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I am running Windows 7.

I have an Italian keyboard which I keep configured as a US keyboard (I know the positions of characters on my keyboard by heart and use it as though it were a US keyboard without any problems).

I now want to type Czech characters, without having to use ALT+XXXX codes to insert text (these aren't working for me anyways). I do not have a compose key. As this page shows, on Linux the problem is solved nicely:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compose_key

but I want a solution for Windows 7 to easily type characters from the LATIN-2 character set.

I can shift between the EN and CS input methods with SHIFT+ALT but that's all.

Please help.


Find below an image of a Czech Programmers' Keyboard (not found elsewhere on the internet)

This keyboard is just like a standard US QWERTY keyboard but has the extra capability of allowing you to use it as a Czech QZERTY keyboard by alowing you to enter all the Czech characters appearing in red on the image below (hit CTRL + on your web beowser to view keyboard details). With this keyboard configuration just hold Alt Gr to type the character with diacritics corresponding to your US ASCII keyboard key.

enter image description here

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2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

The US International keyboard layout isn’t really suitable for input of Czech texts, since it lacks many letters used in Czech. It is “international” in a very relative sense only: it is oriented towards West European languages, covering basically just part of ISO Latin 1.

Using the Czech language keyboard layout (shipped with Windows) is definitely one possibility, but it means that you need to learn and remember rather arbitrary-looking correspondences between keys (or key combinations) and characters.

Personally, I use Finnish modern standard keyboard layout, which lets me type all Latin letters used in European languages in a rather natural way. But this requires a set of keys for diacritic marks, and the Italian keyboard lacks them.

So if I were in your position, I would probably use MSKLC to create a modified version of the Italic keyboard layout that corresponds to the physical keyboard that you are using. Since Czech mostly has just one diacritic mark that can be used for each letter (e.g., “a” can only take the acute accent, and “n” can only take the caron), I would probably use just the AltGr key (right Alt key) to produce them (AltGr A, AltGr N, etc.). This should be very easy to remember.

This would leave a problem with “e” and “u”, which can each take two different diacritic marks. A natural (to me) solution would be to make the Italian keyboard keys “è” and “ù” produce “é” and “ú” (after all, è and ù are not used in Czech) and use AltGr E for “ě” and AltGr U for “ů”.

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Your solution is excellent. I downloaded MSKLC from msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/goglobal/bb964665.aspx –  John Sonderson Oct 3 '13 at 12:43
    
I am very happy with it. I could also have used your other suggestion about doing away with the so called "International American Keyboard" for the CS locale and using a Czech Keyboard layout instead. –  John Sonderson Oct 3 '13 at 12:52
    
On Windows 7 I can see I can choose between Czech keyboard, Czech (programmers) keyboard, and Czech (Qwerty). I like the Czech programmers keyboard which I think is what I have reflects my old PS/2 keyboard (see image attachment) which is different from the keyboard listed at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QWERTZ#Czech_.28QWERTZ.29 . –  John Sonderson Oct 3 '13 at 12:53

Use charmap.exe to get the character you want and copy/paste it into your document.

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I would have liked to vote you up but I don't have enough reputation. Your solution is good for the occasional need for the special characters but is impractical for an extended need for Czech input. –  John Sonderson Oct 3 '13 at 12:54

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