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The United States-International keyboard layout for Windows

by Steven Marzuola


If you answered "Yes" to both questions, you should use the "United States-International" keyboard layout.

Advantages:

How it works:

First, certain keys become "prefix" or "dead" keys. It's similar to how accent marks are typed on mechanical typewriters.

   ' single quote
   " double quote
   ` grave accent
   ^ caret (Shift-6)
   ~ tilde (Shift-`)

When followed by a letter that can take an accent mark, this sequence creates the accented characters. Examples: á, ü, è, ô, ñ.

This may be confusing at first, because nothing is visible on screen after the first key press. The combination character is not displayed until the second key is pressed to complete the sequence. 

If the next character does not take an accent mark, then the prefix sequence is aborted and two consecutive ordinary characters are obtained. For example: since there is no letter p with a tilde ~ on top, the key sequence ~ p will produce the separate characters ~p.

Second, the behavior of the right-hand "Alt" key is modified. Hold the Right Alt key and press other letter or number keys to obtain a wide variety of other letters and accents. Some of them are duplicates of the "prefix" combinations, others are new. Here are some of the letters you can obtain (the last ones use the Shift key):

¡²³¤€¼½¾‘’äåé®þüúíóö«»áßðø´æ©ñµç¿  ÄÅÉÞ 

How to get the new characters:

In this image, the regular keys/characters are shown in black. "Dead" or "prefix" keys are in blue, and the characters obtained with the Shift-Right-Alt key (shown here as "Alt-Gr", or "Alt-Graphic") are in red. These are the uppercase versions.

U S International keyboard layout

Disadvantages:

Only two that I can think of (in 20 years):

How to install:


Last revised: May 8, 2016
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