How to change keyboard layout
Keyboard manufacturers usually have their keyboard to be US standard layout. Since different countries or regions have different layouts, manufacturers need to change its layout when customers order keyboard for their local markets. How to change a keyboard layout?
The US layout is QWERTY, which is one of the most common layouts in the world. The other three layouts are QWERTZ, AZERTY and QZERTY.
Changing layout within QWERTY
QWERTY layout is by far the most widespread layout in use, and the only one that is not confined to a particular geographical area.
While changing one layout into another layout within QWERTY, two things may need to be dealt with. One is characters and symbols reprinting, the other is keycaps rearranging.
For example, the US keyboard and Arabic keyboard is both QWERTY. The arrangement of keycaps is totally the same for them both. That is to say, users can type Arabic characters in a US keyboard if their computer has set Arabic language inputting. All that different is the characters on keycaps. To do this is simple: extra Arabic characters can be printed in the relative keycap. That is why some customers would like to have Arabic and English dual language layouts in one keyboard.
Two keyboards in QWERTY may need to have keycap rearranged. For instance, UK keyboard is QWERTY layout, but has one more key than that of US. While arranging the layout, size of some keycaps has to be revised. “Shift” and “Enter” keys needs to be changed in order to customize a US keyboard into a UK keyboard. Left Shift key in UK keyboard is usually smaller, since there is a key between Shift and Z. The Shift key has taken twice of space than other keys in US keyboard, but in UK keyboard, it may only take the same space as other keys. Opening the keycap, you will see there are two slots set for Shift key in US keyboard. That makes it flexible to change into UK layout. Because of this, a full size keyboard is more like to get its layout changed than a compact size keyboard. Since for most of compact keyboards, the size of Shift and Enter keycaps is smaller than those of full size ones. That means a compact keyboard is less likely to change into other layouts.
As mentioned above, full size keyboard is easier to change its layout, but not all of them can be changed. There should be enough space for a certain keyboard model to hold the keycaps demanded for another layout. If not, it may not be achieved. The model otherwise has to be remolded before layout got changed.
Keycap reprinting and rearranging can be applied if changing QWERTY into QWERTZ, AZERTY or QZERTY.
From QWERTY into QWERTZ
The QWERTZ layout is widely used in Germany and much of Central Europe. The main difference between it and QWERTY is that Y and Z are swapped, and most special characters such as brackets are replaced by diacritical characters.
From QWERTY to AZERTY
The AZERTY layout is used in France, Belgium and some African countries. It differs from the QWERTY layout thus:
A and Q are swapped,
Z and W are swapped,
M is moved to the right of L
From QWERTY to QZERTY
The QZERTY layout is used mostly, if not exclusively, in Italy. Compared to QWERTY, a QZERTY keyboard has the following modifications:
Z and W are swapped
M is moved from the right of N to the right of L, as in AZERTY
In conclusion, keyboard layout changing means characters reprinting and keycaps rearranging. Not all keyboard models can be made into any other layout. Keycap number and space should be taken into consideration.