Posts Tagged ‘Japanese input’

Swiss German Keyboard Layout for Japanese IME on Windows 7

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

In Windows 7, there seems to be a bug regarding the keyboard layout in Japanese IME (probably not the only bug in Windows 7, but hey…). The issue apparently didn’t exist in Vista but affects Windows 7 users who use Microsoft IME to input Japanese on non-Japanese Windows 7 pcs.

After adding Japanese input via Control Panel -> Region and Language -> Tab “Keyboards and Languages” -> “Change keyboards…” -> Tab “General”, Japanese input uses an US layout keyboard whenever you input something in Japanese.

Basically, this is not a problem for users with a physical US keyboard layout but there are some people with a non-US keyboard layout. E.g. mine is Swiss German and I even though I can use an US layout on a physical Swiss German keyboard without problems, others might not be so lucky.

So, how do you change this keyboard layout setting? This article pointed me into the right direction but you can’t choose keyboard layouts anywhere in the IME settings. There are tons of settings but nothing to do with keyboards. In this case, you have change a registry key! Standard warnings on editing the registry apply, so be careful.

Start regedit and navigate to the following key:
Right-click “i8042prt” and select “Export”, save the key as i8042prt.reg on your desktop.
Open i8042prt\Parameters and select “LayerDriver JPN” in the right window pane. Double-click “LayerDriver JPN” and type the following value data: KBDSG.dll
Click OK, close regedit and restart your computer. At the next logon, you can input Japanese using Microsoft IME with a Swiss German keyboard layout.

For the curious: KBDSG.dll is located in C:\Windows\System32 – if you look at the properties, it says:
File description: Swiss German Keyboard layout.

I haven’t tested this but I imagine you actually use any kbd***.dll in System32 as value in “LayerDriver JPN” if you feel unhappy with the standard US layout.

HTHS, cheers!


Not all is gold that glitters. There’s a downside to the method described above. In Japanese texts, the standard brackets are “「” and “」” and guess what? As these characters don’t exist on a Swissgerman keyboard, you won’t be able to input them. Although they come with a Unicode code (U+300C and U+300D resp.), entering Unicode requires you to press Alt and the + key on the numerical pad (which you might not have if you’re working on a laptop). Even worse, as long as you only have to enter numerals, Unicode works but in most programs Alt+C or Alt+D will trigger some command or open a menu.

An easy workaround would be to copy these two characters to a simple text to have them at your disposal when required. But that’s not a very technical solution, isn’t it.

やった! IBus Input Method Preference finally working

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Ever since I started using my study needs pre-supposed that I was able to input English, Deutsch (German) and 日本語 (Japanese). Lately, 中文* (Chinese) has been added to this list as well.

Recently Ubuntu 10.10 (Codename “Moody Mastodon” – or was it  “Maverick Merkat”?) was released and since I usually test Beta releases, I went through the usual installation routine including additional software installations at the end.

At the moment, these installations include mnemosye, anki, vlc, audio cd extractor and torcs. Interestingly enough, GIMP seems to be back by default.

Lanugage customizations include adding German, Japanese and Simplified Chinese. After SCIM was deprecated, I switched to IBus as Input Method (either seems to work, so I don’t mind).

One thing that I never got to work so far was the combination for the next input method, which is Alt-Shift_L by default.

I suspect (but don’t have any conclusive evidence) this is due to this ominous Shift_L key. Is this supposed the left shift key?

Anyway, the following seems to work for me:

Configure the input method

1) Select the default Alt+Shift_L method
2) Get rid off it by clicking “Delete”
3) Click to add a new key combination
4) If your favourite modifier have not been added, check them (by the way, the “Windows” key or “Super” key as it’s called on Linux might work or not depending on your distro. Also: text the key combination before specifying it e.g. Ctrl+Alt+L will lock your screen which takes precedence over IBus key combinations.
5) Click on “Add” to have it added to the list
6) Close the window by clicking on OK.

Your screen should now look like below:

Screenshot-IBus Preferences

Screenshot-IBus Preferences

Start an application e.g. OpenOffice Writer or Gedit, kick off IBus by pressing Ctrl+Space and input cryptic writing at your heart’s desire.

IBus in Gedit

IBus in Gedit

I think this made my day 🙂

*Did you think it was 汉语? I think that refers more to the spoken language. Correct me if I’m wrong. Heck, even both might be correct.