I have long been using and type blind on the Swiss German keyboard layout. At home I have an MS Sculpt Ergonomic with Swiss German keyboard layout, which I liked so well that I ordered a Sculpt Ergonomic for use at work. Problem is, you can't readily get the Swiss keyboard layout in the Czech Republic, where I am now. “No problem,” I thought, “I’ll just get the CZ version and type blind.” At work (Windows 10) the default system language is set as English using the Swiss German layout, and I can switch to Czech and other languages using
Win key +
space. This works just fine, and helps a bit with learning to type Czech, except that it turns out an important key is missing:
Compare to the Swiss keyboard in the inset—you can imagine my consternation every time I am merrily typing away and get nothing or a Y whenever I go to type
\. At the moment, I have three ways of entering a backslash:
- Reach over to the (Czech) laptop keyboard, which has the missing key, and type
- Open Charmap or find the character somewhere else, copy and paste.
- Switch to another language to input the character (e.g., Russian or use the onscreen keyboard with Czech), then switch back to EN + Swiss German.
- Use Alt + 92 with the numeric keypad (or equivalent input code)
It’s the same situation for
>. I asked a technically competent Czech how to type
\ on the Czech keyboard, and he uses the latter option! Just imagine typing LaTeX code...
What I would like to figure out is how to type these characters without having to use alt codes or any other cumbersome method. It occurred to me there should be a way to reassign the characters to a less frequently used key. This would be useful for other keys too, like curly quotes and special dashes. A search turned up the Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator, which was released in 2007. Apparently, it does run in Windows 10, but before I start digging into that old program, I’m hoping: does anybody know a better way?
To think if I had learned Dvorak...