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Example - Replacing AltGR with KANA

Installer package: KbdEditInstallerGermanKana.exe

Layout file: German KANA.zip

You can use the installer package to deploy this keyboard layout without any restrictions. Free Demo version can be used to make changes and test them. To deploy a modified version, a Premium, Personal or Lite edition is needed.

As explained in Modifiers, AltGr is merely a shorthand for Ctrl+Alt. This can have unfortunate consequences in applications that use command shortcuts involving Ctrl and/or Alt: the shortcuts can clash with AltGr mappings and, depending on how the application is written, render them useless.

In addition, many applications define global hotkeys that might also involve Ctrl/Alt, and thus collide with AltGr (some examples: ATI Catalyst drivers, ICQ, Winamp agent etc).

KbdEdit provides a simple solution to this problem: AltGr can be replaced with one of the less known modifiers, namely Kana (in its "non-togglable" variant), Roya or Loya. These modifiers are so obscure that most popular applications (still) don't know how to hijack them.

This example demonstrates the use of Kana, but the same principles apply to Roya/Loya.

The layout file German KANA.zip contains a modified standard German keyboard, which is functionally identical to the original, but uses KANA instead of AltGR. The same method can be used for any keyboard that uses AltGr.

Scroll below the screenshots for a step-by-step guide.

KbdEdit example replacing AltGR with KANA enabling KANA modifier VK_OEM_8
Enabling non-togglable KANA modifier key (VK_OEM_8)
KbdEdit example replacing AltGR with KANA assigning VK_OEM_8 as the KANA virtual code
Assigning "VK_OEM_8" to the "Right Alt" key
KbdEdit example replacing AltGR with KANA Enabling KANA modifier combination
Enabling "KANA" modifier combination
(SHIFT+KANA should also be enabled if the original layout uses SHIFT+ALTGR)
KbdEdit example replacing AltGR with KANA moving characters from AltGR to KANA
Using drag-drop to move characters from AltGR to Kana
(in this case, characters { [ ] } \ @ ~ | should be moved)
KbdEdit example replacing AltGR with KANA disabling AltGR modifier combination
Disabling "ALTGR" modifier combination
KbdEdit example replacing AltGR with KANA
Final result - identical to the original except that KANA is used instead of ALTGR
  • Switch to the Low-level editor.
  • Click the "KANA" checkbox to activate the Kana modifier.
  • Choose "VK_OEM_8 (normal)" from the combo-box next to the "KANA" checkbox.
  • Assign VK_OEM_8 virtual key code to the "Right Alt" key (scan code 0x38 ext, originally assigned VK_RMENU).
    (note: if you were using the ROYA modifier instead of KANA, virtual key VK_OEM_FJ_ROYA would have to be used instead of VK_OEM_8; likewise, VK_OEM_FJ_LOYA for the LOYA modifier).
  • Activate the KANA modifier combination: move "KANA" from the list of "Unused modifier combinations" to "Active modifier combinations".
  • If your keyboard uses the AltGr+Shift combination, repeat the previous step for SHIFT + KANA.
  • Switch to the High-level editor.
  • For each key that has a character mapped to AltGr, move that character to the Kana position of the same key (e.g. for German keyboard characters { [ ] } \ @ ~ | should be moved from AltGr to Kana position of their respective keys).
  • Repeat the same for the AltGr+Shift position, if used.
  • Switch back to the the Low-level editor.
  • Disable the ALTGR combination, i.e. move it to the "Unused modifier combinations" list. Also disable SHIFT + ALTGR if enabled.

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