Thursday, May 27, 2010

OS X keyboard layout for Windows

Do you like the Mac OS X keyboard layout, with its convenient mappings for things like true apostrophes and quotes (“example” and ‘example’), diacritics (for things like é and ü) and the cent sign (¢)? Do you wish you had something similar for Windows? One where you can use the same or similar keystrokes to get the same characters?

You are in luck.

I created a keyboard layout using the excellent Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator that duplicates (and in some cases extends) the normal OS X US keyboard layout. You can download its installer here. (This is an executable, and the keyboard layout itself is in a DLL. If you don’t trust me or the link—and really, who should?—don’t click it.) I’ve been using the keyboard myself for quite some time and decided to share it.

Normally the keyboard behaves like the standard US keyboard. However, when you use Alt+Ctrl or the right Alt by itself, also known as AltGr, you get the enhanced behavior.

With AltGr (click the images to embiggen):

The keys with gray backgrounds are “dead” keys. These are used in conjunction with other keys to get the desired behavior. For example, AltGr+E allows you to add accents to a number of letters to get á, é, etc.

With AltGr and Shift:

I also provide some extra characters (these are subject to change in future versions):

Not every font has the glyphs necessary for displaying the characters this keyboard layout can create, but many do. Enjoy!