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New hotkeys for my keyboard?

Posted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 6:13 pm UTC
by alessandro95
Hi, I have a problem with my keyboard, I'm Italian and for some unknown reason we have a keyboard layout that doesn't allow to write 100% correct Italian since there is no simple way to input "È" and other accented capital letters apart from using ALT+0200 and similar combinations of keys which is rather uncomfortable.

So I was wondering if there is a way to set new hotkeys, for example I'd like to be able to write È by pressing CTRL+ALT+è or something similar, is there a simple way to do that?

Re: New hotkeys for my keyboard?

Posted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 6:46 pm UTC
by Xenomortis
Tried AutoHotKey?

Re: New hotkeys for my keyboard?

Posted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 6:51 pm UTC
by bittyx
On Linux, you can use the Compose key (I have it bound to the right Ctrl key). Using the compose key is easy and intuitive, for example, the letter you need is written by pressing the compose key, the capital E, and the backtick ` (in sequence, not at once), and you get È easily. By "intuitive", I mean this: [Compose Key, o, c] = ©, [Compose Key, a, e] = æ, [Compose key, a, ^] = â, etc. You get the idea.

The Wiki article lists a few Windows compose key emulators, so you can try one of those.

EDIT: Just to clarify, this doesn't do *exactly* what you've asked for, but in my opinion, the compose key is much more usable, because a lot of programs may, for example, have "CTRL+ALT+E" configured to do something, and you don't really want to overwrite program shortcuts like that (well, at least I wouldn't).

EDIT2: Just noticed that you actually said "CTRL+ALT+è", so sorry about that - that particular combination is certainly unlikely to exist as a program shortcut. But in general, I think you understand what I was trying to say. Cheers!

Re: New hotkeys for my keyboard?

Posted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 5:37 am UTC
by Xanthir
Switch your keyboard to the US Extended layout, then it's quite easy to type accented letters of all kinds.

Re: New hotkeys for my keyboard?

Posted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 7:02 am UTC
by eviloatmeal
alessandro95 wrote:I'm Italian and for some unknown reason we have a keyboard

I read that as "I'm Italian for some unknown reason, and we have a keyboard". :lol:

There should be an accent key somewhere on your keyboard. Depending on what type of layout it has, this might be located in different places.

On a typical QWERTY layout, the accent key should be the top left, next to the number keys:
Spoiler:
Image
Top left, next to 1. This is an image of an Apple-brand keyboard, but I believe it's the same on any other brand.

On some other QWERTY layouts, it will be on the right side of the number keys, next to backspace:
Spoiler:
Image
This "QWERTY Nordic" layout has the accent key next to backspace.

In France, they have dedicated keys for the accented letters, and I believe you capitalise them by holding the Alt Gr key and pressing the corresponding letter key:
Spoiler:
Image
On this "AZERTY French" layout, the é key replaces the 2 key (while the number keys are accessed using SHIFT), and you get É by holding Alt Gr and pressing é. For grave accents, like è and È, you start by pressing the accent key which is next to ù on the far right of the home row.

You could also try opening up an on-screen keyboard and clicking on the modifier keys (SHIFT, Alt, Alt Gr, and so on) which should change the labels on the keys to their modified inputs. That might help you locate the ´ key on your layout, if not on your physical keyboard.

If you are sure that the ´ key doesn't exist anywhere on your layout, and you would like to add one, there is a Microsoft tool called Microsoft Keyboard Layout creator, which lets you assign whatever inputs you want to whichever key on your keyboard, and then save that as a new "language" in Windows. For Mac there is a similar tool called Ukelele, although I have not tried that personally.

Re: New hotkeys for my keyboard?

Posted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 3:16 pm UTC
by Flumble
And if you want to type close to every possible diacritic, I recommend the Alt-Latin layout. (in case you use Linux there might be a keymap readily available or you can fumble around with the OS X files) The grave is on AltGr+` like most other layouts and the acute is on AltGr+e.

By the way, do you have a QZERTY, AZERTY, QWERTZ or QWERTY (physical!) keyboard? (though, if you're typing blindly anyway, the physical layout doesn't matter)

Re: New hotkeys for my keyboard?

Posted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 5:36 pm UTC
by bittyx
Xanthir wrote:Switch your keyboard to the US Extended layout, then it's quite easy to type accented letters of all kinds.


I "hate" that the default layout on most Windows machines I've used seems to be the US Extended layout, because I find it awful for typing, though perhaps that has something to do with the fact that I mostly use computers for programming, and the Extended layout just seems to get in the way all the time (notably when one is trying to use quotes).

Though I guess if you use your computer primarily for other stuff, perhaps it isn't so annoying (or, you know, if you just get used to it).

Re: New hotkeys for my keyboard?

Posted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 8:42 pm UTC
by alessandro95
My keyboard is exactly like this one, which apparently has the standard layout for italian keyboards, with dedicated keys for lowercase accented letters and no simple way to insert uppercase ones:
Image
(There are also other common characters which are not directly writeable, such as "~", as I am reminded every time I need to write some Lua code)
I still have to try the programs you suggested, I'll do that later and let you know if they solved my problem!

Re: New hotkeys for my keyboard?

Posted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 11:18 pm UTC
by Xanthir
bittyx wrote:
Xanthir wrote:Switch your keyboard to the US Extended layout, then it's quite easy to type accented letters of all kinds.


I "hate" that the default layout on most Windows machines I've used seems to be the US Extended layout, because I find it awful for typing, though perhaps that has something to do with the fact that I mostly use computers for programming, and the Extended layout just seems to get in the way all the time (notably when one is trying to use quotes).

Though I guess if you use your computer primarily for other stuff, perhaps it isn't so annoying (or, you know, if you just get used to it).

The only thing US Extended does is dedicate your AltGr to being a "commonly used diacritics and other symbols" modifier key. Unsure how that's messing with your programming, unless your IDE requires you to press Alt all the time and you can't get used to using your left Alt.

You might be thinking of US International, which I think turns your apostrophe key into a dead key. That would be annoying for programming, as you have to double-tap it to get an apostrophe.

Neither of these are the default on any Windows install I've ever seen, at least in the US, because the typical American never needs to type outside of ASCII.

Re: New hotkeys for my keyboard?

Posted: Fri Jun 27, 2014 2:44 am UTC
by Flumble
Xanthir wrote:Neither of these are the default on any Windows install I've ever seen, at least in the US, because the typical American never needs to type outside of ASCII.

Dutch OS installs, for one, come with US International with dead keys and I guess a few —there aren't many with a QWERTY layout at all— other European countries get this treatment.

[edit] Oh, it seems Serbia gets that treatment too, despite QWERTZ being more similar to the Serbian cyrillic layout.

Re: New hotkeys for my keyboard?

Posted: Fri Jun 27, 2014 12:10 pm UTC
by Volcano99
Wait, the default Italian keyboard layout doesn't allow you to type in Italian?

You could also try the Spanish layout, which has a lot of combining diacritics , but has the rest of the symbols placed in weird places (compared to US keyboards) and funny letters like ñ and ç.

Re: New hotkeys for my keyboard?

Posted: Fri Jun 27, 2014 4:42 pm UTC
by alessandro95
Volcano99 wrote:Wait, the default Italian keyboard layout doesn't allow you to type in Italian?


Nope, not under windows at least (you can write 99.99% of italian, the È character isn't that common)

edit: I tried autoHotKeys, as suggested by xenomortis and it's working perfectly!

Re: New hotkeys for my keyboard?

Posted: Fri Jun 27, 2014 5:14 pm UTC
by Xanthir
Flumble wrote:
Xanthir wrote:Neither of these are the default on any Windows install I've ever seen, at least in the US, because the typical American never needs to type outside of ASCII.

Dutch OS installs, for one, come with US International with dead keys and I guess a few —there aren't many with a QWERTY layout at all— other European countries get this treatment.

[edit] Oh, it seems Serbia gets that treatment too, despite QWERTZ being more similar to the Serbian cyrillic layout.

Ah, yeah, I'd definitely believe that non-US installs of Windows in QWERTY-compatible countries get US International by default. As an American, I hadn't experience that.

Re: New hotkeys for my keyboard?

Posted: Sun Jun 29, 2014 8:15 am UTC
by bittyx
Oh, correct, I was thinking of US International, not US Extended - I actually haven't used Windows for a long time now, so I got confused with the name. And yeah, the dead keys are awful on that layout. After some Googling, it seems that US Extended actually seems to be a useful layout, too bad I didn't know about it when I needed it.

A lot of people in Serbia will actually regularly switch between 3 layouts on their computers, because we use two different written alphabets, a Latin one and a Cyrillic one - and you obviously also want to have a default English/US layout configured. And I must admit, while I find the compose key fantastically useful, after some further thought, I realized I still switch between all three layouts, because, for one, you can't compose Cyrillic characters, and, secondly, some Latin characters are awkward to compose - for example, Š is easier for me to type by temporarily switching the layout to Serbian (Latin) and hitting the appropriate key on my keyboard, than using the weird compose key sequence, [Compose key, <, S]. But it's good that there are multiple solutions to the hard problem of localizing character input, so that users may choose whatever they find most usable.