Custom Yiddish Keyboards for Windows
If you want to use one of the keyboard layouts that some UYIP members have already designed, click here to download an installer. Instead, if you want to design your own Yiddish keyboard layout, or to modify one of the existing layouts, read further. If you know of additional methods not listed here, or if you have any comments, please participate in the UYIP mailing list.
So far, the following keyboard editor programs are known to work with Windows:
Janko's Keyboard Generator for Win 95/98/ME
Keyboard Layout Manager (KLM) for Win 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP
The major differences are:
Janko's is shareware, free to home users, compared to KLM at $65.
Janko's (any version) does not permit combining codes onto a single key, e.g., khomets-alef. In that example, you would need to press, for example, "A" for the alef and then shift+"F" for the khomets. KLM (version 2000) allow you to combine codes into a single key.
KLM (but not Janko's) can create keyboards for Win2000, XP, and NT.
Both programs allow you to create keyboards which can be provided to others on a non-commercial basis, for installation by people who have not purchased the program.
Regardless of which keyboard editor you choose, keep in mind the following:
Uniform usage of codes within the Unicode array of choices is important to ensure that Yiddish documents can be shared between users and that they will be read consistently by all programs. You may wish to refer to the following chart for reference.
Win 2000 Note: There appears to be an anomoly with Microsoft in that some Unicode subset 5 characters (i.e., virtually all of the characters that you'll want on your Yiddish keyboard) do not work well in the Shift position, causing uneven spacing and other problems. (This problem seems to be limited to Word, and does not appear in OE, etc. Therefore, it probably does not apply to Win95/98/ME keyboard layouts, since Word 97 does not support Right-to-Left and therefore Word cannot be used for word processing in Win 95/98/ME anyway.) Also, you can't use the Alt position because it conflicts with many Microsoft keyboard "shortcut" commands. Therefore, we are limited to using the Normal position and AltGr (right Alt key) unless you have a way, e.g., via macros or something, to make your system read shifted keys as something else. In KLM, you can solve this problem by mapping both Shift keys (e.g, for your Yiddish keyboard only) to act as AltGr, enabling the user to use the Shift keys for Yiddish. Details are above, in the linked notes about designing a keyboard layout with KLM.
Back to A Users' Guide to Yiddish on the Internet for an overview.
07/02/2006 10:14 PM