Nowadays, QWERTY has become a topic of great interest and relevance in various areas. Its impact has generated widespread debate and its influence has spread globally. In this article, we will analyze in depth the importance of QWERTY in modern society, exploring its different dimensions and reflecting on its meaning in our lives. From its origins to its current evolution, QWERTY has been the object of study and contemplation, awakening the curiosity of experts and fans alike. Through this analysis, we will seek to shed light on the many facets of QWERTY and its impact on the world today.

ANSI QWERTY keyboard layout (US)
Remington 2 typewriter keyboard, 1878
A laptop computer keyboard using the QWERTY layout

QWERTY (/ˈkwɜːrti/ KWUR-tee) is a keyboard layout for Latin-script alphabets. The name comes from the order of the first six keys on the top letter row of the keyboard: QWERTY. The QWERTY design is based on a layout included in the Sholes and Glidden typewriter sold via E. Remington and Sons from 1874. QWERTY became popular with the success of the Remington No. 2 of 1878 and remains in ubiquitous use.


Keys are arranged on diagonal columns to give space for the levers.

The QWERTY layout was devised and created in the early 1870s by Christopher Latham Sholes, a newspaper editor and printer who lived in Kenosha, Wisconsin. In October 1867, Sholes filed a patent application for his early writing machine he developed with the assistance of his friends Carlos Glidden and Samuel W. Soulé.

The first model constructed by Sholes used a piano-like keyboard with two rows of characters arranged alphabetically as shown below:

- 3 5 7 9 N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
2 4 6 8 . A B C D E F G H I J K L M

Sholes struggled for the next five years to perfect his invention, making many trial-and-error rearrangements of the original machine's alphabetical key arrangement. The study of bigram (letter-pair) frequency by educator Amos Densmore, brother of the financial backer James Densmore, is believed to have influenced the array of letters, although this contribution has been called into question.: 170  Others suggest instead that the letter groupings evolved from telegraph operators' feedback.: 163 

In November 1868 he changed the arrangement of the latter half of the alphabet, N to Z, right-to-left.: 12–20  In April 1870 he arrived at a four-row, upper case keyboard approaching the modern QWERTY standard, moving six vowel letters, A, E, I, O, U, and Y, to the upper row as follows:: 24–25 

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 -
A E I . ? Y U O ,

In 1873 Sholes's backer, James Densmore, successfully sold the manufacturing rights for the Sholes & Glidden Type-Writer to E. Remington and Sons. The keyboard layout was finalized within a few months by Remington's mechanics and was ultimately presented:: 161–174 

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 - ,
Q W E . T Y I U O P
A X & C V B N ? ; R

After they purchased the device, Remington made several adjustments, creating a keyboard with essentially the modern QWERTY layout. These adjustments included placing the "R" key in the place previously allotted to the period key. Apocryphal claims that this change was made to let salesmen impress customers by pecking out the brand name "TYPE WRITER QUOTE" from one keyboard row is not formally substantiated. Vestiges of the original alphabetical layout remained in the "home row" sequence DFGHJKL.

The modern ANSI layout is:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 - =
Q W E R T Y U I O P  \
A S D F G H J K L ; '
Z X C V B N M , . /
Remington 2 typewriter, 1878 - First typewriter with a shift key for upper and lower case characters

The QWERTY layout became popular with the success of the Remington No. 2 of 1878, the first typewriter to include both upper and lower case letters, using a Shift key.

One popular but possibly apocryphal: 162  explanation for the QWERTY arrangement is that it was designed to reduce the likelihood of internal clashing of typebars by placing commonly used combinations of letters farther from each other inside the machine.

Differences from modern layout

Substituting characters

Christopher Latham Sholes's 1878 QWERTY keyboard layout

The QWERTY layout depicted in Sholes's 1878 patent is slightly different from the modern layout, most notably in the absence of the numerals 0 and 1, with each of the remaining numerals shifted one position to the left of their modern counterparts. The letter M is located at the end of the third row to the right of the letter L rather than on the fourth row to the right of the N, the letters X and C are reversed, and most punctuation marks are in different positions or are missing entirely. 0 and 1 were omitted to simplify the design and reduce the manufacturing and maintenance costs; they were chosen specifically because they were "redundant" and could be recreated using other keys. Typists who learned on these machines learned the habit of using the uppercase letter I (or lowercase letter L) for the digit one, and the uppercase O for the zero.

The 0 key was added and standardized in its modern position early in the history of the typewriter, but the 1 and exclamation point were left off some typewriter keyboards into the 1970s.

Combined characters

In early designs, some characters were produced by printing two symbols with the carriage in the same position. For instance, the exclamation point, which shares a key with the numeral 1 on post-mechanical keyboards, could be reproduced by using a three-stroke combination of an apostrophe, a backspace, and a period. A semicolon (;) was produced by printing a comma (,) over a colon (:). As the backspace key is slow in simple mechanical typewriters (the carriage was heavy and optimized to move in the opposite direction), a more professional approach was to block the carriage by pressing and holding the space bar while printing all characters that needed to be in a shared position. To make this possible, the carriage was designed to advance only after releasing the space bar.

In the era of mechanical typewriters, combined characters such as é and õ were created by the use of dead keys for the diacritics (′, ~), which did not move the paper forward. Thus the and e would be printed at the same location on the paper, creating é.

Contemporaneous alternatives

Crandall 1, 1883

There were no particular technological requirements for the QWERTY layout, since at the time there were ways to make a typewriter without the "up-stroke" typebar mechanism that had required it to be devised. Not only were there rival machines with "down-stroke" and "front stroke" positions that gave a visible printing point, the problem of typebar clashes could be circumvented completely: examples include Thomas Edison's 1872 electric print-wheel device which later became the basis for Teletype machines; Lucien Stephen Crandall's typewriter (the second to come onto the American market in 1883) whose type was arranged on a cylindrical sleeve; the Hammond typewriter of 1885 which used a semi-circular "type-shuttle" of hardened rubber (later light metal); and the Blickensderfer typewriter of 1893 which used a type wheel. The early Blickensderfer's "Ideal" keyboard was also non-QWERTY, instead having the sequence "DHIATENSOR" in the home row, these 10 letters being capable of composing 70% of the words in the English language.


Alternating hands while typing is a desirable trait in a keyboard design. While one hand types a letter, the other hand can prepare to type the next letter, making the process faster and more efficient. In the QWERTY layout many more words can be spelled using only the left hand than the right hand. Thousands of English words can be spelled using only the left hand, while only a couple of hundred words can be typed using only the right hand (the three most frequent letters in the English language, ETA, are all typed with the left hand). In addition, more typing strokes are done with the left hand in the QWERTY layout. This is helpful for left-handed people but disadvantageous for right-handed people.

Contrary to popular belief, the QWERTY layout was not designed to slow the typist down,: 162  but rather to speed up typing. Indeed, there is evidence that, aside from the issue of jamming, placing often-used keys farther apart increases typing speed, because it encourages alternation between the hands. (On the other hand, in the German keyboard the Z has been moved between the T and the U to help type the frequent digraphs TZ and ZU in that language.) Almost every word in the English language contains at least one vowel letter, but on the QWERTY keyboard only the vowel letter A is on the home row, which requires the typist's fingers to leave the home row for most words.

A feature much less commented on than the order of the keys is that the keys do not form a rectangular grid, but rather each column slants diagonally. This is because of the mechanical linkages – each key is attached to a lever, and hence the offset prevents the levers from running into each other – and has been retained in most electronic keyboards. Some keyboards, such as the Kinesis or TypeMatrix, retain the QWERTY layout but arrange the keys in vertical columns, to reduce unnecessary lateral finger motion.

Computer keyboards

A QWERTY keyboard layout variant that is used in the US. Some countries, such as the UK and Canada, use a slightly different QWERTY (the @ and " are switched in the UK and both have an AltGr ("alternate graphic") key rather than a right-hand Alt key  – as do most non-English language keyboards; see keyboard layout).

The first computer terminals such as the Teletype were typewriters that could produce and be controlled by various computer codes. These used the QWERTY layouts and added keys such as escape Esc which had special meanings to computers. Later keyboards added function keys and arrow keys. Since the standardization of personal computers and Windows after the 1980s, most full-sized computer keyboards have followed this standard (see drawing at right). This layout has a separate numeric keypad for data entry at the right, 12 function keys across the top, and a cursor section to the right and center with keys for Insert, Delete, Home, End, Page Up, and Page Down with cursor arrows in an inverted-T shape.

Diacritical marks

QWERTY was designed for English, a language with accents ('diacritics') appearing only in a few words of foreign origin. The standard US keyboard has no provision for these at all; the need was later met by the so-called "US-International" keyboard mapping, which uses "dead keys" to type accents without having to add more physical keys. (The same principle is used in the standard US keyboard layout for macOS, but in a different way). Most European (including UK) keyboards for PCs have an AltGr key ('Alternative Graphics' key, replaces the right Alt key) that enables easy access to the most common diacritics used in the territory where sold. For example, default keyboard mapping for the UK/Ireland keyboard has the diacritics used in Irish but these are rarely printed on the keys; but to type the accents used in Welsh and Scots Gaelic requires the use of a "UK Extended" keyboard mapping and the dead key or compose key method. This arrangement applies to Windows, ChromeOS and Linux; macOS computers have different techniques. The US International and UK Extended mappings provide many of the diacritics needed for students of other European languages.

Other keys and characters

Specific language variants

Minor changes to the arrangement are made for other languages. There are a large number of different keyboard layouts used for different languages written in Latin script. They can be divided into three main families according to where the Q, A, Z, M, and Y keys are placed on the keyboard. These are usually named after the first six letters, for example this QWERTY layout and the AZERTY layout.

In this section you will also find keyboard layouts that include some additional symbols of other languages. But they are different from layouts that were designed with the goal to be usable for multiple languages (see Multilingual variants).

The following sections give general descriptions of QWERTY keyboard variants along with details specific to certain operating systems. The emphasis is on Microsoft Windows.



A keyboard with the CSA layout

English-speaking Canadians have traditionally used the same keyboard layout as in the United States, unless they are in a position where they have to write French on a regular basis. French-speaking Canadians respectively have favoured the Canadian French keyboard layout (see French (Canada), below).

The CSA keyboard is the official multilingual keyboard layout of Canada.

United Kingdom

United Kingdom and Ireland (except Mac) keyboard layout
United Kingdom Keyboard layout for Linux

The United Kingdom and Ireland use a keyboard layout based on the 48-key version defined in the (now withdrawn) British Standard BS 4822. It is very similar to that of the United States, but has an AltGr key and a larger ↵ Enter key, includes £ and signs and some rarely used EBCDIC symbols (¬, ¦), and uses different positions for the characters @, ", #, ~, \, and |.

The BS 4822:1994 standard did not make any use of the AltGr key and lacked support for any non-ASCII characters other than ¬ and £. It also assigned a key for the non-ASCII character broken bar ¦, but lacked one for the far more commonly used ASCII character vertical bar |. It also lacked support for various diacritics used in the Welsh alphabet, and the Scots Gaelic alphabet; and also is missing the letter yogh, ȝ, used very rarely in the Scots language. Therefore, various manufacturers have modified or extended the BS 4822 standard:

  • The B00 key (left of Z), shifted, results in vertical bar | on some systems (e.g. Windows UK/Ireland keyboard layout and Linux/X11 UK/Ireland keyboard layout), rather than the broken bar ¦ assigned by BS 4822 and provided in some systems (e.g. IBM OS/2 UK166 keyboard layout)
  • The E00 key (left of 1) with AltGr provides either vertical bar | (OS/2's UK166 keyboard layout, Linux/X11 UK keyboard layout) or broken bar ¦ (Microsoft Windows UK/Ireland keyboard layout)

Support for the diacritics needed for Scots Gaelic and Welsh was added to Windows and ChromeOS using a "UK-extended" setting (see below); Linux and X11 systems have an explicit or reassigned Compose key for this purpose.

UK Apple keyboard
United Kingdom version of Apple keyboard

The British version of the Apple Keyboard does not use the standard UK layout. Instead, some older versions have the US layout (see below) with a few differences: the £ sign is reached by ⇧ Shift+3 and the # sign by ⌥ Option+3, the opposite to the US layout. The is also present and is typed with ⌥ Option+2. Umlauts are reached by typing ⌥ Option+U and then the vowel, and ß is reached by typing ⌥ Option+S.

Newer Apple "British" keyboards use a layout that is relatively unlike either the US or traditional UK keyboard. It uses an elongated return key, a shortened left ⇧ Shift with ` and ~ in the newly created position, and in the upper left of the keyboard are § and ± instead of the traditional EBCDIC codes. The middle-row key that fits inside the return key has \ and Pipe symbol.

United States

United States keyboard layout

The arrangement of the character input keys and the Shift keys contained in this layout is specified in the US national standard ANSI-INCITS 154-1988 (R1999) (formerly ANSI X3.154-1988 (R1999)), where this layout is called "ASCII keyboard". The complete US keyboard layout, as it is usually found, also contains the usual function keys in accordance with the international standard ISO/IEC 9995-2, although this is not explicitly required by the US American national standard.

US keyboards are used not only in the United States, but also in many other English-speaking places, (except UK and Ireland), including India, Australia, Anglophone Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, South Africa, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, and Indonesia that uses the same 26-letter alphabets as English. In many other English-speaking jurisdictions (e.g., Canada, Australia, the Caribbean nations, Hong Kong, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Singapore, New Zealand, and South Africa), local spelling sometimes conforms more closely to British English usage, although these nations decided to use a US English keyboard layout. Until Windows 8 and later versions, when Microsoft separated the settings, this had the undesirable side effect of also setting the language to US English, rather than the local orthography.

The US keyboard layout has a second Alt instead of the AltGr key and does not use any dead keys; this makes it inefficient for all but a handful of languages. On the other hand, the US keyboard layout (or the similar UK layout) is occasionally used by programmers in countries where the keys for [{ are located in less convenient positions on the locally customary layout.

On some keyboards the Enter is bigger than traditionally and takes up also a part of the line above, more or less the area of the traditional location of the \ key. In these cases the backslash is located in alternative places. It can be situated one line above the default location, on the right of the = key . Sometimes it is placed one line below its traditional situation, on the right of the ' (in these cases the ↵ Enter key is narrower than usual on the line of its default location). It may also be two lines below its default situation on the right of a narrower than traditionally right Shift key.


Two keyboard layouts that are based on Qwerty are used in Arabic-speaking countries. Microsoft designate them as Arabic (101) and Arabic (102). In both the number line is identical to the American layout, beside ( ) being mirrored, and not including the key to the left of 1. The \ key on the right side of the keyboard is also the same. | could also be produced by shifting the key on the left side of the keyboard. "? are produced by shifting the same keys, but ? is mirrored to ؟. In Arabic (102) it's true also for {} which are again mirrored. Finally, , instead of being the normal output of their keys, are produced by shifting the same keys.


Czech QWERTY keyboard layout

The typewriter came to the Czech-speaking area in the late 19th century, when it was part of Austria-Hungary where German was the dominant language of administration. Therefore, Czech typewriters have the QWERTZ layout.

However, with the introduction of imported computers, especially since the 1990s, the QWERTY keyboard layout is frequently used for computer keyboards. The Czech QWERTY layout differs from QWERTZ in that the characters (e.g. @$& and others) missing from the Czech keyboard are accessible with AltGr on the same keys where they are located on an American keyboard. In Czech QWERTZ keyboards the positions of these characters accessed through AltGr differs.


Danish keyboard layout

Both the Danish and Norwegian keyboards include dedicated keys for the letters Å/å, Æ/æ and Ø/ø, but the placement is a little different, as the Æ and Ø keys are swapped on the Norwegian layout. (The Finnish–Swedish keyboard is also largely similar to the Norwegian layout, but the Ø and Æ are replaced with Ö and Ä. On some systems, the Danish keyboard may allow typing Ö/ö and Ä/ä by holding the AltGr or Option key while striking Ø and Æ, respectively.) Computers with Windows are commonly sold with ÖØÆ and ÄÆØ printed on the two keys, allowing same computer hardware to be sold in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, with different operating system settings.

Dutch (Netherlands)

Dutch (Netherlands) keyboard layout

Though it is seldom used (most Dutch keyboards use US International layout), the Dutch layout uses QWERTY but has additions for the sign, the diaresis (¨), and the braces ({ }) as well as different locations for other symbols. An older version contained a single-stroke key for the Dutch character IJ/ij, which is usually typed by the combination of I and J. In the 1990s, there was a version with the now-obsolete florin sign (Dutch: guldenteken) for IBM PCs.

In Flanders (the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium), "AZERTY" keyboards are used instead, due to influence from the French-speaking part of Belgium.

See also #US-International in the Netherlands below.


Estonian keyboard layout

The keyboard layout used in Estonia is virtually the same as the Swedish layout. The main difference is that the Å and ¨ keys (to the right of P) are replaced with Ü and Õ respectively (the latter letter being the most distinguishing feature of the Estonian alphabet). Some special symbols and dead keys are also moved around.


Faroese keyboard layout

The same as the Danish layout with added Đ (Eth), since the Faroe Islands are a self-governed part of the Kingdom of Denmark.

French (Canada)

A simplified Canadian French keyboard layout. A fully standard keyboard has significantly more symbols.

This keyboard layout is commonly used in Canada by French-speaking Canadians. It is the most common layout for laptops and stand-alone keyboards aimed at the Francophone market. Unlike the AZERTY layout used in France and Belgium, it is a QWERTY layout and as such is also relatively commonly used by English speakers in the US and Canada (accustomed to using US standard QWERTY keyboards) for easy access to the accented letters found in some French loanwords. It can be used to type all accented French characters, as well as some from other languages, and serves all English functions as well. It is popular mainly because of its close similarity to the basic US keyboard commonly used by English-speaking Canadians and Americans and historical use of US-made typewriters by French-Canadians. It can also easily 'map' to or from a standard US QWERTY keyboard with the sole loss the guillemet/degree sign key. Its significant difference from the US standard is that the right Alt key is reconfigured as an AltGr key that gives easy access to a further range of characters (marked in blue and red on the keyboard image. Blue indicates an alternative character that will display as typed. Red indicates a dead key: the diacritic will be applied to the next vowel typed.)

In some variants, the key names are translated to French:

  • ⇪ Caps Lock is Fix Maj or Verr Maj (short for Fixer/Verrouiller Majuscule, meaning Lock Uppercase).
  • ↵ Enter is ↵ Entrée.
  • Esc is Échap.


Modern Greek keyboard layout
  • The stress accents, indicated in red, are produced by pressing that key (or shifted key) followed by an appropriate vowel.
  • Use of the AltGr key may produce the characters shown in blue.


Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Luxembourg use QWERTZ layouts, where the letter Z is to the right of T.


Icelandic keyboard layout

The Icelandic keyboard layout is different from the standard QWERTY keyboard because the Icelandic alphabet has some special letters, most of which it shares with the other Nordic countries: Þ/þ, Ð/ð, Æ/æ, and Ö/ö. (Æ/æ also occurs in Norwegian, Danish and Faroese, Ð/ð in Faroese, and Ö/ö in Swedish, Finnish and Estonian. In Norwegian Ö/ö could be substituted for Ø/Ø which is the same sound/letter and is widely understood).

The letters Á/á, Ý/ý, Ú/ú, Í/í, and É/é are produced by first pressing the ´ dead key and then the corresponding letter. The Nordic letters Å/å and Ä/ä can be produced by first pressing °, located below the Esc key, and ⇧ Shift+° (for ¨, two dots) which also works for the non-Nordic ÿ, Ü/ü, Ï/ï, and Ë/ë. These letters are not used natively in Icelandic, but may have been implemented for ease of communication in other Nordic languages.[citation needed] Additional diacritics may be found behind the AltGr key: AltGr++ for ˋ (freestanding grave accent, "backtick") and AltGr+´ for ˆ (freestanding circumflex).


Microsoft Windows Irish layout

Microsoft Windows includes an Irish layout which supports acute accents with AltGr for the Irish language and grave accents with the ` dead key for Scots Gaelic. The other Insular Celtic languages have their own layout. The default UK/Irish layout supports acute accents as standard and is thus more commonly used.


Italian keyboard layout
  • Braces (right above square brackets and shown in purple) are given with both AltGr+⇧ Shift pressed.
  • The tilde (~) and backquote (`) characters are not present on the Italian keyboard layout (with Linux, they are available by pressing AltGr+Shif+ì, and AltGr+⇧ Shift+'; Windows might not recognise these keybindings).
  • When using Microsoft Windows, the standard Italian keyboard layout does not allow one to write 100% correct Italian language, since it lacks capital accented vowels, and in particular the È key. The common workaround is writing E' (E followed by an apostrophe) instead, or relying on the auto-correction feature of several word processors when available. It is possible to obtain the È symbol in MS Windows by typing Alt+0200. Mac users, however, can write the correct accented character by pressing ⇧ Shift+⌥ Option+E or, in the usual Mac way, by pressing the correct key for the accent (in this case Alt+9) and subsequently pressing the wanted letter (in this case ⇧ Shift+E). Linux users can also write it by pressing the è key with ⇪ Caps Lock enabled.

There is an alternate layout, which differs only in disposition of characters accessible through AltGr, and includes the tilde and the curly brackets. It is commonly used in IBM keyboards.

Italian typewriters often[citation needed] have the QZERTY layout instead.

The Italian-speaking part of Switzerland uses the QWERTZ keyboard.


Although rarely used, a keyboard layout specifically designed for the Latvian language called ŪGJRMV exists. The Latvian QWERTY keyboard layout is most commonly used; its layout is the same as Latin ones, but with a dead key, which allows entering special characters (āčēģīķļņõŗšūž). The most common dead key is the apostrophe ', which is followed by AltGr (Windows default for Latvian layout). Some prefer using the tick `.


Where in standard QWERTY the number row is located, you find in Lithuanian QWERTY: Ą, Č,Ę, Ė, Į, Š, Ų, Ū, Ž, instead of their counterparts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, =. If you still want to use the numbers, you can create them in combination with the AltGr key. Aside from these changes the keyboard is standard QWERTY. Besides QWERTY, the ĄŽERTY layout without the adjustment of the number row is used.


The Maltese language uses Unicode (UTF-8) to display the Maltese diacritics: ċ Ċ; ġ Ġ; ħ Ħ; ż Ż (together with à À; è È; ì Ì; ò Ò; ù Ù). There are two standard keyboard layouts Archived 8 December 2015 at the Wayback Machine for Maltese, according to "MSA 100:2002 Maltese Keyboard Standard"; one of 47 keys and one of 48 keys. The 48-key layout is the most popular.


Norwegian keyboard layout
Norwegian with Sámi

The Norwegian languages use the same letters as Danish, but the Norwegian keyboard differs from the Danish layout regarding the placement of the Ø, Æ and \ (backslash) keys. On the Danish keyboard, the Ø and Æ are swapped. The Swedish keyboard is also similar to the Norwegian layout, but Ø and Æ are replaced with Ö and Ä. On some systems, the Norwegian keyboard may allow typing Ö/ö and Ä/ä by holding the AltGr or Option key while striking Ø and Æ, respectively.

There is also an alternative keyboard layout called Norwegian with Sámi, which allows for easier input of the characters required to write various Sámi languages. All the Sámi characters are accessed through the AltGr key.

On Macintosh computers, the Norwegian and Norwegian extended keyboard layouts have a slightly different placement for some of the symbols obtained with the help of the Shift or Option keys. Notably, the $ sign is accessed with ⇧ Shift+4 and ¢ with ⇧ Shift+⌥ Option+4. Furthermore, the frequently used @ is placed between Æ and Return.


Polish typist's keyboard (QWERTZ PN-87)
Polish programmer's keyboard

Most typewriters use a QWERTZ keyboard with Polish letters (with diacritical marks) accessed directly (officially approved as "Typist's keyboard", Polish: klawiatura maszynistki, Polish Standard PN-87), which is mainly ignored in Poland as impractical (custom-made keyboards, e.g., those in the public sector as well as some Apple computers, present an exception to this paradigm); the "Polish programmer's" (Polish: polski programisty) layout has become the de facto standard, used on virtually all computers sold on the Polish market.

Most computer keyboards in Poland are laid out according to the standard US visual and functional layout. Polish diacritics are accessed by using the AltGr key with a corresponding similar letter from the base Latin alphabet. Normal capitalization rules apply with respect to Shift and Caps Lock keys. For example, to enter "Ź", one can type ⇧ Shift+AltGr+X with Caps Lock off, or turn on Caps Lock and type AltGr+X.

Both ANSI and ISO mechanical layouts are common sights, and even some non-standard mechanical layouts are in use. ANSI is often preferred, as the additional key provides no additional function, at least in Microsoft Windows where it duplicates the backslash key, while taking space from the Shift key. Many keyboards do not label AltGr as such, leaving the Alt marking as in the US layout - the right Alt key nevertheless functions as AltGr in this layout, causing possible confusion when keyboard shortcuts with the Alt key are required (these usually work only with the left Alt) and causing the key to be commonly referred to as right Alt (Polish: prawy Alt). However, keyboards with AltGr marking are available and it is also officially used by Microsoft when depicting the layout.

Key combinations to obtain Polish characters (Windows)
Caps Lock state In combination with Keystroke
Off right Alt ą ć ę ł ń ó ś ż ź
Shift & right Alt Ą Ć Ę Ł Ń Ó Ś Ż Ź
On right Alt Ą Ć Ę Ł Ń Ó Ś Ż Ź
Shift & right Alt ą ć ę ł ń ó ś ż ź
Note: On Polish programmer keyboard, right Alt plays the role of AltGr

Also, on MS Windows, the tilde character "~" (⇧ Shift+`) acts as a dead key to type Polish letters (with diacritical marks) thus, to obtain an "Ł", one may press ⇧ Shift+`L. The tilde character is obtained with ⇧ Shift+`Space.

In Linux-based systems, the euro symbol is typically mapped to Alt+5 instead of Alt+U, the tilde acts as a normal key, and several accented letters from other European languages are accessible through combinations with left Alt. Polish letters are also accessible by using the Compose key.

Software keyboards on touchscreen devices usually make the Polish diacritics available as one of the alternatives which show up after long-pressing the corresponding Latin letter. However, modern predictive text and autocorrection algorithms largely mitigate the need to type them directly on such devices.



Portuguese (Brazil) keyboard layout

The Brazilian computer keyboard layout is specified in the ABNT NBR 10346 variant 2 (alphanumeric portion) and 10347 (numeric portion) standards.

Essentially, the Brazilian keyboard contains dead keys for five variants of diacritics in use in the language; the letter Ç, the only application of the cedilla in Portuguese, has its own key. In some keyboard layouts the AltGr+C combination produces the ₢ character (Unicode 0x20A2), symbol for the old currency cruzeiro, a symbol that is not used in practice (the common abbreviation in the eighties and nineties used to be Cr$). The cent sign ¢, is accessible via AltGr+5, but is not commonly used for the centavo, subunit of previous currencies as well as the current real, which itself is represented by R$. The Euro sign € is not standardized in this layout. The masculine and feminine ordinals ª and º are accessible via AltGr combinations. The section sign § (Unicode U+00A7), in Portuguese called parágrafo, is nowadays practically only used to denote sections of laws.

Variant 2 of the Brazilian keyboard, the only which gained general acceptance (MS Windows treats both variants as the same layout), has a unique mechanical layout, combining some features of the ISO 9995-3 and the JIS keyboards in order to fit 12 keys between the left and right Shift (compared to the American standard of 10 and the international of 11). Its modern, IBM PS/2-based variations, are thus known as 107-keys keyboards, and the original PS/2 variation was 104-key. Variant 1, never widely adopted, was based on the ISO 9995-2 keyboards. To make this layout usable with keyboards with only 11 keys in the last row, the rightmost key (/?°) has its functions replicated across the AltGr+Q, AltGr+W, and AltGr+E combinations.


Portuguese (Portugal) keyboard layout

Essentially, the Portuguese keyboard contains dead keys for five variants of diacritics; the letter Ç, the only application of the cedilla in Portuguese, has its own key, but there are also a dedicated key for the ordinal indicators and a dedicated key for quotation marks. The AltGr+E combination for producing the euro sign € (Unicode 0x20AC) has become standard. On some QWERTY keyboards the key labels are translated, but the majority are labelled in English.

During the 20th century, a different keyboard layout, HCESAR, was in widespread use in Portugal.

Romanian (in Romania and Moldova)

Romanian keyboard layout

The current Romanian National Standard SR 13392:2004 establishes two layouts for Romanian keyboards: a "primary" one and a "secondary" one.

The "primary" layout is intended for traditional users who have learned how to type with older, Microsoft-style implementations of the Romanian keyboard. The "secondary" layout is mainly used by programmers as it does not contradict the physical arrangement of keys on a US-style keyboard. The "secondary" arrangement is used as the default Romanian layout by Linux distributions, as defined in the "X Keyboard Configuration Database".

There are four Romanian-specific characters that are incorrectly implemented in versions of Microsoft Windows until Vista came out:

  • Ș (U+0218, S with comma), incorrectly implemented as Ş (U+015E, S with cedilla)
  • ș (U+0219, s with comma), incorrectly implemented as ş (U+015F, s with cedilla)
  • Ț (U+021A, T with comma), incorrectly implemented as Ţ (U+0162, T with cedilla)
  • ț (U+021B, t with comma), incorrectly implemented as ţ (U+0163, t with cedilla)

The cedilla-versions of the characters do not exist in the Romanian language (they came to be used due to a historic bug). The UCS now says that encoding this was a mistake because it messed up Romanian data and the letters with cedilla and the letters with comma are the same letter with a different style.

Since Romanian hardware keyboards are not widely available, Cristian Secară has created a driver that allows Romanian characters to be generated with a US-style keyboard in all versions of Windows prior to Vista through the use of the AltGr key modifier.

Windows Vista and newer versions include the correct diacritical signs in the default Romanian Keyboard layout.

This layout has the Z and Y keys mapped like in English layouts and also includes characters like the 'at' (@) and dollar ($) signs, among others. The older cedilla-version layout is still included albeit as the 'Legacy' layout.


Slovak QWERTY/Z keyboard layout

In Slovakia, similarly to the Czech Republic, both QWERTZ and QWERTY keyboard layouts are used. QWERTZ is the default keyboard layout for Slovak in Microsoft Windows.



Spanish keyboard layout

The Spanish keyboard layout is used to write in Spanish and in other languages of Spain such as Catalan, Basque, Galician, Aragonese, Asturian and Occitan. It includes Ñ for Spanish, Asturian and Galician, the acute accent, the diaeresis, the inverted question and exclamation marks (¿, ¡), the superscripted o and a (º, ª) for writing abbreviated ordinal numbers in masculine and feminine in Spanish and Galician, and finally, some characters required only for typing Catalan and Occitan, namely Ç, the grave accent and the interpunct (punt volat / punt interior, used in l·l, n·h, s·h; located at Shift-3). It can also be used to write other international characters, such as those using a circumflex accent (used in French and Portuguese among others) or a tilde (used in both Spanish and Portuguese), which are available as dead keys. However, it lacks two characters used in Asturian: and (historically, general support for these two has been poor – they aren't present in the ISO 8859-1 character encoding standard, or any other ISO/IEC 8859 standard). Several alternative distributions, based on this one or created from scratch, have been created to address this issue (see the Other original layouts and layout design software section for more information).

On most keyboards, € is marked as Alt Gr + E and not Alt Gr + 5 as shown in the image. However, in some keyboards, € is found marked twice. An alternative version exists, supporting all of ISO 8859-1.

Spanish keyboards are usually labelled in Spanish instead of English, its abbreviations being:

Spanish label English equivalent
Insertar (Ins) Insert (Ins)
Suprimir (Supr) Delete (Del)
Retroceder página (Re Pág) Page up (PgUp)
Avanzar página (Av Pág) Page down (PgDn)
Inicio Home
Fin End
Imprimir pantalla / Petición de sistema (Impr Pant/PetSis) Print Screen / System request (PrtScn/SysRq)
Bloqueo de mayúsculas (Bloq Mayús) Caps Lock
Bloqueo numérico (Bloq Num) Num Lock
Bloqueo de desplazamiento (Bloq Despl) Scroll Lock
Pausa / Interrumpir (Pausa/Inter) Pause/Break
Intro Enter

On some keyboards, the c-cedilla key (Ç) is located one or two lines above, rather than on the right of, the acute accent key (´). In some cases it is placed on the right of the plus sign key (+), while in other keyboards it is situated on the right of the inverted exclamation mark key (¡).[circular reference]

Latin America, officially known as Spanish Latinamerican sort

Latin American Spanish keyboard layout

The Latin American Spanish keyboard layout is used throughout Mexico, Central and South America. Before its design, Latin American vendors had been selling the Spanish (Spain) layout as default.

Its most obvious difference from the Spanish (Spain) layout is the lack of a Ç key; on Microsoft Windows, it lacks a tilde (~) dead key, whereas on Linux systems the dead tilde can be optionally enabled. This is not a problem when typing in Spanish, but it is rather problematic when typing in Portuguese, which can be an issue in countries with large commercial ties to Brazil (Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay).

Normally "Bloq Mayús" is used instead of "Caps Lock", and "Intro" instead of "Enter".


Swedish Windows keyboard layout

The central characteristics of the Swedish keyboard are the three additional letters Å/å, Ä/ä, and Ö/ö. The same visual layout is also in use in Finland and Estonia, as the letters Ä/ä and Ö/ö are shared with the Swedish language, and even Å/å is needed by Swedish-speaking Finns. However, the Finnish multilingual keyboard adds new letters and punctuation to the functional layout.

The Norwegian keyboard largely resembles the Swedish layout, but the Ö and Ä are replaced with Ø and Æ. The Danish keyboard is also similar, but it has the Ø and Æ swapped. On some systems, the Swedish or Finnish keyboard may allow typing Ø/ø and Æ/æ by holding the AltGr or Option key while striking Ö and Ä, respectively.

The Swedish with Sámi keyboard allows typing not only Ø/ø and Æ/æ, but even the letters required to write various Sámi languages. This keyboard has the same function for all the keys engraved on the regular Swedish keyboard, and the additional letters are available through the AltGr key.

On Macintosh computers, the Swedish and Swedish Pro keyboards differ somewhat from the image shown above, especially as regards the characters available using the Shift or Option keys. ⇧ Shift+§ (on the upper row) produces the ° sign, and ⇧ Shift+4 produces the sign. The digit keys produce ©@£$∞§ with ⌥ Option and ¡"¥¢‰¶\{}≠ with ⌥ Option+⇧ Shift.

On Linux systems, the Swedish keyboard may also give access to additional characters as follows:

  • first row: AltGr ¶¡@£$€¥{}\± and AltGr+⇧ Shift ¾¹²³¼¢⅝÷«»°¿¬
  • second row: AltGr @ł€®þ←↓→œþ"~ and AltGr+⇧ Shift ΩŁ¢®Þ¥↑ıŒÞ°ˇ
  • third row: AltGr ªßðđŋħjĸłøæ´ and AltGr+⇧ Shift º§ÐªŊĦJ&ŁØÆ×
  • fourth row: AltGr |«»©""nµ¸·̣ and AltGr+⇧ Shift ¦<>©‘’Nº˛˙˙

Several of these characters function as dead keys.


Turkish Q-keyboard layout

Today the majority of Turkish keyboards are based on QWERTY (the so-called Q-keyboard layout), although there is also the older F-keyboard layout specifically designed for the language.


Vietnamese keyboard layout

The Vietnamese keyboard layout is an extended Latin QWERTY layout. The letters Ă, Â, Ê, and Ô are found on what would be the number keys 14 on the US English keyboard, with 59 producing the tonal marks (grave accent, hook, tilde, acute accent and dot below, in that order), 0 producing Đ, = producing the đồng sign (₫) when not shifted, and brackets () producing Ư and Ơ.

Multilingual variants

Multilingual keyboard layouts, unlike the default layouts supplied for one language and market, try to make it possible for the user to type in any of several languages using the same number of keys. Mostly this is done by adding a further virtual layer in addition to the ⇧ Shift-key by means of AltGr (or 'right Alt' reused as such), which contains a further repertoire of symbols and diacritics used by the desired languages.

This section also tries to arrange the layouts in ascending order by the number of possible languages and not chronologically according to the Latin alphabet as usual.

United Kingdom (Extended) Layout

United Kingdom Extended Keyboard Layout for Windows
United Kingdom Extended Keyboard Layout for Linux
United Kingdom International Keyboard Layout for Linux


From Windows XP SP2 onwards, Microsoft has included a variant of the British QWERTY keyboard (the "United Kingdom Extended" keyboard layout) that can additionally generate several diacritical marks. This supports input on a standard physical UK keyboard for many languages without changing positions of frequently used keys, which is useful when working with text in Welsh, Scots Gaelic and Irish — languages native to parts of the UK (Wales, parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland respectively).

In this layout, the grave accent key () becomes, as it also does in the US International layout, a dead key modifying the character generated by the next key pressed. The apostrophe, double-quote, tilde and circumflex (caret) keys are not changed, becoming dead keys only when 'shifted' with AltGr. Additional precomposed characters are also obtained by shifting the 'normal' key using the AltGr key. The extended keyboard is software installed from the Windows control panel, and the extended characters are not normally engraved on keyboards.

The UK Extended keyboard uses mostly the AltGr key to add diacritics to the letters a, e, i, n, o, u, w and y (the last two being used in Welsh) as appropriate for each character, as well as to their capitals. Pressing the key and then a character that does not take the specific diacritic produces the behaviour of a standard keyboard. The key presses followed by spacebar generate a stand-alone mark.:

  • grave accents (e.g. à, è, etc.) needed for Scots Gaelic are generated by pressing the grave accent (or 'backtick') key `, which is a dead key, then the letter. Thus `+a produces à.
  • acute accents (e.g. á) needed for Irish are generated by pressing the AltGr key together with the letter. Thus AltGr+a produces á; AltGr+⇧ Shift+a produces Á.
  • the circumflex diacritic needed for Welsh may be added by AltGr+6, acting as a dead key combination, followed by the letter. Thus AltGr+6 then a produces â, AltGr+6 then w produces the letter ŵ.

Some other languages commonly studied in the UK and Ireland are also supported to some extent:

  • diaeresis or umlaut (e.g. ä, ë, ö, etc.) is generated by a dead key combination AltGr+2, then the letter. Thus AltGr+2a produces ä.
  • tilde (e.g. ã, ñ, õ, etc., as used in Spanish and Portuguese) is generated by dead key combination AltGr+#, then the letter. Thus AltGr+#a produces ã.
  • cedilla (e.g. ç) under c is generated by AltGr+C, and the capital letter (Ç) is produced by AltGr+⇧ Shift+C

The AltGr and letter method used for acutes and cedillas does not work for applications which assign shortcut menu functions to these key combinations.

These combinations are intended to be mnemonic and designed to be easy to remember: the circumflex accent (e.g. â) is similar to the free-standing circumflex (caret) (^), printed above the 6 key; the diaeresis/umlaut (e.g. ö) is visually similar to the double-quote (") above 2 on the UK keyboard; the tilde (~) is printed on the same key as the #.

The UK Extended layout is almost entirely transparent to users familiar with the UK layout. A machine with the extended layout behaves exactly as with the standard UK, except for the rarely used grave accent key. This makes this layout suitable for a machine for shared or public use by a user population in which some use the extended functions.

Despite being created for multilingual users, UK-Extended in Windows does have some gaps — there are many languages that it cannot cope with, including Romanian and Turkish, and all languages with different character sets, such as Greek and Russian. It also does not cater for thorn (þ, Þ) in Old English, the ß in German, the œ in French, nor for the å, æ, ø, ð, þ in Nordic languages.


Keyboard closeup of HP Chromebook 11 G2

The UK Extended layout (a ChromeOS extension) provides all the same combinations as with Windows, but adds many more symbols and dead keys via AltGr.

! ¡
1 ¹
" ½
3 ³
$ ¼
5 ½
7 {
8 [
( ±
9 ]
) °
0 }
_ ¿
- \
tab Q Ω
q @
e é
R ®
t ŧ
y ý
u ú
i í
o ó
p þ
a á
S §
s ß
d ð
F ª
f đ
g ŋ
h ħ
K &
k ĸ
l ł
shift | ¦
\ |
Z <
z «
X >
x »
c ç
n n
M º
m µ
< ×
> ÷
. ·

Notes: Dotted circle (◌) is used here to indicate a dead key. The ` ("backtick", grave accent) key is the only one that acts as a free-standing dead key and thus does not respond as shown on the key-cap. All others are invoked by AltGr.
AltGr+⇧ Shift+0 (°) is a degree sign; AltGr+⇧ Shift+M (º) is a masculine ordinal indicator

  • Dead keys
    • `+letter produces grave accents (e.g., à/À) (`+` produces a standalone backtick).
    • AltGr+2(release)letter produces double dot diacritics (diaeresis or umlaut: e.g., ä/Ä)
    • AltGr+6(release)letter produces circumflex accents (e.g., â/Â)
    • AltGr+= (release) letter produces (mainly) comma diacritic or cedilla below the letter (e.g., ş/Ş)
    • AltGr+⇧ Shift+= (release) letter produces a hook (diacritic) on vowels (e.g., ą/Ą)
    • AltGr+[ same as AltGr+2
    • AltGr+] same as AltGr+#
    • AltGr+{(release)letter produces overrings (e.g., å/Å)
    • AltGr+}(release)letter produces macrons (e.g., ā/Ā)
    • AltGr+j(release)letter produces mainly hook above (e.g., ả/Ả)
    • AltGr+⇧ Shift+j(release)letter produces a horn (diacritic) (e.g., ư/Ư)
    • AltGr+;(release)letter produces acute accents (e.g., ź/Ź)
    • AltGr+⇧ Shift+;(release)letter produces double acute accents on some letters (e.g., Ő/ő) that exist in Unicode as pre-composed characters
    • AltGr+'(release)letter produces acute accents (e.g., á/Á)
    • AltGr+⇧ Shift+'(release)letter produces caron (haček) diacritics (e.g., ǎ/Ǎ)
    • AltGr+#(release)letter produces tilde diacritics (e.g., ã/Ã)
    • AltGr+⇧ Shift+#(release)letter produces inverted breve diacritics (e.g., ă/Ă)
    • AltGr+/(release)letter produces mainly underdots (e.g., ạ/Ạ)
    • AltGr+⇧ Shift+/(release)letter produces mainly overdots (e.g., ȧ/Ȧ)

Finally, any arbitrary Unicode glyph can be produced given its hexadecimal code point: ctrl+⇧ Shift+u, release, then the hex value, then space bar or ↩ Return. For example ctrl+⇧ Shift+u (release) 1234space produces the Ethiopic syllable SEE, ሴ.


US-International keyboard layout (Windows)

Windows provides an alternative layout for a US keyboard to type diacritics, called the US-International layout. Linux and ChromeOS (which calls it the International/Extended keyboard[citation needed]) also provide this layout with slight modifications such as many more AltGr combinations.

The layout is installed from the settings panel. The additional functions (shown in blue) may or may not be engraved on the keyboard, but are always functional. It can be used to type most major languages from Western Europe: Afrikaans, Danish, Dutch, English, Faroese, Finnish, German, Icelandic, Irish, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Scots Gaelic, Spanish, and Swedish. It is not sufficient for French because it lacks the grapheme “œ/Œ” (as does every keyboard layout provided by Windows except the Canadian multilingual standard keyboard). Some less common western and central European languages (such as Welsh, Maltese, Czech and Hungarian), are not fully supported. If the keyboard does not have an AltGr key, the right-hand Alt is used. If that key does not exist (which is true of many laptops) the combination Ctrl+Alt works as well.

This layout uses keys ', `, ", ^ and ~ as dead keys to generate characters with diacritics by pressing the appropriate key, then the letter on the keyboard. Only certain letters such as vowels and "n", work, otherwise the symbol is produced followed by the typed letter. To get only the symbol ', `, ", ^ and ~, press the Spacebar after the key.

  • ' + vowel → vowel with acute accent, e.g., '+e → é
  • ` + vowel → vowel with grave accent, e.g., `+e → è
  • " + vowel → vowel with diaeresis (or umlaut), e.g., "+e → ë
  • ^ + vowel → vowel with circumflex accent, e.g., ^+e → ê
  • ~ + a, n or o → letter with tilde, e.g. ~+n → ñ, ~+o → õ
  • ' + c → ç (Windows) or ć (X11)

The layout is not entirely transparent to users familiar with the conventional US layout as the dead keys act different (they don't appear immediately and produce accented letters depending on what letter is typed next). This could be disconcerting on a machine for shared or public use. There are alternatives, such as requiring AltGr to be held down to get the dead-key function.

US-International in the Netherlands

Closeup of Dutch laptop keyboard with an engraved euro sign

The Dutch layout is historical, and keyboards with this layout are rarely used. Instead, the standard keyboard layout in the Netherlands is US-International, as the Dutch language heavily relies on diacritics and the US-International keyboard provides easy access to diacritics using dead keys. While many US keyboards do not have AltGr or extra US-International characters engraved on them, Dutch keyboards typically have the AltGr engraved at the location of the right Alt key, and have the euro sign engraved next to the 5 key.

Apple International English Keyboard

International English version of Apple keyboard

There are three kinds of Apple Keyboards for English: the United States, the United Kingdom and International English. The International English version features the same changes as the United Kingdom version, only without substituting # for the £ symbol on ⇧ Shift+3, and as well lacking visual indication for the symbol on ⌥ Option+2 (although this shortcut is present with all Apple QWERTY layouts).

Differences from the US layout are:

  1. The ~
    key is located on the left of the Z key, and the |
    key is located on the right of the "
  2. The ±
    key is added on the left of the !
  3. The left ⇧ Shift key is shortened and the Return key has the shape of inverted L.

Canadian Multilingual Standard

Canadian Multilingual Standard keyboard layout

The Canadian Multilingual Standard keyboard layout is used by some Canadians. Though the caret (^) is missing, it is easily inserted by typing the circumflex accent followed by a space.

Finnish multilingual

Finnish multilingual keyboard layout

The visual layout used in Finland is basically the same as the Swedish layout. This is practical, as Finnish and Swedish share the special characters Ä/ä and Ö/ö, and while the Swedish Å/å is unnecessary for writing Finnish, it is needed by Swedish-speaking Finns and to write Swedish family names which are common.

As of 2008, there is a new standard for the Finnish multilingual keyboard layout, developed as part of a localization project by CSC. All the engravings of the traditional Finnish–Swedish visual layout have been retained, so there is no need to change the hardware, but the functionality has been extended considerably, as additional characters (e.g., Æ/æ, Ə/ə, Ʒ/ʒ) are available through the AltGr key, as well as dead keys, which allow typing a wide variety of letters with diacritics (e.g., Ç/ç, Ǥ/ǥ, Ǯ/ǯ).

Based on the Latin letter repertory included in the Multilingual European Subset No. 2 (MES-2) of the Unicode standard, the layout has three main objectives. First, it provides for easy entering of text in both Finnish and Swedish, the two official languages of Finland, using the familiar keyboard layout but adding some advanced punctuation options, such as dashes, typographical quotation marks, and the non-breaking space (NBSP).

Second, it is designed to offer an indirect but intuitive way to enter the special letters and diacritics needed by the other three Nordic national languages (Danish, Norwegian and Icelandic) as well as the regional and minority languages (Northern Sámi, Southern Sámi, Lule Sámi, Inari Sámi, Skolt Sámi, Romani language as spoken in Finland, Faroese, Kalaallisut also known as Greenlandic, and German).

As a third objective, it allows for relatively easy entering of particularly names (of persons, places or products) in a variety of European languages using a more or less extended Latin alphabet, such as the official languages of the European Union (excluding Bulgarian and Greek). Some letters, like Ł/ł needed for Slavic languages, are accessed by a special "overstrike" key combination acting like a dead key. Initially the Romanian letters Ș/ș and Ț/ț (S/s and T/t with comma below) were not supported (the presumption was that Ş/ş and Ţ/ţ (with cedilla) would suffice as surrogates), however the layout was updated in 2019 to include the letters with the commas as well.


EurKEY keyboard layout

EurKEY, a multilingual keyboard layout intended for Europeans, programmers and translators which uses the US-standard QWERTY layout as base and adds a third and fourth layer available through the AltGr key and AltGr+⇧ Shift. These additional layers provide support for many Western European languages, special characters, the Greek alphabet (via dead keys), and many common mathematical symbols.

Unlike most of the other QWERTY layouts, which are formal standards for a country or region, EurKEY is not an EU, EFTA or any national standard.

To address the ergonomics issue of QWERTY, EurKEY Colemak-DH was also developed a Colmak-DH version with the EurKEY design principles.


Several alternatives to QWERTY have been developed over the years, claimed by their designers and users to be more efficient, intuitive, and ergonomic. Nevertheless, none have seen widespread adoption, partly due to the sheer dominance of available keyboards and training. Although some studies have suggested that some of these may allow for faster typing speeds, many other studies have failed to do so, and many of the studies claiming improved typing speeds were severely methodologically flawed or deliberately biased, such as the studies administered by August Dvorak himself before and after World War II.[citation needed] Economists Stan Liebowitz and Stephen Margolis have noted that rigorous studies are inconclusive as to whether they actually offer any real benefits, and some studies on keyboard layout have suggested that, for a skilled typist, layout is largely irrelevant – even randomized and alphabetical keyboards allow for similar typing speeds to QWERTY and Dvorak keyboards – and that switching costs always outweigh the benefits of further training with a keyboard layout a person has already learned.[citation needed]

The most widely used such alternative is the Dvorak keyboard layout; another alternative is Colemak, which is based partly on QWERTY and is claimed to be easier for an existing QWERTY typist to learn while offering several supposed optimisations. Most modern computer operating systems support these and other alternative mappings with appropriate special mode settings, with some modern operating systems allowing the user to map their keyboard in any way they like, but few keyboards are made with keys labeled according to any other standard.

Comparison to other keyboard input systems

Comparisons have been made between Dvorak, Colemak, QWERTY, and other keyboard input systems, namely stenotype or its electronic implementations. However, stenotype is a fundamentally different system, which relies on phonetics and simultaneous key presses or chords. Although Shorthand (or 'stenography') has long been known as a faster and more accurate typing system,[citation needed] adoption has been limited, possibly due to the historically high cost of equipment, steeper initial learning curve, and low awareness of the benefits within primary education and in the general public.[citation needed]

The first typed shorthand machines appeared around 1830, with English versions gaining popularity in the early 1900s.[citation needed] Modern electronic stenotype machines or programs produce output in written language,[citation needed] which provides an experience similar to other keyboard setups that immediately produce legible work.


The Nokia E55 uses a half QWERTY keyboard layout.

A half QWERTY keyboard is a combination of an alpha-numeric keypad and a QWERTY keypad, designed for mobile phones. In a half QWERTY keyboard, two characters share the same key, which reduces the number of keys and increases the surface area of each key, useful for mobile phones that have little space for keys. It means that 'Q' and 'W' share the same key and the user must press the key once to type 'Q' and twice to type 'W'.

See also


  1. ^ Where this key is not provided, some layouts provide its equivalent using ctrl+alt+the letter to be accented, which can mean some chords that require additional manual dexterity.
  2. ^ There is a separate Gaelic keyboard layout, but this is rarely used. In all common operating systems that have a different selection for Irish, this refers to the layout that is substantially identical with the UK layout, not the Irish Gaelic layout; the latter tends to be called Gaelic or similar and supports Scots Gaelic as well. The other Insular Celtic languages have their own layout.
  3. ^ The sequence AltGr+' – acting as a dead key combination – followed by the letter, has the same effect. This inconvenient facility is rarely used, being needed only for use with programs that use the combination of AltGr and a letter (or Ctrl+Alt and letter) for other functions, in which case the AltGr+' method must be used to generate acute accents.
  4. ^ This extension, "Offered by: chrome-input-extensions" and made by Google, is downloadable from the Chrome Web Store.


  1. ^ a b US 79868, Shole, C. Latham; Glidden, Carlos & Soule, Samuel W., "Improvement in Type-writing Machines", issued 14 July 1868 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Yasuoka, Koichi; Yasuoka, Motoko (March 2011). "On the Prehistory of QWERTY" (PDF). ZINBUN. 42: 161–174. doi:10.14989/139379. S2CID 53616602. Archived (PDF) from the original on 18 September 2021. Retrieved 14 December 2021.
  3. ^ a b Yasuoka, Koichi; Yasuoka, Motoko (2008). Myth of QWERTY Keyboard. Tokyo: NTT Publishing. ISBN 9784757141766. Archived from the original on 9 March 2023. Retrieved 3 November 2016.
  4. ^ David, Paul A. (1985), "Clio and the Economics of QWERTY", American Economic Review, 75 (2), American Economic Association: 332–337, JSTOR 1805621
  5. ^ David, P. A. (1986). "Understanding the Economics of QWERTY: the Necessity of History". In Parker, William N., Economic History and the Modern Economist. Basil Blackwell, New York and Oxford.
  6. ^ US 207559, Sholes, Christopher Latham, issued 27 August 1878 
  7. ^ Weller, Charles Edward (1918), The early history of the typewriter, La Porte, Indiana: Chase & Shepard, printers, hdl:2027/nyp.33433006345817
  8. ^ See for example the Olivetti Lettera 36 Archived 27 August 2008 at the Wayback Machine, introduced in 1972
  9. ^ Shermer, Michael (2008). The mind of the market. Macmillan. p. 50. ISBN 978-0-8050-7832-9.
  10. ^ Diamond, Jared (April 1997), "The Curse of QWERTY", Discover, archived from the original on 20 September 2008, retrieved 29 April 2009, More than 3,000 English words utilize QWERTY's left hand alone, and about 300 the right hand alone.
  11. ^ "Was the QWERTY keyboard purposely designed to slow typists?". straightdope.com. 30 October 1981. Archived from the original on 3 August 2017. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
  12. ^ Kinesis – Ergonomic Benefits of the Contoured Keyboard Archived 28 March 2010 at the Wayback Machine – Vertical key layout
  13. ^ TypeMatrix. "TypeMatrix - The Keyboard is the Key". typematrix.com. Archived from the original on 8 February 2013. Retrieved 29 January 2013.
  14. ^ Castillo, M. (2 September 2010). "QWERTY, @, &, #". American Journal of Neuroradiology. 32 (4): 613–614. doi:10.3174/ajnr.a2228. PMC 7965893. PMID 20813871.
  15. ^ "Technologies de l'information : Documentation - Le clavier de votre ordinateur est-il normalisé?". Office québécois de la langue française (in French). 23 April 2011. Archived from the original on 14 May 2011. Retrieved 23 April 2011.
  16. ^ "Standard sur le clavier québécois (SGQRI 001)". Ministère des services gouvernementaux (in French). 27 November 2009. Archived from the original on 14 October 2011. Retrieved 4 November 2016.
  17. ^ BS 4822: Keyboard allocation of graphic characters for data processing (British Standard), British Standards Institution, 1994, his standard has been declared obsolescent as it is no longer felt to be relevant
  18. ^ ANSI INCITS 154-1988 (R1999) Office Machines and Supplies - Alphanumeric Machines - Keyboard Arrangement (formerly ANSI X3.154-1988 (R1999)) (retrieved 2012-07-04)
  19. ^ "Editing Lisp Code with Emacs". CLiki. Archived from the original on 3 July 2009. Retrieved 4 January 2008.
  20. ^ Where is the backslash key located on my keyboard?, Sharpened.net, archived from the original on 20 April 2012, retrieved 23 March 2013
  21. ^ "Keyboard for programmers", Stackoverflow (JPEG), archived from the original on 10 December 2013, retrieved 23 March 2013
  22. ^ "US keyboard", SLES (JPEG), OpenSUSE[permanent dead link]
  23. ^ Aske, Jon, Typing accented letters and other special characters on a PC (or Mac), Department of Foreign Languages, Salem State University, archived from the original on 4 March 2012
  24. ^ US Tastaturbelegung: amerikanische Tastatur [US keyboard design] (in German), DE: in4mation, archived from the original on 29 May 2012, retrieved 23 March 2013
  25. ^ a b "Microsoft Keyboard Layouts". Microsoft. Archived from the original on 13 July 2017. Retrieved 26 May 2017.
  26. ^ Koenen, Liesbeth; Smits, Rik (1 January 2004). Handboek Nederlands. Bijleveld. ISBN 9789061319566. Archived from the original on 9 March 2023. Retrieved 12 June 2022 – via Google Books.
  27. ^ a b "Clavier normalisé – CAN/CSA Z243.200-92 – Pictogrammes ISO 9995-7" (in French). Office québécois de la langue française. Archived from the original on 1 August 2015. Retrieved 19 January 2015.
  28. ^ "Fren-Canadian keyboard". uakron.edu. Archived from the original on 10 June 2011. Retrieved 27 November 2010.
  29. ^ "Logitech K120 Keyboard czarna USB - Klawiatury przewodowe - Sklep komputerowy - x-kom.pl". x-kom.pl. Archived from the original on 2 February 2017. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  30. ^ "Logitech Corded Keyboard K280e - Klawiatury przewodowe - Sklep komputerowy - x-kom.pl". x-kom.pl. Archived from the original on 2 February 2017. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  31. ^ "SHIRU Klawiatura przewodowa - Klawiatury przewodowe - Sklep komputerowy - x-kom.pl". x-kom.pl. Archived from the original on 2 February 2017. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  32. ^ "Klawiatura. Dlaczego są z nią problemy? Gdzie są polskie litery?". yestok.pl. Archived from the original on 2 February 2017. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  33. ^ "Polish (Programmers) Keyboard Layout". Microsoft. Archived from the original on 2 July 2017. Retrieved 5 June 2013.
  34. ^ "Jak używać ekranu dotykowego". softonet.pl. Archived from the original on 2 February 2017. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  35. ^ "Test HTC One M9". gsmonline.pl. Archived from the original on 2 July 2018. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  36. ^ "Pimping your Brazilian keyboard". Developer network. Microsoft. 7 October 2006. Retrieved 30 March 2012.
  37. ^ "RO", Diacritice, SourceForge, archived from the original (PNG) on 27 September 2011
  38. ^ "RO US", Diacritice, SourceForge, archived from the original (PNG) on 27 September 2011
  39. ^ X keyboard config (wiki), Free desktop, archived from the original on 2 July 2018, retrieved 23 March 2013
  40. ^ "S-uri si t-uri". RO: Secarica. 20 October 2011. Archived from the original on 25 November 2012. Retrieved 30 March 2012.
  41. ^ "Cedilla vs Comma" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 14 December 2019. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
  42. ^ "RO Keyboard" (in Romanian). RO: Secarica. 20 October 2011. Archived from the original on 5 March 2012. Retrieved 30 March 2012.
  43. ^ Spanish Keyboard layout and special alt characters Spain (Spanish) version, MyLingos, archived from the original on 30 May 2013, retrieved 23 March 2013
  44. ^ Spanish (Traditional Sort) Keyboard Overlays, FI: Trantor, archived from the original on 15 March 2012, retrieved 23 March 2013
  45. ^ Commons
  46. ^ Foreign language Keyboard layout: type foreign languages, spanish keyboard layout, French, German, Italian, Translation Software, archived from the original on 14 August 2012, retrieved 23 March 2013
  47. ^ "KEYBOARDS VIETNAM + USA + UK + CANADA + FRANCE + GERMANY". free.fr. Archived from the original on 17 September 2011. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
  48. ^ How to use the United States-International keyboard layout in Windows 7, in Windows Vista, and in Windows XP Archived 4 March 2015 at the Wayback Machine, Microsoft, 17 August 2009
  49. ^ SFS 5966 (keyboard layout), Finnish Standards Association SFS, 3 November 2008, archived from the original on 5 December 2014, retrieved 19 April 2015. Finnish-Swedish multilingual keyboard setting.
  50. ^ Kotoistus (12 December 2006), Uusi näppäinasettelu [Status of the new Keyboard Layout] (in Finnish and English), CSC IT Center for Science, archived from the original (presentation page collecting drafts of the Finnish Multilingual Keyboard) on 27 April 2015, retrieved 19 April 2015
  51. ^ "Precomposed characters in the new Finnish keyboard layout specification" (PDF). Kotoistus. 29 June 2006. p. 10. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  52. ^ Korpela, Jukka. "Suomalainen monikielinen näppäimistö" [Finnish multilingual keyboard] (in Finnish). Archived from the original on 11 January 2023. Retrieved 11 January 2023.
  53. ^ Gould, Stephen Jay (1987) "The Panda's Thumb of Technology." Natural History 96 (1): 14-23; Reprinted in Bully for Brontosaurus. New York: W.W. Norton. 1992, pp. 59-75.
  54. ^ Paul David, "Understanding the economics of QWERTY: the necessity of history", Economic history and the modern economist, 1986
  55. ^ Liebowitz, Stan; Margolis, Stephen E. (1990), "The Fable of the Keys", Journal of Law and Economics, 33 (1): 1–26, CiteSeerX, doi:10.1086/467198, S2CID 14262869
  56. ^ Krzywinski, Martin. "Colemak – Popular Alternative". Carpalx – keyboard layout optimizer. Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre. Archived from the original on 18 April 2019. Retrieved 4 February 2010.
  57. ^ a b "Half-QWERTY keyboard layout – Mobile terms glossary". GSMArena.com. Archived from the original on 3 August 2010. Retrieved 31 January 2011.

External links