Keyboard layouts are generally geared towards keyboards that have keys arranged a certain way, or they’re geared toward the language they will be used to type in. For example a keyboard layout for typing French, Spanish, or Chinese pinyin will be different from the usual English QWERTY keyboard layout. The letters and their position may be more or less the same across some but in some keyboards, you will be able to type accented characters, among other things. Windows 10 comes with a large library of keyboard layouts for different languages and you can add any keyboard layout you need to use. If you can’t find the right keyboard layout to suit your needs, whatever they might be, you can always create a custom keyboard layout. It’s surprisingly easy to create one.
To create a custom keyboard layout, you need an app called Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator. It’s a free app developed by Microsoft that just about anyone can use to create a custom keyboard layout. It’s ridiculously easy to use and the layout you create can be shared with anyone who wants to install it on their own system. Download Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator, install, and run the app.
Custom Keyboard Layout
You’ll get a basic keyboard layout without a dedicated numpad. The keys are color coded. All white keys can be assigned whereas the dark grey ones cannot. The dark grey keys represent keys like Tab, Shift, Caps, etc.
Click inside an assignable key, and in the box that opens, enter what key/character you want to enter when that particular key is pressed. This will enter the default character for that key. If you want to record the shift state character for a key, click the All button on this same box.
Recording a Shift key is just as easy as recording the default state key but it isn’t compulsory. You can skip it if you want. You can also couple keys with Ctrl and Alt keys.
When you’re done, go to Project>Build DLL and Setup Package. You’ll see a prompt asking if you want to check the properties of the keyboard layout you’re creating and you definitely should. That’s where you can give the keyboard layout a proper name and description.
It will create an MSI file and an EXE, either one of which you can run to install your custom keyboard layout. I created a basic one that types in all Caps and named it angry. Once installed, it allowed me to type in all Caps without holding down the Shift key. For more complicated keyboard layouts, it’s going to take more time to create but the tool is still easy to use and you only need time on your hands to use it.