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Keyboard layouts similar to this one are somewhat common on computers sold in Canada, but the combinations of symbols on the keys do not exactly match any of the standard multilingual layouts.

What is this layout? How do I use it?

enter image description here

2 Answers 2

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This is a US English keyboard layout and a Canadian French* keyboard layout combined into one set of labels on a keyboard with an ISO-style physical button layout (tall enter key, 11 keys between the Shift keys).

To use it, you configure your operating system's keyboard layout to either US English or Canadian French, and then you use the keyboard as you would an ISO-style US English keyboard or Canadian French keyboard -- paying attention to only the labels that are for the keyboard layout you selected.

The ISO-style US English layout:

US English ISO-style Layout

The Canadian French layout:

The Canadian French Layout

A note about the Canadian French labels: The keyboard pictured in the question colour-codes them blue, and puts them on the right or bottom side of the key, but omits them when they would be the same as the US English label. Some keyboards with this layout do not colour-code any labels, however the positioning of labels within the key is typical.

The markings for the the Canadian French layout on these keyboards are quite ambiguous compared to those on dedicated Canadian French keyboards. The Canadian French layout uses both dead keys (accent keys you press before a letter to type an accented letter, red in the diagram) and AltGr combinations (where you press the key with the AltGr key held down to produce the indicated symbol, blue in the diagram). The AltGr key is not marked on this keyboard; it is typically the Alt key on the right. Although dedicated Canadian French keyboards usually position the labels for the AltGr combinations in the lower right of the key, and often colour-code the dead keys, the layout shown puts the AltGr labels in the lower middle on some keys and the lower right on others, and does not differentiate the dead keys. This means that using it may require some trial and error and ultimately memorization (which goes against the purpose of putting labels on the keys in the first place, doesn't it?)


*What IBM, in certain documentation, calls "Canada (Bilingual) 058", as some sources point out. But referring to this 058 layout itself as bilingual has limited adoption in practice - even IBM avoided it in their sales materials and computer model technical documentation in favour of "Français canadien"/"Canadian French", as you still see Lenovo doing today here in 2022.

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The multilingual canadian keyboard is named "clavier canadien pour l'anglais et le français" or "clavier CSA". It's a canadian standard : CAN/CSA Z243.200-92 (fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/CAN/CSA_Z243.200-92). Note : on the complete version there are Ù, Ç, À, È and É keys.

Here is the layout (CC BY-SA 4.0 Wikipedia): enter image description here

Here is the Microsoft way, http://kbdlayout.info/KBDFC/ (© Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.) : Canadian French Keyboard Layout

... and the Apple taste (© Apple) : Magic Keyboard avec pavé numérique - Français (Canada)

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  • The CSA layout is clearly different than the one pictured in the question; for instance the one in the question has ± as an AltGr character on the 1 key, and the CSA layout has a superscript 1 and an inverted exclamation mark.
    – rakslice
    Feb 1, 2020 at 0:32
  • CSA is the "Canadian Multilingual Keyboard", it's touted as the "Official Canadian multilingual keyboard" and Windows tries to impose it by default for the French Canadian language. I live in Quebec and I have actually never seen one in ~30 years of using computers (I'm 39 and was the "computer guy" in primary school), so I guess it's mainly used in English-speaking part of Canada. Since you make reference to Apple, I actually tried to use one this year and noticed there's not even an official "French Canadian" keyboard layout like the one pictured (I found one on Github though). Nov 24, 2021 at 6:39
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    Actually digging more into this, it seems Quebec has also, at least officially, standardized to CSA as well (probably even participated in it). I think it's a fairly new layout and the classic Canadian French is still widely used. When I look at it it looks great for writing plain English / French but not so much for programming. They made most of the accents readily available and eliminated most dead keys at the expense of availability of some glyphs used in most programing languages. Nov 24, 2021 at 7:39

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