Ligatures and Ligature editor
Feature available in Premium, Personal and
Lite editions (not available in
A ligature is a sequence of characters generated with a
single keystroke. In the High Level editor, ligature mappings are denoted by being
drawn in red.
The main reason ligatures exist is the support for some far-
and mid-eastern languages (e.g. Arab, Farsi). These languages have their own
alphabets in which visual appearance of some characters, when part of certain
well-defined sequences, is significantly different than when the characters
appear alone or in an “ordinary” sequence. These sequences, even though
technically consisting of multiple Unicode code points, often need to be treated
as one virtual “character” that can be produced with a single keystroke.
KbdEdit extends the original idea by allowing creation of
custom ligatures for any language and alphabet. With ligature assigned to a key,
one keystroke can produce entire words, which can bring significant increases in
typing speed depending on the nature of the text being entered.
Even though ligatures can be created in the High level view
by dropping a text string onto an editable key, the principal tool for their
creation is the Ligature editor, which offers a much higher degree of control
over ligature contents.
To launch the Ligature Editor, open the Key Mapping Editor
mini dialog first. If the mapping is set to “Ligature”, the “Ligature editor”
dialog is opened by clicking a small button marked with “…”.
Here is a brief description of this dialog’s components and
how they work together:
- The static text at the top describes the key combination
(virtual key + modifier) to which the edited ligature is assigned (e.g. “SHIFT
- Spin-edit box “characters in ligated sequence” is used
to define the ligature’s length. In current version, the length is limited to
- The “Preview” field displays how the ligature will look
when drawn as a sequence. As already explained, for certain special characters
in eastern languages the appearance of a ligature is not simply a sum of its
constituent characters (though for most alphabets this usually is the case).
- Below the preview is a list of editable fields
representing individual ligature characters. The characters can be edited
either by manually typing their 4 hex-digit Unicode code point (the hard way),
or through drag-drop from the Unicode palette.
- Similarly to editable keys/fields from the High level
view, ligature fields can also accept text dragged from other applications,
and can also serve as drag sources. When dragging from one field to another,
holding down CTRL key results in “Copy” instead of the standard “Move”
- Checkbox “Right to Left reading order” is useful when
defining ligatures for right-to-left languages like Arab. Checking it will
reverse the order of editable fields. This makes them consistent with the
appearance of Preview pane, which is automatically drawn from right to left by
Windows if the ligated characters belong to a “right-to-left” language.
- Unicode palette at the bottom and
Character magnifier on
the right are exactly the same as those from the “High level” and “Dead char
Back to High-level editor