Swedish letters on ANSI keyboards

As somewhat of a "keyboard enthusiast", I am occasionally forced to use a keyboard with an ANSI layout, which is clearly inferior to the ISO layout:

  1. It is missing a whole key:
  2. One key is located all the way to the right, further away than any other key, making it very hard to press:

Furthermore, the ANSI (US) layout is missing the Swedish letters å, ä and ö. On this page, I collect various ways of solving these problems:

  1. Adding å, ä and ö to the US layout
  2. Modifying the Swedish layout
  3. Other methods

As an extra note, if you're not familiar with the Swedish/Finnish layout, here is a picture. Note the extra key next to the left Shift key, as well as the key placement around the Return key:

Keyboard with Swedish/Finnish layout.


Adding å, ä and ö to the US layout

The most obvious approach is to start with the US layout and add the necessary Swedish letters to it.

The best approach, in my opinion, is to put these letters on the [{, ]} and \| keys, relegating the original characters to a layer accessed by holding Right Alt. This can be done using the following AutoHotkey code:

SC01A::å
SC01B::ä
SC02B::ö
+SC01A::Å
+SC01B::Ä
+SC02B::Ö
>!SC01A::SendInput, [
>!SC01B::SendInput, ]
>!SC02B::SendInput, \
>!+SC01A::SendInput, {{}
>!+SC01B::SendInput, {}}
>!+SC02B::SendInput, |

This method has two drawbacks:

On the other hand, å, ä and ö have not always been located at those positions. On typewriters, it is common to see them in a straight line to the right of the m key, where the comma, period and hyphen are located on the modern Swedish layout.

Furthermore, there are several great benefits of the above approach:

To me, the correspondence between the key cap legend and the typed character is very important, even though I touch type. For that reason, this method is my favorite.


Modifying the Swedish layout

Another approach is to use the Swedish/Finnish layout in the operating system, with a couple of modifications. The following AutoHotkey code represents a couple of such modifications:

§::<
½::>
<^>§::|
*<^>1::SendInput, §
*<^>!::SendInput, ½
¨::'
^::*
'::¨
<^>*::~

Here is a summary of the changes:

  1. The §½ key, which I very rarely use, is remapped in order to replace the lost <>| key. The original characters are available via AltGr on the adjacent 1! key. Unfortunately, the §½ key is not very close to the <>| key, but at least it is still on the same side of the keyboard.
  2. The ¨^~ and '* keys are swapped. I use the '* key very often, and it is extremely annoying to have it all the way to the right.

This approach has a couple of advantages:

However, it also has a significant disadvantage:


Other methods

Last updated on 21 Dec 2020.


© 2020 John Ankarström. Up