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. 🙁