½ a US-international keyboard (the good half)

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2008/07/29 10:01 -04:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2008/07/29/8787659.aspx

Richard asks (via the Contact link):

I have a (physical) US keyboard.  I often write emails to and about mainland Europe based people, and like to spell their names correctly.
Typically I would remember some key sequences so that I could spell Jürgen's name correctly by typing J,ALT-0252,rgen etc.
I found recently that by switching to a US-international keyboard in windows I can instead use RIGHTALT-u and RIGHTALT-y etc. for easier (more obvious at least) access to those accented characters.
However, it has the side effect of causing me to be unable to write "echo", as the first quote followed by e causes ë to be written instead and i end up typing ""<bksp>e instead, which is a pain.

So - is there a better way (rather than using the character map application) for a US keyboard owner to type in accented characters but not be burdened with headaches around " and ' ?
(I never really use the right alt (alt-gr I guess) in daily use, so it was convenient to use it for accented characters).

While I'm here, some supplemental points:
1) your site appears to crash firefox3 pretty hard, for me at least
2) I use tweakui to set "focus follows mouse".  That's a pain when using the language bar because it switches languages back when you re-focus by moving the mouse.

Apologies if this is not the place to ask, but your blog seemed to have lots of relevant and useful information.


In my book, the best/easiest way to handle this is:

  1. Download/install MSKLC 1.4;
  2. Use the File|Load Existing Keyboard... menu option to load the US - International keyboard layout;
  3. Modify the keyboard in whatever ways you see fit -- both removing the stuff you don't want and adding the stuff you do);
  4. Build this new keyboard layout and install it on machines you use.

And then everything ends up better. :-)

Keep the keyboard layout around for the future, too. If it is what you are used to typing with, you'll probably want to use it again....


This blog brought to you by ½ (U+00bd, aka VULGAR FRACTION ONE HALF)

John Cowan on 29 Jul 2008 3:26 PM:

Time to point to the lovely Latin-1 keyboard (the only magic keystroke is AltGr/Right-Alt) at http://gwalla.livejournal.com/39856.html and the followup at http://unicode.org/mail-arch/unicode-ml/y2004-m07/0288.html


Henry Böhlert on 30 Jul 2008 5:38 AM:

Richard, instead of ""<BKSP>, I'm used to type "<SPC>.

I find US-International pretty slick, but in Germany we don't have too many diacritics, so I'm probably not a good benchmark.

However, it took a while to find the EURO sign € on [Right-Alt] 5: http://www.microsoft.com/globaldev/keyboards/kbdusx.htm

Andrew Cook on 30 Jul 2008 3:08 PM:

Your site works fine for me

Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.9.1a2pre) Gecko/2008073003 Firefox/3.1a2pre

mirabilos on 1 Aug 2008 3:36 AM:


(self-extracting archive)

also has a „complete latin1“

US-based layout, by mapping

Alt_R to a faked Meta

key like on Unix/BSD

M-x = chr$(asc(x) + 128)

KBDmir1U is generated with

MSKLC 1.3, KBDmir2U with

MSKLC 1.4 and has a few

more chars from cp1252.

The <>| key (not available

on a physical US keyboard)

has 4 useful mappings: …€„™

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