French Keyboard Layouts

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

There are many keyboard layouts for French language:

French AZERTY Layout

French AZERTY Layout N5Pqf
French (AZERTY) keyboard layout. Red are a dead keys. [image source 2022-01-06]
jelly comb keyboard french azerty 11754
French AZERTY keyboard.

[see Alt Graph Key, Compose Key, Dead Key]


French AZERTY Layout is Bad

The French AZERTY Layout, is one of the most inefficient layout possible.

2017-07-19 Max P said:

Besides swapping A Q and placing the period on shift semicolon, the AZERTY layout is incredibly idiotic for at least its placement of accents:

① the letter ù is at QWERTY's apostrophe ' place, very convenient to hit. The problem is that this letter is used in only one word, “où” (meaning “where”), and nowhere else. At the same time, the most common accented letter é is at key 2. I think it's more common than many consonants, often there are several é's in one word (préférée, réélu etc.)

② But if you hit Shift+ù or Shift+é , you get % and 2, respectively, instead of uppercase letters. To type uppercase Ù, you have to press AltGraph+7 , then Shift+u . There is no way to type uppercase É.

③ There's a dedicated dead circumflex ^ and diaeresis ¨ key to the right of p . This is a good design: circumflex can be paired with any vowel ( î ê ô û â ), yet is not very frequent; diaeresis is much less common and it's ok to put in on shifted key. Then they decided to add dead key with grave ` accent, doubling à è ù keys, and for whatever reason dead nasalization symbol the tilde ~, which is not used in French at all! But there's no dead acute accent ´ , used for the most common é letter.

Because of this design, many french people now think that uppercase letters are never written with diacritics, which is not right. That's sad.

[see Idiocy of Keyboard Layouts: QWERTZ, AZERTY]

New French Keyboard Layout 2019

french layout NF Z71-300 82mq-s250
New French Keyboard Layout

Canadian French Layout

Canadian French kbd
Canadian French keyboard layout. [ ]

The Canadian French layout is based on QWERTY layout.

Canadian French layout is much better that AZERTY French, but still not very efficient.

French Ergonomic Keyboard Layouts: dvorak-fr, bepo, bvofrak

French Ergonomic Keyboard Layouts

Canadian Multilingual Layout

Canadian Multilingual Layout

French Letter Frequency

French Letter Frequency

How do French people type accents?

I asked a friend in France how they type those accents. Here's his reply.

most people use AZERTY's accents on the first row:

  • 2é
  • 7è
  • 9ç
  • 0à

for the rest there is ù key beside m and

  • ¨ eë
  • ˆ eê

Using Dvorak layout on OS X i use the associative chars [ ` ´ ¨ ˆ ˆ ]+[aoeui].

all the people i know, engineers/scientists tend to stick with AZERTY,while some geeks/coders are using QWERTY/Maltron.some authors use BEPO.

[from [2017-04-30 ]]

[see Maltron Keyboard]

[see Maltron vs Dvorak keyboard Layout]

when in online chat, do people bother to type é è à etc properly? or do they just use e a?

Depends on the person but most of the time they type the accents, even when it's not really useful like: 'télé'(TV)

it seems awful to type all those accents. Is there some auto-add-accent in word processor or such?

I'm amazed how French are not annoyed by having to always go upthere. In word proccessors yes auto-correct takes care of invariable accents.

Keyboard Layouts



Layout Efficiency

Xah Keyboard Guide