Possible International Kits for Custom Keycap Sets.

This webpage lists several possible kits that would allow completing a keyboard with a non-English national layout, starting off with the base kit of a custom keycap set that only supports the English (USA) national layout. This webpage is meant as a reference resource for kit designers.

Index.

This document is comprised of the following sections:


General notes.

Each kit supports a determined list of known national layouts and lists all the alphameric or “alpha” keys that are required by each of them, that would not appear in a base kit that supports only the English (USA) national layout (so, for example, a kit supporting German wouldn’t include the row 4 Z key, as it’s already present in a base kit, but one supporting French would include the row 2 Z key, as that one isn’t present).

The English (USA) national layout is the only major layout that does not use the tertiary (AltGr) and quaternary (AltGr‑Shift) layers. All others use those layers in varying percentages, and thus need keycaps where the characters produced are printed on the respective keycaps. Now, due to the influence of a particular keycap profile created and still manufactured in the United States of America (not naming any names, but Surely Anyone will be able to guess which one it is), whose caps look great when they have a single legend, look okay with two legends and look horrible with three or four, some kit designers have taken to prefer omitting the tertiary (and quaternary) legends out of aesthetic considerations (and reduced cost, due to the smaller number of needed keycaps), independently of the keycap profile that is being used and functionality be damned. This page lists two versions of each kit, one with all the tertiary (and quaternary, if need be) legends on alphameric keycaps, and one with all the tertiary legends omitted (but this is still a bad idea, okay?).

In each chart, a few keycaps are marked with the legends “corner”, “movable” and “extra”. The meaning of each of these legends is:

The following example illustrates each of these categories:

German national layout over four different physical layouts.

Each of these alphameric blocks has the German national layout laid on top of a different physical layout: ISO, ISANSI, BAE (common) and HHKB-like.


NorDeUK+++.

Many keycap sets have a base kit that supports only the English (USA) [over ANSI] and English (UK) [over ISO] national layouts, and a separate kit (usually called “NorDe”) with support for German and a few Nordic language layouts. Others support only the English (USA) national layout [over ANSI or ISO; sometimes even only over ANSI] and have another kit (usually called “NorDeUK”) for English (UK), German, and the Nordic language layouts. Generally, the Nordic layouts that do get full support are Danish, Norwegian, Finnish and Swedish, while the rest (national, like Icelandic, or subnational, like Faroese) have to make do with partial support.

NorDeUK+++ is a possible catch-all kit that supports all most of the national layouts in the region, namely: English (USA) (over ANSISO or ISO), English (UK), Danish, Estonian, Faroese, German, Icelandic, Norwegian and Swedish & Finish.

As it stands, the kit ensures English (USA) is supported on ANSISO and ISO keyboards. The rest of the national layouts are supported on ISO keyboards, but not ISANSI ones; to do it, the row 2 versions of the movable keycaps would need to be added.

Note: the Latvian and Lithuanian layouts are too different to be conflated in this kit; English (UK Extended) could be added as well (but not yet... see below).


NorDeUK+++ add-on kit.

NorDeUK+++ add-on kit (no tertiary legends).

Alphameric keycap count for each national layout supported in the NorDeUK+++ kit.
national layoutfull kittertiary-less kit
(total)6650
English (USA) 3 3
English (UK) 7 6
Danish2321
Estonian2321
Faroese2321
German2623
Icelandic2119
Norwegian2321
Swedish & Finish2321



BRESLAPTIT.

BRESLAPTIT is a possible kit that would add support for the Italian, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal) and Spanish (Spain) national layouts, and the Spanish (Latin America) supranational layout.

Italian support is only for the 142 standard, not the older and obsolete 141 standard, although the latter would have a high degree of support as well.

It’s tempting to call this “Western Mediterranean”, but that would leave out Maltese (too similar to UK English to be succesfully conflated here) and the French layout as used in Northwestern African countries (much better served in the French kit). “Peninsulas” won’t work, either, as it would leave out Greek.


BRESLAPTIT add-on kit.

BRESLAPTIT add-on kit (with no tertiary legends).

Alphameric keycap count for each national layout supported in the BRESLAPTIT kit.
national layoutfull kittertiary-less kit
(total)7044
Italian2321
Portuguese (Brazil)2110
Portuguese (Portugal)2118
Spanish (Spain)2320
Spanish (Latin America)2019



French.

French is a possible kit that would add support for the French (France) and French (Belgium) layouts. The... quirky... nature of these two AZERTY layouts makes it infeasible to add others to this proposed kit.

French add-on kit.

French add-on kit (with no tertiary legends).

Alphameric keycap count for each national layout supported in the French kit.
national layoutfull kittertiary-less kit
(total)4936
French (France)2826
French (Belgium)2928
French (France, for Northwest Africa)2826



English.

It seems that fully supporting the English (UK) extended layout (and Irish) might actually make it worth to split NORDEUK+++ into NORDE+++ and this. Work in progress.


Last update: 12/10/2019.

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