Russian extended keyboard layout


    The article is dedicated to all users of the Russian keyboard who want to increase the speed of typing.

    Foreign interface creators rarely care about their adaptation to foreign cultures. A vivid example of such an interface is a computer keyboard widely used by everyone (hereinafter referred to as the keyboard standard 104 ANSI).

    The layouts selected in the Windows settings are software, that is, they interpret the scan codes received from the keyboard into the desired characters. English-speaking users use only one software layout and they have no problems with switching and confusion with punctuation marks.

    As a user writing letters and filling out labels in MS Excel, every time I take a break, when I need to quickly correct a formula or enter new data, I spend a lot of time correcting errors arising from constantly switching the layout from Russian to English, and when writing letters with the correct Russian punctuation, I constantly encounter the need to enter characters that do not exist on the keyboard at all (-, ",", inextricable space).

    I identified for myself three problems that slow down the work:

    • The inconvenience of the standard way to switch layouts.
    • The lack of punctuation marks that are often used in Russian.
    • Punctuation marks mismatch between layouts.

    The solution to these problems can be found in existing GOSTs.

    GOST 6431-75 . Writing machines. The location of the keys and characters on the keyboard.

    According to this GOST, frequently used punctuation marks are located in the digital range of the block of alphanumeric keys. The numbers are dialed using the register transfer key. To enter a comma, you do not need to translate the register each time. The comma and dot are typed with index fingers. The letter ё is in the letter, not the digital range. This GOST corresponds to the only alternative Russian layout in Windows - typewritten.

    GOST 14289-88 . Computer facilities. Keyboards Arrangement of keys and symbols, functions of control keys.

    GOST was developed at a time when the IBM Model M was just becoming the standard.
    It provides two simple solutions to switching layout problems:

    • With a key that provides a constant selection of the input mode of the letters of the Russian alphabet (CapsLock).
    • Using the key to temporarily change the input mode of the characters of the Russian and Latin alphabets for alphabetic keys and temporarily enable the third register for keys with numbers (right Alt).

    In all layouts, CapsLock is used to include an “upper case” layer. But it is possible to include them not in upper case, but in an alternative alphabet.

    Fig. 1. US layout

    Many national layouts have additional layers that are temporarily turned on by pressing the alt key. It is possible to make several additional layers using alt + any key of a text block.

    Thus, in one layout, you can fit several alphabets and all kinds of special characters.

    Fig. 2. Russian layout of Windows

    Inspired by these solutions, I decided to bring them to life. I could not create or install special utilities. Microsoft Keyboard Layout, the official Microsoft program for creating layouts for any language, came to the rescue.

    It was possible to solve all the problems only by creating a single Russian-English layout with the same punctuation marks for both languages.

    Fig. 3. Russian Extended Layout

    To combine punctuation, we had to abandon the numbers in the digital range (there is a digital block), put a dot on the number 8, and a comma on the number 5. The easiest way to reach these keys is with your fingers and there are no third characters on them.

    For the possibility of using layouts on a laptop, I put the numbers in the alt layer.

    He left the remaining signs in their places and added the signs often used in Russian writing.

    What it gave me:

    • The ability to quickly and competently write Russian texts from any application.
    • Do not think about whether I am in the correct layout in order to type this or that symbol.
    • Switch layout by CapsLock without utilities.
    • Temporarily switch the layout through the right alt.
    • Programs no longer change the layout themselves. When starting any program, you will remain in the alphabet that you switched to earlier.


    For a set of power signs and letters from Greek and other alphabets, I added another layer, to activate which you need to type alt + \.

    Fig. 4. Russian extended layout with all characters

    Link to layout

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