Localized Keyboards

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The information on this page is in draft form, and is still quite provisional. Please note issues on the talk page, and we will try to get information directly from the countries and language communities concerned.

There are numerous keyboard layouts in use for various languages in different countries on different physical keyboard arrangements. Ideally, we would provide XO-1s with

  • a printed keyboard layout for the user's (schoolchild, teacher, GiveOneGetOne donor,...) principal language on the keytops
  • keyboard layout files modified for the XO
  • a correct locale setting, and an easy way to change it as needed
  • a correct configuration for keyboard layout switching matched to the user's requirements, and an easy way to modify it

In practice, OLPC cannot customize XO-1s to this degree. It is expensive to create tooling, even for printing keyboard layouts, and more expensive to manufacture in small batches and to track and warehouse the number of SKUs (Stock-Keeping Units) that would be required. This is a particular problem for G1G1 in Europe, where there are dozens of languages and layouts in use, and no way to forecast demand for each.

The XO-2, with a touch screen graphical keyboard, will go a long way to solve this problem. It is much easier to provide a localized flash image for a country and language than to modify the hardware.

Many countries will have a single configuration that satisfies the vast majority of users. Peru, Uruguay, and Mexico, for example, can have the same Latin American Spanish keyboard for their default, with the ability to switch to the US alternative international keyboard, formerly known as US International, us_intl. Similarly for Ethiopia, Cambodia, or Mongolia--one native keyboard as the default, with easy switching to US English. The ×÷ key on the US layout is repurposed on other layouts as a keyboard switching key to cycle through a set of layouts. The configuration file on an XO-1 can be set up for three or even more keyboard layouts to access with the keyboard switching key.

But what about other countries? Nigeria has [more than 500 languages], nine of them designated official languages. OLPC has support for Hausa, Igbo, and Yoruba so far. Afghanistan's principal languages are Dari and Pashto, and there are others of importance. In Muslim countries, it is important to be able to write Arabic as well. India has 22 official languages out of more than 400 in use in ten different writing systems. Latin-alphabet keyboard layouts differ in the arrangement of letters (QWERTY, QWERTZ, AZERTY) in the accented letters and extra letters provided (é ñ ø å Đ), in currency symbols (€$₣₤₨₩₪₯), and in punctuation such as quotation marks (‘’ ‚‛ “” „‟ «»). Cyrillic and Arabic for various languages have various added letters and sometimes radically different keyboard layouts.

Well, the plan is to ask governments how many units should be built for each language group in their countries.

GiveOneGetOne Europe

G1G1 for Europe can't work that way. There are 27 member countries in the European Union, plus a number of candidate countries, and several co-operating non-member countries. Countries that will likely insist on support for their layouts include

  • UK English
  • France AZERTY
  • Germany and Austria QWERTZ
  • Switzerland Swiss German (default) and Swiss French layouts, and Italian
  • Spain Spanish (significantly different from Latin American layout)
  • Italy Italian

There must be some support for Greek and some Cyrillic layouts. European languages written in Cyrillic are Serbian, Macedonian, and Bulgarian, each with a different layout. Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, and Russia are not included in this version of Europe.

Countries, Principal Languages, Layouts

EU, Europe

  • Austria German QWERTZ ß
  • Belgium French AZERTY, Flemish QWERTY «»
  • Bulgaria Bulgarian Cyrillic , У Е И Ш Щ
  • Cyprus Greek ;ςΕΡΤΥ ασδφγ,Turkish QWERTY ıIiİîÎğĞ
  • Czech Republic Czech QWERTZ ěščřžý
  • Denmark Danish QWERTY åø «»
  • Estonia Estonian QWERTY õ€
  • Finland Finnish QWERTY €«»
  • France French, Breton, Provençal, all using AZERTY keyboard çôâê «» (Default and Alternative) [1]
  • Germany German QWERTZ ß
  • Greece Greek ;ςΕΡΤΥ ασδφγ
  • Hungary Hungarian QWERTZ ő
  • Ireland UK English, CloGaelach (Irish Gaelic) QWERTY ċḋḟġṡ≤≥÷ «»
  • Italy Italian QWERTY €«» [2]
  • Latvia Latvian QWERTY āēīōūģķļŗščž
  • Lithuania Lithuanian QWERTY ąčęėįšųūž „“
  • Luxembourg French AZERTY, German QWERTZ, Luxemburgisch
  • Malta Maltese QWERTY ġċŧ «»
  • the Netherlands Dutch QWERTY «»
  • Poland Polish QWERTY łćżę
  • Portugal Portuguese €«» (different from Brazilian Portuguese layout)
  • Romania Romanian ăîşţ «»
  • Slovakia Slovak QWERTZ ľščťžý
  • Slovenia Slovene čšž «»
  • Spain Spanish (different from Latin American layout), Basque, Catalan
  • Sweden Swedish åæ «»
  • United Kingdom UK English QWERTY £, Welsh, Scots Gaelic

EU candidate countries

  • Croatia Serbo-Croatian QWERTZ čćšđž „“ «»
  • former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Cyrillic ЉЊЕРТЅ
  • Turkey Turkish QWERTY ıIiİîÎğĞ [3], Kurdish Arabic, Cyrillic, Latin
  • Albania Albanian
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnian QWERTZ čćšđž «»
  • Montenegro Serbo-Croatian (Latin QWERTZ čćšđž «» and Cyrillic ЉЊЕРТЗ)
  • Serbia Serbo-Croatian (Cyrillic) ЉЊЕРТЗ «»
  • Kosovo Albanian çë «», Serbo-Croatian (Cyrillic) ЉЊЕРТЗ «»

EU non-members

Part of the single market through the European Economic Area or bilateral treaties

  • Iceland Icelandic ĐðÞþóúýæ «»
  • Liechtenstein German QWERTZ
  • Norway Norwegian øæå «»
  • Switzerland German, Swiss German (Schwyzerdütsch), Romansch, Swiss French, Italian [4], English. Switzerland uses variations of the French AZERTY and German QWERTZ keyboards.

European microstates using the euro

  • Monaco French AZERTY
  • San Marino Italian
  • Vatican City Italian QWERTY, Latin


  • Andorra Catalan-Valencian-Balear, French AZERTY


  • English (US and Canada, Caribbean nations) [5]
  • French (Canada, St. Pierre et Miquelon, US, Haiti) [6]
  • Spanish [7]
  • Brazilian Portuguese [8]
  • Dutch
  • Native American languages

Africa and Arab Middle East

Lots, but not so many keyboard layouts

  • Many countries Arabic [9]
  • Ethiopia Amharic [10]
  • Pan-African
  • French [11]
  • US English [12]
  • UK English
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish
  • Pulaar (Fula) [13]
  • Nigeria Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba [14]



  • Japan phonetic conversion from QWERTY or kana keyboard
  • Korea Hangeul keyboard
  • China dozens of IMEs for Simplified Chinese; Zhuyin keyboard; more than 50 recognized minorities
  • Mongolia Cyrillic, Traditional [15]
  • Russia Russian Cyrillic [16], numerous minority languages such as Kurdish Arabic, Cyrillic, Latin
  • Taiwan dozens of IMEs for Traditional Chinese
  • Vietnam Vietnamese
  • Laos Laotian, Hmong
  • Cambodia Khmer [17]
  • Myanmar Burmese
  • Thailand Thai [18]
  • Malaysia Malay
  • Singapore Chinese, English UK
  • Bangladesh Bangla Bengali
  • India Bengali, Devanagari [19], Gujarati, Gurmukhi (Punjabi), Kannada , Malayalam, Oriya, Tamil, Telugu, UK English [20]
  • Sri Lanka Sinhala
  • Maldives Thaana
  • Pakistan Urdu modified Arabic [21], Sindhi, others
  • Afghanistan Dari modified Arabic [22], Pashto modified Arabic [23], Hazaragi, Aimaq
  • Iran Persian/Farsi modified Arabic, Kurdish Arabic, Cyrillic, Latin
  • Azerbaijan Azeri modified Arabic
  • Armenia Armenian [24]
  • Georgia Georgian
  • Israel Hebrew, Yiddish, Arabic
  • Tajikistan Tajik Cyrillic, Latin
  • Uzbekistan Northern Uzbek Cyrillic, Latin; Arabic [25], Sogdian, Roman, and Cyrillic scripts in China
  • Kyrgyzstan Kyrgyz Cyrillic, Latin
  • Kazakhstan Kazakh Cyrillic, Latin [26]
  • Turkmenistan Turkmen Cyrillic, Latin
  • Nepal Nepali [27]
  • Bhutan Dzongkha
  • Tibet Tibetan


Trials are planned for more than 20 countries. There are a variety of English and French creoles.

See OLPC_Oceania/Languages

Australia and New Zealand

  • English
  • Maori has its own keyboard.
  • Australian Aboriginal languages