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I'd like to have the US QWERTY layout (so my keyboard still works,) but also have some addition symbols from other languages. It's almost like adding the Alt-Graph and it's features from the UK/Irish or Canadian French keyboard to the US QUERTY keyboard without having keys move (like @ being in a different position.) The reason I'm asking for this is sometimes having to bring up the Windows 10 character selector is a annoying when I just want a character such as the £ symbol. All I need is some software keyboard layout to make this work, I might try to experiment and see if an AutoHotKey script configured the right way might help.

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The US keyboard is old before any international features were even thought of. US International Keyboard works like European keyboards for special characters using Alt Gr key.

The Right Alt (Alt Gr) Keys

Key Description 
Right Alt + 1 ¡ 
Right Alt + 2 ² 
Right Alt + 3 ³ 
Right Alt + 4 ¤ 
Right Alt + 5 € 
Right Alt + 6 1/4 
Right Alt + 7 1/2 
Right Alt + 8 3/4 
Right Alt + 9 ' 
Right Alt + 0 ' 
Right Alt + - ¥ 
Right Alt + = × 
Right Alt + Q ä 
Right Alt + W å 
Right Alt + E é 
Right Alt + R (r) 
Right Alt + T þ 
Right Alt + Y ü 
Right Alt + U ú 
Right Alt + I í 
Right Alt + O ó 
Right Alt + P ö 
Right Alt + [ " 
Right Alt + ] " 
Right Alt + \ ¬ 
Right Alt + A á 
Right Alt + S ß 
Right Alt + D ð 
Right Alt + L ø 
Right Alt + ; ¶ 
Right Alt + ' ´ 
Right Alt + Z æ 
Right Alt + C (c) 
Right Alt + N ñ 
Right Alt + M µ 
Right Alt + , ç 
Right Alt + / ¿ 
Shift + Right Alt + 1 ¹ 
Shift + Right Alt + 4 £ 
Shift + Right Alt + = ÷ 
Shift + Right Alt + Q Ä 
Shift + Right Alt + W Å 
Shift + Right Alt + E É 
Shift + Right Alt + T Þ 
Shift + Right Alt + Y Ü 
Shift + Right Alt + U Ú 
Shift + Right Alt + I Í 
Shift + Right Alt + O Ó 
Shift + Right Alt + P Ö 
Shift + Right Alt + \ ¦ 
Shift + Right Alt + A Á 
Shift + Right Alt + S § 
Shift + Right Alt + D Ð 
Shift + Right Alt + L Ø 
Shift + Right Alt + ; ° 
Shift + Right Alt + ' ¨ 
Shift + Right Alt + Z Æ 
Shift + Right Alt + C ¢ 
Shift + Right Alt + N Ñ 
Shift + Right Alt + , Ç 

The Dead Keys

The dead keys are the apostrophe ('), quotation mark ("), accent grave (`), tilde (~), and caret (^). If these are pressed the system waits for the next key. If it is in the list below then it enters the symbol character else it enters both keys separately. These work with uppercase where appropriate. Press Space to insert the dead character.

Key Description 
' then C Ç 
' then e é 
' then y ý 
' then u ú 
' then i í 
' then o ó 
' then a á 
" then e ë 
" then u ü 
" then i ï 
" then o ö 
" then a ä 
` then e è 
` then u ù 
` then i ì 
` then o ò 
~ then o õ 
~ then n ñ 
^ then e ê 
^ then u û 
^ then i î 
^ then o ô 
^ then a â 

These next two work on all keyboards

Alt + Character Code

Holding down alt and pressing the character code on the numeric keypad will enter that character. The keyboard language in use must support entering that character. If your keyboard supports it the code is shown on the right hand side of the status bar in Character Map else this section of the status bar is empty. The status bar us also empty for characters with well known keys, like the letters A to Z.

However there is two ways of entering codes. The point to remember here that the characters are the same for the first 127 codes. The difference is if the first number typed is a zero of not. If it is then the code will insert the character from the current character set else it will insert a character from the OEM character set. Codes over 255 enter the Unicode character and are in decimal. Characters entered are converted to OEM for Dos applications and either ANSI or Unicode depending on the Windows' application. See Converting Between Decimal and Hexadecimal.

E.G., Alt + 0 then 6 then 5 then release Alt enters the letter A.


Hex To Unicode IME

In programs based on the Rich Edit 3 control, such as Wordpad, enter a Unicode number in hexadecimal format into the document then press Alt + X. This will convert the number typed into the Unicode character. Select a character and press Alt + X to convert that character into it's Unicode number. The code is shown on the left hand side of the status bar in Character Map in the form U + <hexadecimal code>, e.g., U + 0061 for the letter a.

Selecting letters A to E will result in it being considered a hexadecimal number and it will convert to the Unicode characters (which are things like form feed and the enter key).

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  • THANK YOU SO MUCH!! I''m very surprised you decided to type all of this out for my small brain, but this will help me with many things. The US International layout is exactly what I was looking for, so now I'm going to use it.
    – DarkBrave_
    Commented Sep 26, 2021 at 23:55
  • I started typing in the late 90s and finished in late 2000s. You can get the full docs here onedrive.live.com/… it called Shortcut Keys and Key Modifiers.hta Commented Sep 27, 2021 at 1:01
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My default key layout is US English, but I frequently type in 2 other languages, both of which have their own special characters and other quirks.

After trying AutoHotKey and a couple of other solutions I've found that by far the easiest way is to just add the other two layouts and switch layout with key combination when I need specialties US English layout doesn't offer.

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  • Yeah, that's how I have it setup now, but I'd still prefer to have them all at a the press of a key, and not have to switch keyboard layouts. (Yes I know shortcuts exist!)
    – DarkBrave_
    Commented Sep 25, 2021 at 17:38
  • LOL yes, I can sympathize - sometimes it's a serious pain in the donkey :-D Commented Sep 25, 2021 at 17:43
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I use a UK keyboard but I regularly use accented characters, and sometimes even Greek letters and mathematical symbols. This is done with a third-party piece of software that implements a Compose key.

Press the Compose key, and then two characters on the keyboard that together look like the target symbol.

For example

' a  =>  á
" a  =>  ü
o /  =>  ø
* s  =>  σ
> =  =>  ≥

This is different from using a keyboard layout that implements "dead keys", because none of the keys are dead. I don't have to do anything special to use the apostrophe keys (' ", etc.) normally, since the special composition only comes in to play after the Compose key is pressed.

On my keyboard I use the otherwise spare AltGr key, but typically you can choose to map any of the modifier keys (I believe Right Alt is a favourite on keyboards without AltGr).

I've been using AllChars for years, but it's gradually becoming more cranky as Windows 10 evolves. A nice alternative seems to be WinCompose.

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  • Alt Gr and Right Alt are identical electronically differing only in what is printed on the key. Commented Sep 25, 2021 at 22:53
  • @user1292580 if you didn't know that, and didn't have an AltGr key, you'd probably want to have an alternative key suggested. I made that suggestion to try and make things easy Commented Sep 25, 2021 at 23:05
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The Spanish/Latin American keyboard layout is mostly the US one, with some extra keys/combinations. Variations of that is what I have on my machines here in Chile, using it to write mostly English and (obviously) a load of Spanish and the occasional German. Plus is that I've the Spanish characters (ñ, ü, ¡, á) at hand, and others (like German ß and French ô or è) are also available.

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