US International Dvorak

Windows (and many other oper­at­ing systems) include by default an inter­est­ing keyboard layout called United States-Inter­na­tional. It is essen­tially a version of the prolific Amer­i­can QWERTY keyboard layout, with many popu­lar symbols and char­ac­ters not found in English acces­si­ble through the AltGr key (or its Windows substi­tute, the right Alt key or Ctrl + Left Alt) and through dead keys.

I saw fit to create a Dvorak version of US-Inter­na­tional, with the same dead­keys and combi­na­tions, but with the three touch-type rows rearranged to fit ANSI Dvorak. It should be an easy switch for exist­ing Dvorak users and great if you’re start­ing out learn­ing Dvorak.

Keyboard layout installer for Windows 2000/XP/2003/Vista/7 (x86, x64, and Itanium): intldvrk.zip
Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator source file: intldvrk.klc

The installer will add the layout to the Windows regional settings list of keyboard layouts, and is not some sort of driver, back­ground service, or registry hack. It was made in Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator.

Anyways, with the US-Inter­na­tional keyboard layout, nobody should have any excuse to type “u” or “ue” instead of “ü,” “2 x 4” instead of “2 × 4,” or “General Xo's Chicken” instead of “General Xo’s Chicken.” Heck, maybe we could have prevented the creation of the English neol­o­gism “uber.”

Of course, I do take issue with its lack of distinc­tion between the hyphen (-), the en dash (–), and the em dash (—), and its lack of the prime marks (′, ″, and ‴) and the ditto symbol (〃). However, its exist­ing vari­ety of punc­tu­a­tion, accents, and other typo­graph­i­cal symbols, includ­ing sepa­rate key combi­na­tions for the single clos­ing quote (’), the type­writer apos­tro­phe ('), and the acute accent (´), are easily enough to over­whelm anyone new to smugly elit­ist typo­graph­i­cal pedantry (the sort I enjoy).

Also, the dead keys them­selves do get annoy­ing. For exam­ple, Ubuntu Linux includes a layout called “USA Inter­na­tional (AltGr dead keys).” That moves the dead keys to their AltGr combi­na­tions, so hitting the ' key would produce a ' straight­away, but to get the á (acute a) symbol, which is encoun­tered far less frequently than the apos­tro­phe, one would need to hit AltGr+’ and then A. Also of note is Ubuntu’s “USA Dvorak Inter­na­tional,” which is not to be confused with my US-Inter­na­tion Dvorak layout. It is simply the ANSI Dvorak layout with a few symbols avail­able by AltGr; it is not, like my layout, a Dvorak remap­ping of the full US-Inter­na­tional layout.

With that said, I’m not even a Dvorak typist. Heh.

Edit (10/1284/2006):

I did some extremely cursory Googling, and came up with these two more Dvorak layouts based on US-Inter­na­tional (created by others):

  • USID at Jargon File – Pretty much the same as my keyboard layout, except it came before mine. 🙁 Update: it appears that the layout’s apos­tro­phe dead­key produces an acute accent (´) instead of an apos­tro­phe (‘); haven’t noticed anything else wrong though.
  • Dvorak inter­na­tional extended keyboard at Arjen van Kol – Instead of using an exactly key-to-key mapping from US-Inter­na­tional to ANSI Dvorak, this layout moves many of the AltGr-accessed special char­ac­ters to be adja­cent to other simi­lar char­ac­ters.

Edit (12/26/2012, which I guess is 10/2279/2006. Ha!):
So here’s the layout I use, which is the regu­lar US International—QWERTY and all—but you need to hold AltGr to hit dead­keys.

Keyboard layout installer for Windows 2000/XP/2003/Vista/7 (x86, x64, and Itanium): usintalt.zip

I kept a list of symbols I meant to add to it but never did, and prob­a­bly never will now that I dislike customiza­tion:

  • Prime marks, en & em dash, ditto sign (′, ″, ‴, –, —, 〃)
  • Solidus, bullet (⁄, •)
  • <=, >=, !=, and =~ (≤, ≥, ≠, ≈)
  • Dot, sqrt, XOR (·, √, ⊕)
  • +/-, -/+ (±, ∓)
  • Sum of, inte­gral of (∑, ∫)
  • Ellip­sis, there­fore (…, ∴)

I still wish I had these. 🙁