Custom Yiddish Keyboards for Windows
Keyboard Layout Manager (KLM)
Back to Summary of Customing Yiddish Keyboards
Here are steps to creating a customized keyboard on your Windows computer using a commercial program called Keyboard Layout Manager (KLM), which will add a Yiddish keyboard to your entire operating system, for use by any programs that can use Unicode UTF-8 (presumably all Office 2000 programs and others). It will not change your English keyboard, and you'll be able to toggle back and forth between languages at any time.
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 attached 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 below, in the linked notes about designing a keyboard layout with KLM.
Now, to use KLM:
Go to: http://www.klm.freeservers.com/shareit.html and order the "2000 Version." (Only the 2000 version allows code combinations to reside on one key; e.g., khomets-alef with one keystroke.) You do not need Windows 2000 to use KLM 2000. It will cost about $65 and should arrive via email in about 2 days. (Don't bother with the Demo version because it lacks enough functionality to enable you to type Yiddish with your keyboard.) The home page for KLM is http://www.klm.freeservers.com/index.html .
When you receive your KLM software, install and register it according to the manufacturer's instructions.
If you want to design your own Yiddish keyboard layout, click here for instructions. If you want to start by using one of the keyboard layouts that some UYIP members have already designed, click here to review your choices.
In the above step, you should have identified the keyboard layout of your choice, and you should have saved the corresponding file somewhere (anywhere you want) on your PC. Make a note of the file name and path (i.e., folder location). You can have more than one keyboard file on your PC, but you have to import each one into your system through KLM (next steps, below) each time you want to change to a different Yiddish keyboard. In other words, you can only use one layout per language at a time, but it just takes a few minutes to change to a different one through KLM if/when you want. Let's start with one.
Open KLM by double clicking on KLM32.exe. (I made a shortcut on my desktop, so it's handy; but if you really like your selected keyboard layout, you may never need to do this again.)
Select Hebrew and hit Edit.
Hit the Import button near the bottom of the KLM window.
Browse to the file that you saved, above, for your chosen keyboard layout.
You'll get a couple of chances to say "Yes," and then "OK" and then finally "Yes" to log off (to restart your PC). Go ahead.
Installing the KLM Keyboard: Hit OK. Now comes the part that seems scarey, but it's really okay. Be brave. (You can later restore system defaults for Hebrew within KLM if you decide that you don't like any of this.)
- When the 1st Windows File Protection warning is activated (see the picture below), click the Cancel button. Be sure that your WIndows 2000 installation disk is not in your disk drive.
When the 2nd Windows File Protection warning pops us (see the picture below) click the Yes button. (Really.)
Restart Windows if you didn't "log off," above, for some reason.
The next steps are optional, but will install a utility called V-Key which allows you to have a pop-up always-on-top keyboard layout diagram anytime you want it for reference. Kind of handy. To install V-Key, right click on both of the following 2 files, and save them in your folder:
Remember that to save the above files, right click on each, and then follow the instructions on your drop-down menu; eg.,
- in Netscape, select Save Link As
- in Explorer, select Save Target As
and be sure to save them into the \progra~1\microsoft office\office\ location.
Make a shortcut to VKey on your desktop and then you can always hit it to display the current layout for your current language. You can even change languages while VKey is open and it will change accordingly. Click on the shift key on the VKey picture on your screen in order to see the layout which applies when you hold Shift on your keyboard, etc. Note that if you're using a keyboard which swapped Shift and AltGr, you may see the Shift key positions when you press AltGr in VKey.
Now, you're ready to type Yiddish in Unicode with the Windows fonts of your choice. For notes and details about how to do this, you may wish to return to the first link, below. Please remember to send in your own notes and comments about how to use Unicode for Yiddish to the UYIP mailing list. It's a rather new area, and we should all compare notes.
Back to A Users' Guide to Yiddish on the Internet for an overview.
07/02/2006 10:14 PM