ייִדישע
קלאַוויאַטור

.אַ ייִדישער קלאַוויאַטור-צעשטעל
.“אומזיסט (בײַשטײַערן אָנגענומען) און „אָפּען-סאָרס

A Yiddish keyboard layout? for
Windows, OSX and GNU/Linux.
Free (donations welcomed) and open source.

Yiddish qwerty layout (Windows, OSX, GNU/Linux):

Windows users also get a Yiddishised Israeli Hebrew keyboard.
GNU/Linux users also get a Yiddishised Israeli Hebrew keyboard and a Yiddishised Israeli phonetic keyboard.

Windows Installation Instructions

github

Minimum requirements: Windows XP. I've had reports that it does not work on Windows 8 and up :( Let me know how you get on.

As with most software, installation of this keyboard is done entirely at your own risk. No liability is accepted on behalf of the software's author.
  1. Download the Windows Yiddish keyboards .zip file. Unzip it to a destination of your choice.
  2. Enter the directory of whichever layout you would like to install - one based on the qwerty keyboard layout ('yiddish-qwerty-layout'), or one based on the Israeli Hebrew layout ('yiddish-israeli-layout'). You can, of course, install both.
  3. Double click setup.exe. Accept any security warnings and you should shortly see an installation complete message.
  4. In your taskbar (i.e. in the bar at the bottom of your screen), or floating in a bar of its own, you should see a clickable acronym of your current operating language. English users will see EN. Click this, then in the menu that appears click HE Hebrew (Israel). If a keyboard icon does not appear next to HE then you are now running the Yiddish keyboard. Ignore the sumbsuption of Yiddish under a nation state. That's a Microsoft thing...
    • If a keyboard icon does appear then click on it and select Yiddish QWERTY. You can make Yiddish the default Hebrew layout by clicking Show the Language bar (if your language bar is embeded in the taskbar) then pressing the small downwards-pointing triangle and hitting Settings.... Click Yiddish QWERTY then Move Up until it is the top Hebrew language.

If you cannot find the menus referred to above:

  1. Click your start button, then select your control panel.
  2. Select Change keyboards or other input methods (Vista) or Region and Language (Windows 7). Make sure you are on the Keyboards and Languages tab and click Change Keyboards....
  3. In the Language Bar tab make sure the option to keep the Language Bar Docked in the taskbar is selected. You should now see the icon in your dashboard.

That's it! Try it out. Note that Windows automatically changes to your default language when you move to another window. Click HE Hebrew | Yiddish QWERTY again if that happens.

Windows users from Vista onwards can see an on-screen keyboard by following these instructions.

Mac OSX Installation Instructions

github

Minimum requirements: OSX 10.3.

As with most software, installation of this keyboard is done entirely at your own risk. No liability is accepted on behalf of the software's author.
  1. Download the Mac Yiddish keyboard .dmg file. Double click on it.
  2. Drag and drop the file with the Alef icon into the "Keyboard Layouts" folder. A dialogue will appear, click Authenticate, then input your system administrator password when prompted. This will install the Yiddish keyboard for all users of your computer.
  3. On the left of the menu bar (i.e. in the top-left of your screen) click the apple icon, then System Preferences, then Language & Text".
  4. Choose the Input Sources tab and scroll to the bottom of the input source list where you should now see Yiddish - QWERTY. Check the adjacent box. Also make sure the box for Show Input menu in menu bar is also checked.
  5. In your menu bar, click the flag icon to reveal your input sources, now click the Yiddish - QWERTY option.

That's it! Try it out. Go write someone an email or send a tweet.

In order to switch languages in the future just follow step 5; you won't need to repeat steps 1-4 again.

If you would like to view the layout of the keyboard, click the flag/alef icon in the menu bar and select Show Keyboard Viewer.

GNU/Linux Installation Instructions

github As with most software, installation of this keyboard is done entirely at your own risk. No liability is accepted on behalf of the software's author.
  1. RECOMENDED: Back up your /usr/share/X11/xkb directory, just in case you experience any problems after installation: $ sudo cp /usr/share/X11/xkb ~/
  2. Download the GNU/Linux Yiddish keyboard .tgz archive.
  3. Untar the .tgz archive, either by double clicking on it and extracting its contents, or by issuing in your terminal the command:
    $ tar -xzvf linux-yiddish-keyboard.tgz
  4. From within the untarred yiddish keyboard folder, run install.sh, either by double clicking on it or by the command, and enter your admin password when prompted:
    $ ./install.sh
    If this fails to execute, make sure the correct permissions are set before trying again:
    $ chmod 755 install.sh
  5. Open your keyboard layout dialogue. It might be in Preferences > Keyboard > Keyboard layouts.
  6. Add a new layout (+) > search for Yiddish > choose from either a qwerty-based layout or an Israeli-Hebrew-based layout (or go for both, if you're feeling adventurous).
  7. Toggle between your keyboard layouts in the taskbar.

Note this installation flow has only been tested on Ubuntu-based distributions of GNU/Linux. If it fails in yours please let me know.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a keyboard layout?

A keyboard layout is what tells your computer to print a certain letter onscreen when a certain keyboard key is pressed.

You'll be used to how pressing the F button prints the letter f, O prints o, shift+f prints F, and so on. With the qwerty verison of this keyboard layout, pressing F will print פֿ, O will print אָ, shift+F prints ף.

Windows and GNU/Linux users can also employ Israeli-Hebrew based layouts, which include all Yiddish keys.

Why wouldn't I just use an Ivrit layout?

For many people writing Yiddish with an Ivrit keyboard is a frustrating experience, for example akin to – if not worse than – writing French on an American QWERTY keyboard. A language might employ the same script as another, but it might also utlize and prioritize different letters. Yiddish, in relation to Ivrit, not only does this but it employs different standards for marking vowels and punctuation. This keyboard layout is specifically designed for typing in Yiddish.

Note that the GNU/Linux version of this keyboard layout includes a Yiddishised Israeli-Hebrew layout, alongside the qwerty layout.

I have some software which already lets me write in Yiddish

That's great, but this probably is not the same thing. Instead of letting you write Yiddish in just one programme or website, this keyboard layout integrates with your operating system so that you can write Yiddish in all modern UTF-8 compatable programmes or websites.

I'm using a programme or website which doesn't display the Yiddish from this keyboard properly

Let me know, I'll start building up a compatibility table. Applications have to support UTF-8 character encoding, which some sites and programmes (especially older ones), might not. Also, they have to support right-to-left (RTL) languages.

To enable RTL in LibreOffice or OpenOffice, press ctrl+shift+d.

To enable RTL in Microsoft Word, see this guide.

To enable RTL in html, include dir="rtl" in your html tags. Eg:
‹p dir="rtl"›כ׳האָב ליב מאָלי פּיקאָן‹/p› does

כ׳האָב ליב מאָלי פּיקאָן

Don't worry if the Yiddish looks backwards in your html editor, good browsers will correct things.

Does this work on mobile devices

No, I'm afraid I don't have time to look into that myself.

What licence are these maps covered by?

GNU General Public Licence 3, which means:
the freedom to use the software for any purpose,
the freedom to change the software to suit your needs,
the freedom to share the software with your friends and neighbors, and
the freedom to share the changes you make.

Full details here.

Is this really free? What's the catch?

Yes, totally free, no catch. I want to see Yiddish culture develop and I think that making the ability to type easily in it free removes one more barrier to that end.

That said, a lot of hours have gone in to this so donations would be very appreciated. What is the ability to type in Yiddish on any application worth to you, and how much can you afford?

I'm having problems, where can I get help?

Find me on twitter: @dnemenyi.

Who's behind shretl.org?

כ׳הײס דניאל און איך וווין אין לאָנדאָן, ענגלאַנד.
שיק מיר אַ טוויט!