Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator Tutorial


The Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator is a program that allows users to make custom keyboard layouts for use in Microsoft Windows. This allows users to create their own support for languages and layouts that are not supported in Windows ordinarily, and also gives them the opportunity to create completely original keyboard layouts based on their typing preferences. The Keyboard Layout Creator is easy to use, requiring very little practice to master.

Things You'll Need

  • Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator (Resource 1)
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 or later (Resource 2)
  • Install and launch the Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator. The software will launch with a blank keyboard.

  • Load an existing keyboard layout using the "File" menu. This will give you a basis to work from for your new layout, preventing you from having to assign every key from scratch. Select the layout that you wish to use from the list presented to you and click "OK" to load it.

  • Examine the keyboard layout that is presented to you. Take note of the colors of the keys; light gray keys can be assigned, dark gray keys are "dead" keys that modify the keystroke that follow them (by giving accent marks or similar actions) and black keys are keys that cannot be assigned.

  • Click the assignable keys for which you wish to change the assigned keystroke. Each assignable key will open a new window, which allows you to enter up to four different values for the key; these values can be added by typing a single character (with its appropriate capitalization), entering a unicode string or by copying and pasting the value from the Windows Character Map application.

  • Click the check boxes next to the keyboard to set special keystrokes such as "Shift," "Ctrl," or a combination of "Ctrl" and "Alt" for the keys that you are editing to create characters that are specific to the combination of your selected key and the special keystroke that you have checked.

  • Open the "Projects" menu to test your keyboard layout once you have made the changes that you want. You will have two testing options; the first option will validate your layout while checking for duplicate keystrokes and other errors, and the second will give you a text field that you can type in to test your keyboard layout directly.

  • Save your keyboard layout using the "Save" function in the "File" menu. You can load your keyboard layout in the "Regional and Language Settings" section of the Windows Control Panel (grouped with the "Clock, Language and Region" settings).

Tips & Warnings

  • The Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator 1.4 is designed to work with Windows 2000 and later. For earlier versions of Windows, an earlier edition of the Keyboard Layout Creator must be used.

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  • Photo Credit keyboard image by Jason Murillo from
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