Create TeX/Math/APL Keyboard Layout

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

This page shows you how to create a keyboard layout for inputting math symbols. for {Windows, Mac OS X, Linux}.

For example, you can create APL (programming language) keyboard layout, or for LaTeX/XeTeX, or simply as a system to type math symbols in plain text.

APL Keyboard Layout

APL keyboard layout
APL keyboard layout. [ ]

Unicode Font

You'll need font to display math symbols.

The DejaVu font has all APL symbols and vast majority of math symbols.

Download DejaVu fonts at

For other choices, see: Best Unicode Fonts for Programer. For emoji, see Download Free Unicode Fonts.

Unicode Characters

You'll need to copy paste unicode characters. Here's references.

Create Your Own Layout


For Mac OS X, see: macOS: Create Custom Keyboard Layout


[Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator By Microsoft. Search the web. The links changes often. ]

Using Emacs

If you are using emacs, you don't need any of the OS layout.

emacs provides you the most flexibility. There are many ways to setup to insert a particular character.

Insert by Keyboard Shortcut

Put the following in your emacs init.

;; example of systematic keys to insert math symbols
(global-set-key (kbd "<f9> <right>") "→")
(global-set-key (kbd "<f9> a") "α")
(global-set-key (kbd "<f9> b") "β")
(global-set-key (kbd "<f9> t") "θ")

The F9 key can be any other key.

see Emacs: How to Define Keys

This method of input is:

Insert by Abbrev

You can insert Unicode by abbrev. For example, typing alpha follow by space, becomes α.

see Emacs: Abbrev Mode Tutorial

This method is:

Insert by Short Code and Activation Key

Another way is to type a short code, from 1 to 4 letters, then press a hotkey to change it to a math symbol.

see Emacs: Xah Math Input Mode

It is designed for working with typing math in general, not specifically for APL.

You can add your own abbrevs for APL symbols.

back to Create Keyboard Shortcut

APL Keyboards

Keybinding and Input-System

Xah Keyboard Guide