[kde-edu]: Question! Re: Need help revising KTouch keyboards

Andreas Nicolai Andreas.Nicolai at gmx.net
Thu Sep 27 03:09:56 CEST 2007

Hi Anne-Marie and everyone else planning to work on keyboard files for  

Sorry for the missing documentation for the keyboard editor, but here's a  
short introduction.

At first, I didn't think much about the naming of the keyboard layouts, so  
I guess either one of "Dvorak French" or "French (Dvorak)" would be ok.  
I'd prefer the second one, though.

For the usage of the editor: The basic principle is that you first have to  
click on a key to change it. Then you will see the different input widges  
updated and the key will be highlighted in the editor. Next you set the  
appearance of the key by typing the different key characters in the four  
text edits. If only one character is typed to the top left, it will be  
shown bigger (as for the normal single character keys). If more characters  
are shown on the keyboard, the characters will be drawn smaller in each  
corner of the key. Extra keys can be added using the Add button. Move the  
keys by dragging them or typing in coordinates of the keys in the  
position/geometry input widgets. In any case it is recommended to start  
with an existing keyboard layout (load the german or english ones) and  
simply modify the keyboard.

After the visual layout of the keyboard is complete, you need to define  
key connectors. These are the characters that are accessible by pressing a  
key by itself or in combination with a modifier key. For instance, on a  
German keyboard, the key Q also has the lower case q, the upper case Q  
(key + shift) and the @ character (key + Alt Gr). You need to define all  
those for each key. If you defined a wrong key connection, you can delete  
all connectors for the current key and start over.

Once complete, save the keyboard and test it with some lecture that  
contains all characters (create one, if necessary).

Practicing language input methods is a separate issue and would be very  
difficult to handle in a touch typing program as KTouch. From my recent  
trip to China I know that most college students tend to learn touch typing  
with english texts on english keyboards (there is no chinese keyboard  
layout, the US english keyboard layout is used). And since chinese  
characters are mostly typed using the Pinyin input method, which is typing  
the phonetics of the chinese characters without accentuation and after  
finishing a symbol/word selecting the correct symbol combination, knowing  
how to type quickly on an english keyboard is the only major requirement.  
Hence, particularly for the pinyin system a chinese practice lecture would  
be nice, where you simply type chinese texts using pinyin, minus the  
symbol selection part (which means pressing the left cursor key once or  
twice and then up and down until the correct symbol appears).

Anyway, let me know if some usage questions are still left open.


Andreas Nicolai                         anicolai at syr.edu
PhD Candidate, M.A.M.E                  (315) 443-2641
Syracuse University
151 Link Hall
Syracuse, NY, 13244

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