Typing common Unicode accents without Character Map

While there is a work around for windows, by installing the United States International keyboard layout (see here). Currently, typing accent characters using an English keyboard layout is not well supported.
Would it be possible to bring Scrivener up to parity with Microsoft products, and have 1st party support for quickly typing characters with the most common accents, such as Ctrl+` followed by the character you want to have a grave.

The reason for this is that if you do any writing that includes mythology or non-english settings you quickly come across words that require typing alternative characters.
Additionally, unicode paragraph dividers such as this one - ═══════ ೋღ ֍ ღೋ ═══════ - that I use a lot don’t display properly in the editor e.g. [img https://onedrive.live.com/embed?cid=A36A8BD9FDD6DC54&resid=a36a8bd9fdd6dc54!239086&authkey=AAAy5RqpjGs-s9w]

This keyboard layout could potentially fix your issue.
image

I don’t think the developers would be that much into having Scrivener reach out to tweak what it receives as an input. (But you never know.)

Another trick would be to set replacements in the options, where you could replace
, ,e with è
e, , with é
…something the likes, etc etc. (?)

(I didn’t want the spaces in there, I mean comma-comma-e, but the forum won’t let me, and I don’t remember how to do it. So… – But you get the point anyway ? Could be eee for è. eeee = é. uuu = ù.)

I don’t know how fair it is to call it a “workaround”, using a keyboard layout with extended character support. Isn’t that the actual best and proper way to go about doing this? I use that setup as well, and it’s a very simple matter to use the AltGr key (Alt to the right of the spacebar) to accent characters or input other common special symbols, like § and €. It’ll probably feel pretty close to what you’re used to as well. For example ⇒ è came about from AltGr+` and then ‘e’.

It’s worth noting that a layout like this otherwise feels absolutely normal if you’re already accustomed to US-EN layout. All of the printed symbols and letters on your keyboard should be the same. Most of them will only change that right Alt key which then acts as a “super shift”, and some will have even more symbols with Shift-Alt.

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I’m not suggesting tweaking what the software receives as input. Rather I’m suggesting that they add two stage triggers, so that you can use more complicated keyboard macros.
I have a programming background, and one of the common things you see in modern IDE’s is macro’s like {CTRL+k, f} in order to format the code. Where the CTRL+k determines what category of macro is being executed, and the next key combination says what macro is being used.
In MS Word/Wordpad/Outlook/etc. you could represent è as {CTRL+`, e} Same for à, ù, ò, ì. Equally {CTRL+', e} could be used to produce é, and other characters that use that particular accent.

The main thing is that people shouldn’t need to change their keyboard layout in order to quickly and easily type letters with common accents. As, especially for touch typists like myself, that change makes a far larger difference than you’d imagine on the surface.

I haven’t tried it because my everyday keyboard layout has both French and English wrapped up in a single one, but I believe that AmberV just explained how this is actually already present ? With the AltGr key combination ?

See my other comment. Long story short, each country has their own keyboard layout, and users shouldn’t be required to change keyboard layouts just to be able to type accents that are common across most of the Romance Languages.

Only if you install an extended keyboard layout, which may not exist for your countries normal keyboard layout. Which is something that many users just won’t have the knowledge or expertise to do without a very good guide. They may not even realize that it’s possible, as the built in help says to use the “Character Map” app in order to find unusual characters. Which for an English speaker, accents are.

Well, I guess I just don’t agree with that assessment. I think a keyboard layout is the perfect place for this to happen, and that using such a layout permanently is not an imposition or difficulty, and can make your life so much better. It means you benefit from one consistent input method that works across all software equally. I can input these characters right here in the browser in the exact same fashion I would into Scrivener, or an email. It means each individual developer does not need to be lobbied to reinvent whatever Microsoft did (and didn’t share across the system, perplexingly—although in this case I will say I’m glad, as their choice to use Ctrl is very weird as that eats into the pool of available custom shortcuts by a good half dozen).

@DarkPhoenixLady
Have a look at ComfortKeys. (?)

It’s not just Microsoft though, it’s also Apple too, and any other platform that can run Scrivener. And, yes those international layouts exist because there are people that need them all the time. However, if you go into just about any store in the world, the keyboards you can buy don’t include those additional characters.
Same as US keyboards don’t include a Euro symbol on the number 4, and they don’t include the £ symbol on the 3, while UK layout keyboards do. They also have a different positioning for the # and @ symbols compared to they layouts in other countries.
However, if you google the issue, all of the help topics say you need to install the US-EN International keyboard layout.

To address the “Didn’t share across the system” part. Microsoft actually acts like a group of companies all working together. So you have the Xbox, Surface, Office, OS, etc. internal companies all operating under the Microsoft umbrella. So theses were developed by the Office team based on persistent feedback. However, other parts of the company have different needs. As the Application Development team almost never need to worry about accented characters, and neither do the xbox team.

Yeah, but Apple is bit different, or it is perhaps more technically accurate to say that Apple’s default keyboard layout for US-EN is what we would call “International” in the Windows/Linux worlds. Macs have never (I do think going all the way back to the first Macintosh) been anglocentric exclusive with their US-EN input method, and Mac users can easily type in these letters using a very similar system to the AltGr system (Option and Shift+Option). Granted their system does have a downside as well in that those two modifer key combinations cannot be used for custom shortcuts. AltGr is a bit better in that regard as it only impacts the right Alt key. The left goes on functioning as a normal Alt key.

So this is also something that is system-wide, and not something that changes in this program or that one. Which makes sense, because again we’re talking about keyboard layouts here, not software implementing overrides on the layout. Using an international layout on Windows is thus extremely similar to using a stock Mac layout (though the special keys and symbols do all tend to be in very different places).

However, if you go into just about any store in the world, the keyboards you can buy don’t include those additional characters.

Well, no, it would be very cluttered to print up to four different symbols on each key; maybe I don’t understand what you are getting at here. But bear in mind that the keyboard itself isn’t the thing responsible for this—one doesn’t buy an “English-only” keyboard, there is no such thing. When you plug in a new keyboard it will default to a particular setup based on how it identifies itself (which yes, may well be English-only), but from there you can apply whatever layout you want! You can even have it input Kanji or Arabic. What is printed on the key cap is 100% cosmetic, it’s the signals the keyboard sends to the system that matter, and it’s the keyboard layout that translates those signals at a deep level—which is again where you want this to be happening, not as high level software overrides.

Yeah, that’s true, but I still do find it emblematic of Microsoft’s approach to throw away a bunch of development time reinventing dead keys instead of just enabling and using the existing standards, and then leave it enabled in only one department’s products. :laughing:

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For many years, I bought my Macs in China or Hong Kong, and they came with the standard US-International key caps, with Shift-3 giving #, for instance. As a UK-English user, I could have continued with that, using Opt-3 for £, but setting the keyboard to UK-English reverses it. Either way, it’s not a problem.

As for the AltGr key, that may seem to be an advantage, but Mac keyboards come with a Ctrl key, which, unless you use a text editor like Vi or perhaps emacs or know and use those key-bindings, is virtually completely unused for the vast majority of Mac-users. The result is Ctrl key combinations provide a huge range of possible shortcuts, on their own or in combination with any or all of Command, Option, and Shift.

Absolutely. A long time ago, in the 1990s, I was asked by a translation agency to help them with laying out a multi-page questionnaire in Russian which had to present on the page exactly like the English version so that all the tick-boxes were in exactly the same position on each page. They couldn’t do it on their PCs running Word Perfect. I don’t know Russian, but I got them to buy me a Russian font (TNR equivalent), which I installed on my Mac; I didn’t even think about keyboard layout. I did it over the weekend, and had to learn which keys entered which glyph by trial and error initially. By the time I’d finished, I was basically touch-typing the Russian. What was shown on my key caps was totally irrelevant.

By the way there is one useful thing on the Mac, which I wonder if there’s an equivalent for Windows, that is the “Keyboard Viewer”. It’s available under the Language menu if activated. It shows you the keyboard and the glyph each key will send in all the combinations of Key with Shift and Option; the dead keys are signalled on it, so if you need a glyph that you’re not sure where it is, you can quickly call it up.

Mark

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Oh yeah, it’s quite true that Mac and Linux systems (where the Win key is similar to the Ctrl key on a Mac, for all of the same reasons) do in general have more possible permutations available than Windows systems do, I was just pointing out that one specific facet in counter-balance to how MS seems to be using the Ctrl key on Windows as a dead key trigger, which boggles my mind. That would be like using the Command key on a Mac, for this.

But for most people we’re talking differences in available shortcut pools that go well beyond what anyone needs.

I did it over the weekend, and had to learn which keys entered which glyph by trial and error initially. By the time I’d finished, I was basically touch-typing the Russian. What was shown on my key caps was totally irrelevant.

Exactly, it’s interesting how quickly we adapt to something very different from what we are used to. But again in this particular case if one is accustomed to US-EN layout then most international variants out there are 99% the same (one-key difference), and 100% what is printed on the hardware as well. There is no acclimation save for those that do actually use the right-Alt correctly (ergonomically, to trigger with letters on the left hand). The only difference is that now you can type in ñ as fast as you can type in Q, system-wide.