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Installing modified keyboard layouts on windows 8.1

1,619 posts
Thanks Meter: 325
By SixSixSevenSeven, Senior Member on 7th March 2014, 08:04 PM
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I've recently been trying to learn german just to expand my knowledge a bit, this of course requires german characters however I am using a laptop with a UK English keyboard for which there is no way to type german characters without the old alt+numpad trick, which is great but my laptop doesnt have a numpad either as phyical keys or a Fn+something else combo.
My intended solution was to over-ride the existing alt-gr + u = as is default on a UK keyboard to be instead and managed to create this new layout with the old Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator tool here:

But I cannot for the life of me work out how to activate a file created with that tool as my actual keyboard layout.
The only guide I found simply said to double click the .ksc file and windows will do the rest, no, it opened the tool again. If I select project > test keyboard layout it works 100% perfectly. I did find build DLL and setup package in that menu too, this gave me a setup.exe which I have ran but my new layout does not appear as an option in control panel as a selectable layout for any language?

I have tried rebooting the system, it still doesnt appear as an option. Is it not possible to use 3rd party keyboard layouts anymore?
7th March 2014, 08:32 PM |#2  
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Thanks Meter: 325
Rebooted (again), re-ran the setup program, rebooted again and it still wasnt there but was importable as a layout in the editing tool, rebooted yet again and it suddenly enabled itself as the active language.

So I guess its sorted but being very temperamental about installation in the first place.
7th March 2014, 09:11 PM |#3  
e.mote's Avatar
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Why not just install the German keyboard via Control Panel | Language. It's fast to toggle between keyboards with Win+Space. Umlauted vowels (and anything language-specific) are then easily accessible.

For single-key mapping, the old KeyTweak still works fine in 8.1. Pretty simple to use. My old KB doesn't have the Windows key, and I was surprised that it could be remapped.
7th March 2014, 09:28 PM |#4  
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Thanks Meter: 325
That was my original workaround, but that stuck the umlauted keys ontop of things like - and ; At least with my reconfigured keyboard I can make the connection between u and and I no longer have to cycle languages occasionally, didnt appreciate the swapping of Y and Z much either.

Although thats another weird issue. right now win key + space does nothing because I have turned german language off again, but sometimes after restoring from hibernate English US appears as an option I can switch between, then hibernate and resume the machine again and English US disappears? Very strange, not a major issue at least.
8th March 2014, 12:06 AM |#5  
e.mote's Avatar
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Thanks Meter: 885
>but that stuck the umlauted keys ontop of things like - and ;

If you're learning Deutsch, I doubt a single key remap is adequate. Have hard-copy printout of the KB layout next to you, and refer to it. Or, if you just need the occasional //, toggle out, type the char, and toggle back to ENG. Although English is now my primary language, this is what I do when I need to type in my native tongue.

Have not encountered issues with hibernating and disappearing keyboards. Then again, I don't do hib. The active keyboard has an indicator on the taskbar, so there shouldn't be confusion.
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