AltGr key

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

 
Jump to: navigation, search
The AltGr key typically takes the place of the right-hand Alt key.
A keyboard with additional engravings showing third-level and fourth-level characters included in the US-International keyboard layout. (Note: The AltGr key, located immediately right of the Space bar, does not appear in this photo.)

AltGr (also Alt Graph, Alt Graphic, Alt Graphics, Alt Grill, Alt Car, Alt Char, or Right Alt[1]) is a modifier key found on many computer keyboards and is primarily used to type characters that are unusual for the locale of the keyboard layout, such as currency symbols and accented letters. On a typical IBM compatible PC keyboard, the AltGr key, when present, takes the place of the right-hand Alt key. In OS X, the Option key has functions similar to the AltGr key.

AltGr is used similarly to the Shift key: it is held down when another key is struck in order to obtain a character other than the one that the latter normally produces. AltGr and Shift can also sometimes be combined to obtain yet another character. For example, on the US-International keyboard layout, the C key can be used to insert four different characters:

Meaning[edit]

Sun Microsystems keyboard, which labels the key as Alt Graph.

The meaning of the key's abbreviation is not explicitly given in many IBM PC compatible technical reference manuals.[citation needed] However, IBM states that AltGr is an abbreviation for alternate graphic,[2][3] and Sun keyboards label the key as Alt Graph.

Apparently, AltGr was originally introduced as a means to produce box-drawing characters, also known as pseudographics, in text user interfaces.[4] These characters are, however, much less useful in graphical user interfaces, and rather than alternate graphic the key is today used to produce alternate graphemes.

Control + Alt as a substitute[edit]

Originally, US PC keyboards (specifically, the US 101-key PC/AT keyboards) did not have an AltGr key, since that was relevant to only non-US markets; they simply had "left" and "right" Alt keys.

The right Alt key is usually an equivalent of the AltGr key, as both of them share the same scancode and are indistinguishable by software. However, on some keyboards it may not be the case, or (most often on laptop keyboards) the right Alt key may be missing altogether. To allow the specific functionality of AltGr when typing non-English text on such keyboards, Windows began to allow it to be emulated by pressing the Alt key together with the Control key:

^ Ctrl+ Alt ≈ AltGr

Therefore, it is recommended that this combination not be used as a modifier in Windows keyboard shortcuts as, depending on the keyboard layout and configuration, someone trying to type a special character with it may accidentally trigger the shortcut,[5] or the keypresses for the shortcut may be inadvertently interpreted as the user trying to input a special character.

Function[edit]

International keyboard layouts[edit]

US international[edit]

US international keyboard layout

On US international keyboard layouts, the AltGr key can be used to enter the following characters:

 ¡ ² ³ ¤ € ¼ ½ ¾ ‘ ’ ¥ ×  ä å é ® þ ü ú í ó ö « »   á ß ð           ø ¶ ´ ¬    æ   ©     ñ µ ç   ¿ 

and, in combination with the Shift key:

 ¹     £               ÷  Ä Å É   Þ Ü Ú Í Ó Ö   Á § Ð           Ø ° ¨ ¦    Æ   ¢     Ñ   Ç 

Note that a lot of these symbols can also be entered using dead keys.

For comparison, the US international keyboard layout follows. Note that the "`/~" key has been omitted; it does not react to the AltGr key.

 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 - =  Q W E R T Y U I O P [ ]   A S D F G H J K L ; ' \  m Z X C V B N M, . / 

Here "m" denotes the "Macro" key. It generally produces a "\", although applications receive a different keycode and can therefore instead use the key to, for example, run macros.

UK & Ireland[edit]

United Kingdom keyboard layout
  • AltGr+Aá and Á
  • AltGr+Eé and É
  • AltGr+Ií and Í
  • AltGr+Oó and Ó
  • AltGr+Uú and Ú
  • AltGr+4
  • AltGr+`/¬¦

In UK & Ireland keyboard layouts, the only two symbols printed on most keyboards which require the AltGr key are:

The two latter symbols interchange places in UK keyboards according to the operating system in use. In OS/2, the "UK keyboard layout" (specifically: the UK166 layout) requires AltGr for the vertical bar and the broken vertical bar is a shifted key—which, coincidentally, matches the actual symbols that are printed on most[citation needed] UK keyboards; in Windows, the "UK keyboard layout" requires AltGr for the broken vertical bar and the vertical bar is a shifted key—the reverse of what is usually printed on the keys; and in Linux, the "UK keyboard layout" produces the unbroken vertical bar with both AltGr plus "`/¬" and shifted \, and produces the broken vertical bar with AltGr plus shifted \.

Using the AltGr key on Linux produces many foreign characters and international symbols, e.g. ¹²³€½¾{[]}@łe¶ŧ←↓→øþæßðđŋħjĸł«»¢“”nµΩŁE®Ŧ¥↑ıØÞƧЪŊĦJ&Ł<>©‘’Nº×÷·

Using the AltGr key on UK & Irish keyboards in some versions of Windows (for example XP) in combination with vowel characters produces acute accents also known as "fadas" in the Irish language over the vowels (for example, á,é,í,ó,ú and Á,É,Í,Ó,Ú).

The UK-Extended keyboard available in versions of Microsoft Windows from XP with SP2, and Linux allows many characters with diacritical marks, including accents, to be generated by using the AltGr key in combination with others. Details are to be found in the article on QWERTY.

South Slavic Latin[edit]

On South Slavic Latin keyboards (used in Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia), the following letters and special characters are created using AltGr:

  • AltGr+Q\
  • AltGr+W|
  • AltGr+E
  • AltGr+Š÷
  • AltGr+Đ×
  • AltGr+F[
  • AltGr+G]
  • AltGr+Kł
  • AltGr+LŁ
  • AltGr+Ćß
  • AltGr+Ž¤
  • AltGr+V@
  • AltGr+B{
  • AltGr+N}
  • AltGr+M§
  • AltGr+,<
  • AltGr+.>
  • AltGr+1~
  • AltGr+2ˇ
  • AltGr+3^
  • AltGr+4˘
  • AltGr+5°
  • AltGr+6˛
  • AltGr+7`
  • AltGr+8˙
  • AltGr+9´
  • AltGr+0˝
  • AltGr+'¨
  • AltGr++¸
Slovenian/Croatian/Serbian (Latin) keyboard layout

Belgian[edit]

On Belgian keyboards, AltGr enables the user to type the following characters (the first or only one shown is without Shift; when two characters are mentioned, the second one is with Shift). Those shown in bold are printed on the keys, and common to all systems; the others may be more variable, or specific to Unix-like systems. For travellers who want to use hotel PCs or internet shops in Belgium, it is important to know that @ in email addresses is generated by a combination of AltGr + é (unshifted 2).

Brazilian[edit]

 '  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  0  -  =  q  w  e  r  t  y  u  i  o  p  ´  [   a  s  d  f  g  h  j  k  l  ç  ~  ] \  z  x  c  v  b  n  m  ,  .  ;  / 

The keymap with the AltGr key:

    ¹  ²  ³  £  ¢  ¬                 §  /  ?  °                          ª                                    º          ₢                       ° 

Some notes:

Finnish multilingual[edit]

The Finnish multilingual keyboard standard adds many new characters to the traditional layout via the AltGr key, as shown in the image below (the blue characters can be written with the AltGr key; several dead key diacritics, shown in red, are also available as an AltGr combination).[7][8]

Finnish multilingual keyboard layout

French[edit]

On AZERTY keyboards, AltGr enables the user to type the following characters:

  • AltGr+E →
  • AltGr+£ → ¤
  • AltGr+2 → ~
  • AltGr+3 → #
  • AltGr+4 → {
  • AltGr+5 → [
  • AltGr+6 → |
  • AltGr+7 → ` (a dead key: AltGr+7 then O → ò)
  • AltGr+8 → \
  • AltGr+9 → ^ (generally not dead: AltGr+9 then O → ^o, not ô)
  • AltGr+0 → @
  • AltGr+° → ]
  • AltGr++ → }

German[edit]

On German keyboards, AltGr enables the user to type the following characters, which are indicated on the keyboard:

  • AltGr+2 → ²
  • AltGr+3 → ³
  • AltGr+7 → {
  • AltGr+8 → [
  • AltGr+9 → ]
  • AltGr+0 → }
  • AltGr+ß → \
  • AltGr++ → ~
  • AltGr+Q → @
  • AltGr+E →
  • AltGr+> → |
  • AltGr+M → µ

Hebrew[edit]

On Hebrew keyboards, AltGr enables the user to type the following characters:

  • AltGr+4 →
  • AltGr+ק →
Yiddish[edit]

Utilizing a Hebrew keyboard, one may write in Yiddish as the two languages share many letters. However, Yiddish has some additional digraphs and a symbol not otherwise found in Hebrew which are entered via AltGr.

  • AltGr+- → פֿ
  • AltGr+י‎ → ײ
  • AltGr+ח‎ → ױ
  • AltGr+ו‎ → װ

Indian[edit]

Italian[edit]

On Italian keyboards, AltGr enables the user to type the following characters:

  • AltGr+E →
  • AltGr+5 →
  • AltGr+ò → @
  • AltGr+à → #
  • AltGr+è → [
  • AltGr++ → ]
  • AltGr+ Shift+è → {
  • AltGr+ Shift++ → }

There is an alternate layout, which differ just in disposition of characters accessible through AltGr and includes the tilde and the curly brackets.

Latvian[edit]

Having Latvian set as the system language, the following letters can be input using Alt Gr.

Lowercase letters[edit]
  • AltGr+A → ā
  • AltGr+C → č
  • AltGr+E → ē
  • AltGr+G → ģ
  • AltGr+I → ī
  • AltGr+K → ķ
  • AltGr+L → ļ
  • AltGr+N → ņ
  • AltGr+S → š
  • AltGr+U → ū
  • AltGr+Z → ž
Uppercase letters[edit]
  • AltGr+ Shift+A → Ā
  • AltGr+ Shift+C → Č
  • AltGr+ Shift+E → Ē
  • AltGr+ Shift+G → Ģ
  • AltGr+ Shift+I → Ī
  • AltGr+ Shift+K → Ķ
  • AltGr+ Shift+L → Ļ
  • AltGr+ Shift+N → Ņ
  • AltGr+ Shift+S → Š
  • AltGr+ Shift+U → Ū
  • AltGr+ Shift+Z → Ž

Macedonian[edit]

On Macedonian keyboards, AltGr enables the user to type the following characters:

  • AltGr+е →
  • AltGr+ш → Ђ
  • AltGr+ѓ → ђ
  • AltGr+ф → [
  • AltGr+г → ]
  • AltGr+ч → Ћ
  • AltGr+ќ → ћ
  • AltGr+в → @
  • AltGr+б → {
  • AltGr+н → }
  • AltGr+м → §

Nordic and Estonian[edit]

The keyboard layouts in the Nordic countries Denmark (DK), Faroe Islands (FO), Finland (FI), Norway (NO) and Sweden (SE) as well as in Estonia (EE) are largely similar to each other. Generally the AltGr key can be used to create the following characters:

  • AltGr+2@
  • AltGr+3£
  • AltGr+4$
  • AltGr+E
  • AltGr+Mµ
  • AltGr+7{
  • AltGr+8[
  • AltGr+9]
  • AltGr+0}
  • AltGr+¨~ (excluding EE)

Other AltGr combinations are peculiar to just some of the countries:

  • AltGr++\ (EE, FI, SE)
  • AltGr+<| (EE, FI, SE)
  • AltGr+<\ (DK, FO)
  • AltGr+´| (DK, FO)
  • AltGr+\´ (NO)
  • AltGr+ð~ (FO)
  • AltGr+å¨ (FO)
  • AltGr+ø^ (FO)
  • AltGr+5 (NO, DK, FO, SE, sometimes FI)
  • AltGr+Sš (EE, sometimes FI)
  • AltGr+Zž (EE, sometimes FI)
  • AltGr+Õ§ (EE)
  • AltGr+'½ (EE)

Polish[edit]

Typewriters in Poland used a QWERTZ layout specifically designed for the Polish language with accented characters obtainable directly. When personal computers became available worldwide in the 1980s, commercial importing into Poland was not supported by its communist government, so most machines in Poland were brought in by private individuals. Most had US keyboards, and various methods were devised to make special Polish characters available. An established method was to use AltGr in combination with the relevant Latin base letter to obtain a precomposed character with a diacritic; note the exceptional combination using x instead of the base letter z, as the letter has been reserved for another combination:

At the time of the political transformation and opening of commercial import channels this practice was so widespread that it was adopted as the standard. Nowadays most PCs in Poland have standard US keyboards and use the AltGr method to enter Polish diacritics. This layout is referred to as Polish programmers' layout (klawiatura polska programisty) or simply Polish layout.

Another layout is still used on typewriters, mostly by professional typists. Computer keyboards with this layout are available, though difficult to find, and supported by a number of operating systems; they are known as Polish typists' layout (klawiatura polska maszynistki). Older Polish versions of Microsoft Windows used this layout, describing it as Polish layout. On current versions it is referred to as Polish (214).

Romanian[edit]

The keymap with the AltGr key:

  â  ß  €  r  ț  y  u  î  o  §  „  ”   ă  ș  đ  f  g  h  j  k  ł  ;     z  x  ©  v  b  n  m  «  » 

Turkish[edit]

In Turkish keyboard variants the AltGr can be used to display the following characters:

X Window System[edit]

In the X Window System (GNU/Linux, BSD, Unix), AltGr can often be used to produce additional characters with almost every key on the keyboard. For example, the Danish keymap features the following key combinations:

The Italian keymap includes, among other combinations, the following:

  • AltGr+H → ħ
  • AltGr+ì → ~
  • AltGr+' → `
  • AltGr+; → ×

With some keys, AltGr produces a dead key; for example on a UK keyboard, semicolon can be used to add an acute accent to a base letter, and left square bracket can be used to add a trema:

This use of dead keys enables one to type a wide variety of precomposed characters that combine various diacritics with either uppercase or lowercase letters, achieving a similar effect to the Compose key.

Swedish keymap[edit]

The Swedish X Window keymap with its AltGr combinations

In this diagram over the Swedish X Window keymap, the grey symbols are the standard characters, yellow is with shift, red is with AltGr, and blue is with Shift+AltGr.

Danish keymap[edit]

  q  w  e  r  t  y  u  i  o  p  å  ¨   a  s  d  f  g  h  j  k  l  æ  ø  ' <  z  x  c  v  b  n  m  ,  .  - 

The keymap with the Alt Gr key:

  @  ł  €  ®  þ  ←  ↓  →  œ  þ  "  ~   ª  ß  ð  đ  ŋ  ħ  j  ĸ  ł  '  ^  ˝ \  «  »  ©  “  ”  n  µ  ¸  · 

The keymap with Alt Gr+Shift:

  Ω  Ł  ¢  ®  Þ  ¥  ↑  ı  Œ  Þ  ˚  ˇ   º  §  Ð  ª  Ŋ  Ħ  J  &  Ł  ˝  ˇ  × ¬  <  >  ©  `  '  N  º  ˛  ˙  ˙ 

Brazilian ABNT2 keymap[edit]

 '  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  0  -  =  q  w  e  r  t  y  u  i  o  p  á  [   a  s  d  f  g  h  j  k  l  ç  ã  ] \  z  x  c  v  b  n  m  ,  .  ;  / 

The keymap with the AltGr key:

 ¬  ¹  ²  ³  £  ¢  ¬  {  [  ]  }  \  §  /  ?  €  ®  ŧ  ←  ↓  →  ø  þ  ´  ª   æ  ß  ð  đ  ŋ  ħ     ĸ  ł  á  ~  º º  «  »  ©  “  ”     µ  ─  ·  ạ  ° 

The keymap with AltGr + Shift:

 ¬  ¡  ½  ¾  ¼  ⅜  ¨  ⅞  ™  ±  °  ¿  ą  /  ?  €  ®  Ŧ  ¥  ↑  ı  Ø  Þ  `  ā   Æ  §  Ð  ª  Ŋ  Ħ     &  Ł  ő  ^  º ă  <  >  ©  `  '     µ  ×  ÷  ȧ  ¿ 

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Microsoft Support. "The Right ALT Key and the US-International Keyboard Layout". Microsoft. Retrieved 22 February 2013. 
  2. ^ Keyboard Technical Reference – Key to Abbreviations Used in the Keyboard Translate Tables
  3. ^ IBM Introduction to Keyboards: Globalize Your Business: Alternate graphic
  4. ^ Michael S. Kaplan: "To start press the ALTGR key." Hmm... where's the ALTGR key?. 28 Dec 2004.
  5. ^ The Old New Thing: Why Ctrl+Alt shouldn't be used as a shortcut modifier. 29 Mar 2004.
  6. ^ Raymond, Chen. "Why Ctrl+Alt shouldn't be used as a shortcut modifier". 
  7. ^ SFS 5966 Keyboard layout. Finnish-Swedish multilingual keyboard setting. Finnish Standards Association SFS. 3 Nov 2008.
  8. ^ Kotoistus: Uusi näppäinasettelu = Status of the new Keyboard Layout. A bi-lingual (Finnish + English) presentation page collecting drafts of the Finnish Multilingual Keyboard. CSC – IT Center for Science Ltd. Page updated 28 Dec 2006.