For many years, Keyman Desktop has adapted layouts to work more accurately with European hardware keyboards. For example, a US English keyboard has a top alphabetic row of QWERTYUIOP, but a French keyboard has instead AZERTYUIOP. Keyman makes sure that if, for example, you are typing Greek on a French hardware keyboard, the α letter is still on the A key, not on the Q key.

This functionality makes Keyman keyboards far more accessible to European users without needing to design a separate soft layout for every European hardware keyboard. But one area that has always been a challenge has been how to support deadkeys and punctuation characters.

An Example

An example might help. On the Norwegian keyboard, ~ (tilde sign) is available only as a deadkey. You can type it by pressing AltGr+¨, followed by Spacebar.

Key-altgr-_-spacebar

Typing ~ on a Norwegian keyboard

Now, the Greek Galaxie keyboard layout (for typing in Ancient Greek) recognises the ~ (tilde sign) and maps it to the Greek perispomeni diacritic mark in order to type letters such as .  On a US English keyboard, you would type a~.

Key-a-_

Typing with a US hardware keyboard + Keyman Greek

But on the Norwegian keyboard, you would have to type a, AltGr+¨, and then press Spacebar to convert the ~ deadkey into a ~ character.

Key-a-altgr-_-spacebar

Typing ᾶ with a Norwegian hardware keyboard + Keyman Greek

This gets wearisome! It gets even worse with some languages which have multiple diacritics, for example to type ā̀ on on a Philippines keyboard, you need to type AltGr+¨, Spacebar, Shift+, Spacebar, a:

Key-altgr-_-spacebar-shift-_-plus_-a

Typing ā̀  on a Norwegian hardware keyboard + Keyman Philippines

A feature to make life easier

In version 9.0.481.0 of Keyman Desktop, we have introduced a new feature to resolve this. In Keyman Configuration, we have added an option called Treat hardware deadkeys as plain keys, which is on by default (it cannot be switched off in the Free edition).

Keyman Configuration

With this option switched on, you can now type the Greek letter on a Norwegian keyboard with just a, AltGr+¨

Key-a-altgr-_

Now: typing on a Norwegian keyboard and Keyman Greek

And with the previous example of  ā̀ , this is now typed with AltGr+¨, Shift+, a:

Key-altgr-_-shift-_-a

Now: typing ā̀  on a Norwegian keyboard and Keyman Philippines

One small caveat: some characters are only available as deadkey combinations, such as the Latin script ã on the Norwegian keyboard. When this option is switched on, and the Keyman keyboard you are using does not provide a method to type the character in question, you will need to switch the Keyman keyboard off to type that character.

Install Keyman Desktop

If you already have Keyman Desktop 9.0 installed, you can check for updates in the Support page of Keyman Configuration.

Download Keyman Desktop 9.0.481.0 through our website.


0 thoughts on “An improved experience with deadkeys on European hardware keyboards”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related Posts

Amharic

Mitigation for Keyman, Windows 10 1803, and Amharic, Tigrinya and Sinhala issue

Background It recently came to our attention that under Windows 10 1803 and Windows 10 1809, Keyman keyboards simply do not work when associated with Amharic or Sinhala languages, and sometimes do not work with Read more…

Developing Keyman

The Keyman keyboard input pipeline

This highly technical blog post explains the design rationale for the Keyman Engine keystroke input pipeline on Windows. The intended audience is software developers working on Keyman Engine, and other interested onlookers. In the beginning, Read more…

Developing Keyman

How to send feedback to Microsoft for issues that impact Keyman

We report all issues in Windows that impact Keyman to Microsoft. If a particular issue impacts you, it is very helpful to “upvote” the issue or add further comments about the issue in the Feedback Read more…