With the standard international keyboard layouts shipped with Microsoft Windows it is very easy to enter accented characters: press the accent and then press the letter. But entering the characters to which the dead keys for the accents have been assigned becomes more difficult: press the accent and then press space. And as these accents are used more often than accented characters by many users, the standard keyboard layouts are far from usable.
The keyboard layouts of this project make it a lot more convenient to enter accented characters. It uses almost the same convention as (used to be) used by Microsoft Word. Dead keys are activated using a keystroke which normally does not produce a character. This way all the normal keys keep working as expected, and accented characters can be entered quickly and conveniently.
In addition to being able to enter accented characters the keyboard also makes it easy to enter a number of symbols quickly.
Before you download and install the keyboard layouts, please make sure you understand the changes to the behavior of the keyboard described below. This is standard Windows behavior and cannot be changed, so do not enter bug reports for it:
The following keyboard layouts are provided by this project. Please make sure you use the keyboard layouts only if it matches your keyboard. For example, US (Usable International) can only be used with US keyboards. Click on the name to download the PDF manual:
You can download the installers and the source code for the keyboard layouts from the file list of the project at SourceForge.net. After downloading the installer, follow these steps:
If you download the source you have to build the installer yourself. See building below.
The manual contains three columns for each defined keystroke:
For example, if you want to produce a u with an umlaut (ü) with the US (Usable International) keyboard layout you have to:
The source of the keyboard layouts are the files used by the Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creater (see building below). They are text files encoded using little endian UTF-16 with a byte-order mark, so they can be edited with a Unicode-capable text editor too.
The source is kept in a Subversion repository. Instructions on how to access the source repository using a Subversion client are available on SourceForge.net.
To build the installers for the keyboard layouts from source you need the Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator. This tool is available for free to users of Windows.
The project page of Usable Keyboard Layouts for Windows at SourceForge.net