Windows keyboard restrictions

Richard Wordingham richard.wordingham at
Fri Aug 7 13:54:15 CDT 2015

On Fri, 07 Aug 2015 09:26:56 -0700
"Doug Ewell" <doug at> wrote:

> Michael Kaplan, author of MSKLC, reports that not only is the limit on
> UTF-16 code points in a Windows keyboard ligature still 4, it is
> likely to remain 4 for the foreseeable future:

It's good to see he's still with us.

> "People who want input methods capable of handling more than four
> UTF-16 code points really need to look into IMEs (Input Method
> Editors) which are all now run through TSF (the Text Services
> Framework), a completely different system of input that allows such
> things, admittedly at the price of a lot of complexity."

What we're waiting for is a guide we can follow, or some code we can
ape.  Such should be, or should have been, available in a Tavultesoft
Keyman rip-off.

In the mean time, I notice Micha Kaplan's comment:

"even if there were, such a keyboard layout would not be compatible with
any prior version of Windows;"

I think that is exactly what Marcel Schneider encountered.  Note
further that Micha implied that he got the specification by reading a
header file, exactly the sort of documentation you disallowed.

The data structure (field cbLgEntry) allows for arbitrary lengths; its
precise semantics may have been established by experiment.  It is
possible that it may have been broken for arbitrary sizes and has now
been fixed.

> This should settle the matter.

MSKLC doesn't seem to be liked by Microsoft.  Quite possibly they would
like to get rid of the interface its keyboards generate.  Supporting
such user-defined keyboards may just be an overhead for them.  Any
comment from the Microsoft employees?


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