubuntu 16.04, compose key binding is turned off by default which can be enabled from

System settings-> Keyboard-> Shortcuts tab-> Typing column-> Compose Key


If the value in front of compose key is Disabled, click the value and Press the key to bind from the keyboard. In my case, compose key is set to AltGr key. Now you system to ready to print all german umlauts as below

compose key + " + A = Ä

compose key + " + O = Ö

compose key + " + U = Ü

compose key + " + ss = ß

compose key + ss = ß

Bam you go!

  • 6
    for me, it is only compose key + ss to type ß
    – ihsan
    Aug 22, 2019 at 10:52
  • For upper-case ß, use compose key + SS = ẞ Mar 17, 2021 at 17:56

I know this question specifies 13.04 but thought I would add a solution for 18.04.

I found the default on my machine without making any changes in preferences was the following (I am using a UK keyboard):

Alt Gr + [ followed by the character to add the umlaut to (i.e u)

  • the easiest for me so far!
    – syss
    Oct 4, 2019 at 23:11
  • 1
    This answer should be more highly rated! The compose-key stuff is a bit of a hack in my opinion and it's better to use what's built into the keyboard layout (although sadly, it's not very well documented). It's also worth noting that this particular solution is not limited to any specific distro or version - it will work on any Linux distrubution that is using a keyboard layout with an alt-gr key (i.e. any of the European ones).
    – Joel Cross
    Feb 16, 2020 at 20:26
  • by far the simplest solution, excellent!
    – suspectus
    Jan 30, 2021 at 18:06
  • I love you so much - this works on Manjaro too. Previously I could only get a capital I with an umlaut by pressing and holding Shift then AltGr, then pressing I, releasing AltGr, and pressing 2. Your method works so much more easily and for lowercase. Jul 13, 2021 at 16:31

I did it using Ubuntu 15.10 with a UK keyboard and EN-GB keyboard. I don't know what a Compose key is so didn't intentionally use one. Instead the following keystrokes put umlauts over ü and ö.

  • press the Shift+AltGr buttons
  • release them
  • then type in u or o
  • followed by "
  • which gives you a ü or ö.


  • Confirm works in uBuntu 18.04 LTS. Exact sequence is (1) Shift + AltGr (these can now be released), (2) Shift + 2 (for quotation marks and now Shift can be released), (3) whatever letter you want an umlaut on eg. u.
    – AlainD
    Sep 3, 2019 at 15:16

In Ubuntu 18.10 and newer the best option if you regularly need umlauts is to use gnome-tweaks to activate the compose key -- install with: sudo apt install gnome-tweaks

Activate the compose key: Start Tweaks and choose at Keyboard & Mouse -> Compose-Key to designate your compose key. AltGr or Right-Alt is standard.

Now you can type Umlaut as explained in other answers: AltGr+" then u will get you ü -- in general you can add any umlaut to letters that take an umlaut or diaeresis with AltGr+" followed by the letter.

  • To install Tweaks: sudo apt install gnome-tweaks.The default Compose key in uBuntu 18.04 was Scroll Lock.
    – AlainD
    Sep 4, 2019 at 8:51

First go in System settings > Personal > Keyboard Layout and add German layout:

enter image description here

Now, select German layaut and check Layout Chart to see where is 'u with umlaut':

enter image description here


For Afrikaans this also works for "deelteken e" and "kappie e" on Linux:

  • after having setup the compose key
  • press the AltGr button
  • release
  • then type in e
  • followed by ^ (shift + 6) or "
  • which gives you ê or ë

Another way is to use Ctrl.+Shift+U followed by the unicode characters, pointed out here:

And the other is typing the Unicode character's code point. To do this, press Ctrl+Shift+U, release all keys (you'll see an underlined u), type the code point desired, and then press Space or Enter to complete.

For example, a common one I use is referred to as “Smart Quotes” which are U+201C & U+201D respectively. So you would type 201C or 201D after releasing the initial keys, and complete the process with Space or Enter.

It works on Ubuntu 18.04, but I am not sure about older version.


You can try this easy solution without any hacks or system file editing. It only uses Gnome builtin tools.

  1. Open GNOME Tweak Tool and enable: Keyboard & MouseShow Extended Input Sources
  2. Restart your Gnome session
  3. Open GNOME Settings and go to KeyboardInput Sources and add the new Keyboard Layout German (US).

The layout is a simple US Keyboard with Ä | Ü | Ö mapped to Alt GR+A | U | O and ß to Alt GR+S.

  • 4
    It looks like you're linking to your own blog post here - if so please do mention in the post that it's yours - we have rather strict rules about "disclosing affiliation" for links (see this harshly worded page in the Help Center)
    – Zanna
    Aug 13, 2021 at 17:41
  • 1
    @Zanna It's not a first offense. Aug 14, 2021 at 8:02
  • Thanks for the note, I was not aware of that, sorry! I got an answer ban now, and I only have two answers left that I could improve. I'd like to contribute to another question, but I can't. I've removed my blog link, so would you please mind removing your downvote? Thanks :)
    – NicoHood
    Jul 9, 2022 at 19:46

I believe my one is the easiest procedure to follow. It worked for me for any version of Ubuntu. The steps are as follows:

  1. Press ALT+CTRL+U simultaneously.
  2. Release U and press 00 (zero twice)
  3. Press F & C for printing ü.
    Or press D & C for printing Ü.

I wish you good luck!

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