Input methods at the age of Unicode

Marcel Schneider charupdate at
Sat Jul 18 15:34:37 CDT 2015

On 18 Jul 2015, at 17:30, Eli Zaretskii  wrote:

> > Date: Sat, 18 Jul 2015 16:33:23 +0200 (CEST)
> > From: Marcel Schneider 

> > You might wish also to use the Windows on-screen keyboard which allows to see
> > what's exactly on each key while typing on whatever physical keyboard, without
> > any need to have the keycap labels match the layout. This on-screen keyboard is
> > built-in, only it does not support Kana shift states.
> That makes typing much more slow, unless you already know, at least
> approximately, where the keys are. you are talking to someone who is
> almost touch typist in English, but cannot remember for the life of me
> the Russian keyboard. Transliteration is the way to go in such cases,
> and it's strange that transliteration-based input methods are not
> readily available on Windows out of the box.

The Chinese IME new style is a very smart tool based on transliteration. You type just the syllables like they sound in English, and you get plenty of suggestions among which to choose. There is still the Chinese old style IME shipped with, too. I don't know Chinese so I can't tell more but visually I believe these tools are very performative. Perhaps for Russian no transliteration based input tool was built for Windows because we are meant to use the keyboard straightforward. Now, the osk.exe should probably include on each key picture the letter that is on the current physical keyboard. That is what I often missed on such UIs, that you cannot make the link with the base layout as the user knows it. I will say, too, that when the OS is in Russian, the OSK should display cyrillic letters following the Russian keyboard when the OSK displays a QWERTY keyboard layout. As you can have the OSK always above, you just look at it and see the keys you're striking.

There is also the old solution with a keymap on a paper. You can open the Russian layout in the MSKLC, choose a nice font, font-size, window size (to get square keys; don't let the default rectangles), nice background colors. Then save it as a picture, in the File menu > Save as image. Open this in Paint or Gimp and add the Latin letters. 

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