French Keyboard Layout
There are 2 popular keyboard layouts for French language.
- French AZERTY layout, used in France.
- French Canadian layout, based on QWERTY layout, used in Quebec part of Canada.
French AZERTY Layout
- The number row is Inverted. To type numbers, you have to press Shift key.
- Odd position of m
The French AZERTY Layout, is one of the most sucky layout possible.
2017-07-19 Max P said:
Besides A,Q-swapping and placing the period on S-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 AltGr+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.
Canadian French Layout
The Canadian French layout is based on QWERTY layout.
〔►see Apple Keyboards ⌨〕
Alternative French Layouts
There are a few ergonomic layouts for French.
* 12345 67890 +% _ =/-è\ ^(`)"  :’ég. hvcmk z¨ oaueb fstnd w~ à ;q,iy xrlpj
Dvorak-fr is based on Dvorak.
〔►see Dvorak Keyboard Layout〕
Dvorak-fr has inverted number row.
Dvorak-fr appeared in 2002.
Dvorak-fr has 2 other variations. “Dvorak-fr-e” for entering all euro lang characters. “Dvorak-fr-k” for the Kinesis Contoured Keyboard.
Dvorak-fr home page at http://www.algo.be/ergo/dvorak-fr.html
Bépo is a ergonomic layout for French.
Bépo has inverted number row.
Bépo is a later invention than Dvorak-fr. It claims to improve some problems in Dvorak-fr, and is more well marketed.
Bépo home page at http://bepo.fr/
Bvofrak is ergonomic French layout. It's based on Dvorak-fr and Bépo.
It has several different versions for different keyboard.
There's even a version for English.
Bvofrak home page at http://bvofrak.blogspot.com/
French Letter Frequency and Keyboard Layout
How Do French People Type the Accents?
I asked a native French friend how French people type those accents. Here's his reply.
how do french people type those accents?
most people use AZERTY's accents on the first row:
- 2 → é
- 7 → è
- 9 → ç
- 0 → à
for the rest there is ù key beside m and
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.
〔►see Maltron Keyboard Review〕
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.
〔►see Alternative Keyboard Layouts〕