I am learning to speak Swedish, and my computer has an English keyboard, which obviously doesn’t have separate keys for the extra letters in the Swedish alphabet, so I’ve had to figure out how to produce them. Here are a couple of methods.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Here are the keyboard shortcuts for producing them (use the numbers on the numerical keypad):

Å = alt + 0197
å = alt + 0229

Ä = alt + 0196
ä = alt + 0228

Ö = alt + 0214
ö = alt + 0246

You can easily find the shortcuts for these and any other special characters by pressing the Windows key + R, and typing ‘charmap’. This brings up a grid with all the characters in it – just select the one you’re interested in, and the shortcut is displayed in the lower right hand corner (of course you could also just add the character into your document directly from this tool if you wanted).

Switching to a Swedish Keyboard Layout

Now, if you’re going to be typing these characters with any regularity, using the shortcuts is a nuisance, especially if you’re using a laptop like I am, and have to turn the numerical keypad on and off each time. An alternative is to change the settings in your computer control panel to enable the use of a Swedish-style keyboard. You can then switch between this and your normal layout as needed. Here’s how to do it in XP (yes, I need to upgrade lol – I’m guessing the settings are in the same place in later versions of Windows)

1. Go to Start Menu > Control Panel
2. Select ‘Date, Time, Language & Regional Options’
3. Select ‘Regional & Language Options’
4. Select the ‘Languages’ tab
5. The top section is called ‘Text services and input languages’ – click on the ‘Details’ button
6. Under the ‘Installed services’ section, click the ‘Add’ button
7. Open the ‘Input language’ drop-down menu, select Swedish, and tick the ‘Keyboard/IME’ check box, and choose OK.
8. The Swedish keyboard should now be displayed under ‘Installed services’. You can switch to and from this keyboard layout by using LeftALT + shift.

Now you just need to know where to find these characters on your keyboard:

å is to the right of the P key
ä is to the right of the ö key (i.e. two keys to the right of L)
ö is to the right of the L key

Bear in mind that some other characters are in different places too, such as some of the symbols on the top row of number keys. You might want to refer to an image of the Swedish layout when you’re typing, so you’ll be able to locate any that aren’t where you expect to find them (you could also add little stickers to the relevant keys). Here is an illustration from StuartBrady on Wikipedia – just click the image for a larger version:

Swedish computer keyboard

Swedish keyboard

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