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Alternate Keyboard Layout

- US (with Swedish characters) -

The Problem

If you are writing in Swedish using Microsoft Windows this page will show you a way to become a more efficient typist. The problem with the Swedish keyboard layout is that it is painfully slow for many of today's computer applications. Anyone who has been working with a US or British keyboard knows this for a fact. Typing URLs and file paths can be quite cumbersome on a regular Swedish keyboards, especially when it comes to reaching those slashes and backslashes using Shift and AltGr. These characters are just a single keystroke away on a US keyboard.

US keyboard layout

US keyboard layout pressing Shift

The Solution

While Microsoft is offering a US International keyboard layout in their Windows operating systems, this only goes halfway in solving the everyday problems users are having. While it does allow typing of accentuated characters it becomes much harder to type quotation marks and apostrophes.

In an attempt to better solve these problems I have constructed a new character mapping based on the US keyboard but with the addition of enabling Swedish å, ä and ö, as well as accentuated characters through pressing the AltGr key.

It doesn't matter which language or type of keyboard you are using at the moment as long as you are running Windows NT 4, Windows 2000, Windows XP or Windows Server 2003.

Who would benefit from using the US (with Swedish characters) keyboard layout?

  • Swedes abroad who want to keep their current key mapping as intact as possible.
  • Swedish programmers who want to speed up their typing.
  • People using the US keyboard layout who want to be able to type accented and Swedish characters.

  • It should be noted that it will take some time getting used to the new ways of typing the various symbols and Swedish characters. But for me personally this has been time well invested; today I type source code and browse the file system and the Internet a lot faster than with the standard Swedish keyboard layout.

    What are the features and benefits?

    Faster and easier typing of the following characters compared with a standard Swedish keyboard:
  • @ (useful for e-mail addresses)
  • \ (useful for file paths)
  • / (useful for URLs)
  • $ (while the rest are useful for programmers)
  • =
  • [
  • ]
  • {
  • }
  • ;

  • I have found this solution to work better than to switch keyboard layouts between Swedish and US because I do not need to remember which layout I am currently using in the current window. By using one and the same keyboard layout the key mapping is always the same.

    How do I type å, ä, ö and accentuated characters?

    There are three different ways of typing the Swedish characters on the US (with Swedish characters) keyboard layout:
  • Press AltGr simultaneously as a key which on a regular Swedish keyboard is mapped to å, ä or ö.
  • Press AltGr simultaneously as a, e or o for å, ä or ö.
  • Press AltGr and the keys marked as ° or ¨ on the image below. These are dead keys, meaning that they will not produce a glyph until the next character is typed. After this most of the vowels can be combined to write European characters (among those, å, ä and ö.)

  • The accent characters can be found on the upper left corner of the keyboard in combination with AltGr, as shown in the images below.

    US (with Swedish characters) keyboard layout pressing AltGr

    US (with Swedish characters) keyboard layout pressing AltGr and Shift

    NB! Most non-European keyboards do not have an AltGr key. However, this key can be emulated by pressing Ctrl and Alt.

    Download and installation

    The installation package can be downloaded from here. The files should be unzipped (using for example WinZip) to a temporary folder and installed by double-clicking on the file "US_Swe.msi". After the installation process is finished the new keyboard layout will need to be enabled through your operating system. This is achieved by different methods depending on operating systems:

    Windows XP and Windows Server 2003: Start->Settings->Control Panel->Regional and Language Options->Languages tab->Details
    Windows 2000 Professional/Server: Start->Settings->Control Panel->Regional Options->Input Locales tab
    Windows NT 4.0 Workstation/Server: Start->Settings->Control Panel->Regional Options->Input Locales tab->Change...

    The language or locale is listed as "US (with Swedish characters)"
    Contact Jonas Martinsson