I am a Mac person — i have been since i was little. There was a period, during the dark dark ages of the Mac (between OS 9 and Jaguar), where i switched to Windows, but even then i still kept all my Mac habits and preferences. One of those was the English keyboard layout that has always come with Mac OS, which uses the Option key (equivalent to AltGr on PCs) to input special characters like ®, ¿, and é.
To enter characters like these on a PC, you generally have two choices:
- Use the Character Map utility (or its equivalent on Linux), which is tedious and inconvenient; or
- select one of the ‘International’ or ‘Extended’ keyboard layouts, which have almost the opposite problem from the normal ones — they contain an enormous assortment of obscure characters that i will never use or remember.
Not happy with either of those, i decided to re-create the Macintosh layout for Windows. I did this using Keyboard Layout Creator, which is a surprisingly handy utility given it’s made by Microsoft.
You can find three such re-created layouts below:
- US - Macintosh (QWERTY) — This is a completely faithful reproduction of the original Macintosh US English keyboard layout, including dead keys. Special characters are entered with the AltGr key (that’s the right Alt key, if your keyboard hasn’t got it labelled as AltGr).
- US - Macintosh (QWERTY - en-GB) — This is exactly the same as the above, but the input language is set to UK English (en-GB), for those of you who (like me) prefer that.
- UK - Macintosh (QWERTY) — This one is a little different; it’s a mixture of the standard UK keyboard layout and the Macintosh US one. You’ll want to use this if you are accustomed to the traditional UK keyboard (with hash on the home row and double-quote above the 2). I don’t believe Apple have ever made an official UK layout for the Macintosh (their UK keyboards really aren’t UK keyboards at all), so i’ve had to take some liberties. For example, i’ve left the guillemets (« / ») on the # key. Also, i’ve moved the broken verical bar (normally AltGr+`) to AltGr+\. Not like you used that anyway though.
Installation is pretty easy: Just unzip and run setup.exe, then add the keyboard in the Control Panel. In Windows XP this is in Regional and Language Options, Languages, Details. Not sure where it is in Vista and Win7. Note that the keyboard settings are per-application, so you may have to change it for each program you have open using the Language Bar.
If you’ve never used a Macintosh keyboard before, you can find a diagram for the special keys below (found this on Google Images). Just pretend the Option key (the dark one with the funny symbol) is your AltGr key:
One final, and minor, note: On some versions of Windows (i think only Windows XP pre-SP2, but i’m not sure), the combination for cedilla (AltGr+C) doesn’t work. I have no idea why.