UK International Keyboard Layout

Last Update: 2010-11-23, version, added Linux version

  1. Overview
  2. Download and Installation (Windows)
  3. Download and Installation (Linux)
  4. Supported Characters
  5. Changelog
  6. Future Work?
  7. Feedback


One of the problems with US and UK versions of Windows is the assumption that just because our language doesn't use many accented characters, you'll never want to type them in (for example when writing down passages of foreign text, or place or people names.) Thus you pretty much get the character symbols displayed on your keyboard and nothing else.

(Under Windows 2000 at least, you can get acute accented vowels on the United Kingdom keyboard layout by typing AltGr+vowel, but that's it.)

To enter most accented characters you can either start the Character Map application (Start->Programs->Accessories->System Tools->Character Map), then copy and paste what you need, but that's a little long winded for regular entering of individual characters!

You can also learn the character codes for the characters you need and use the Alt+NNN method (for example À can be entered by holding down Alt and typing 0192.) These are hard to remember though, and why should you have to anyway?

You can even (temporarily) set your keyboard layout to German, French etc. which have these characters available directly, but since they won't be marked on the actual keys of your UK keyboard, and they're in odd places (and some of the normal characters move around too) this can be quite confusing.

The UK International layout presented here adds easy to remember shortcuts for many international characters, and some other "special" characters too, which can be accessed on a standard UK QWERTY keyboard. (The standard UK keyboard has the pound sign above 3 and double-quote above 2.)

Download and Installation (Windows)

The installer can be found here. This has only been tested on Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows 98 SE, however it should also work on Windows NT 4.0, Windows Server 2003, Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows ME. As of version it should hopefully now work properly for later systems (Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 10) and for 64-bit systems. Download, run, and follow the instructions.

(The previous separate versions for 9x and NT have been merged into a single custom installer due to the unreliability of the MSI packages generated by Microsoft's Keyboard Layout Creator tool. The differences noted under Supported Characters still apply, but there is now just a single installer for both systems.)

Once installed it must be selected for use by using Control Panel:

Select "Region & language" from the list on the left, then select "English (United Kingdom)" from the list of already installed Languages on the right. (Assuming it is already installed. Choose "Add a language" to add it if not.) Select Options. From there select "Add a keyboard" and choose "United Kingdom (International)" from the list. You should now be able to choose this keyboard by clicking on the language icon in the system tray (which probably looks like "ENG UK" if you have the default "United Kingdom keyboard" selected, and will change to just "ENG" once "United Kindgom (International) keyboard" is selected.)

Add a new Input language, with language as "English (United Kingdom)" and keyboard layout as "United Kingdom (International)".

Since these systems do not fully support Unicode, the range of characters available is somewhat reduced compared to the NT version, however most of the useful ones are possible. Certainly, Western European (codepage 1252) languages should be fully supported.

(For the curious and stout of heart, source code for the installer is available here.)


The first thing to do is to change keyboard layout back to plain United Kingdom and remove any reference to "United Kingdom (International)" in the Regional Settings Control Panel.

If you have previously installed the MSI version for NT-style OSs, then through Control Panel's Add/Remove Programs page remove "United Kingdom (International)" and reboot.

Running a new version of the installer program will then give you the option of Uninstalling the old version, or Repairing it which should also upgrade to the latest version. (The MSI uninstall may leave the layout installed so you may still get a message saying it is already installed when you run the new installer. Repair should also work in this case.)

When upgrading you may need to reboot after running the installer to make absolutely sure the old version has been unloaded, before the new version will work.

To manually delete the layout, you can delete the file(s) KBUKINT.dll or KBUKINTn.dll in the Windows System32 directory for NT-style OSs, or the file(s) KBUKINT.KBD or KBUKINTn.KBD for 9x-style OSs (where n is a number), and delete the corresponding registry key. This should be done very carefully, but can be done by running the Registry Editor (Windows-Key+R, regedit.exe, Enter), drilling down the tree to "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Keyboard Layouts" and locating the subkey under there which references KBUKINT.dll or KBUKINT.KBD. This will be called something like 000n0809 where n is 1 or greater.

Download and Installation (Linux)

Due to the way keyboard layouts work under X, the installation procedure is somewhat more manual for the Linux version. The full layout requires a system component, which defines the base keyboard mappings, but dead keys must be defined per-user via their .XCompose file. These instructions are for Fedora/Gnome, but other distros are probably fairly similar.

Download and unpack the tarball. This contains all the required layout definitions.

Find the xkb root directory. This contains the "symbols" and "rules" subdirectories, and under Fedora 14 is /usr/share/X11/xkb/. If you can't find it there, running the command "locate evdev.xml" or "locate xorg.xml" (assuming you have locate installed, otherwise "find / -name evdev.xml -print") should identify the correct path.

Become root. Copy symbols/kbukint from the tarball into the xkb symbols directory. Then apply the rules/*.patch from the tarball to the corresponding files in the xkb rules directory. For dead keys to work under gtk you will need to install the XIM IM module: under F14 the package for this is called gtk2-immodule-xim. If you are running bi-arch and need dead keys to work under both 32-bit and 64-bit gtk programs, make sure you install both the i686 and x86_64 versions: "yum install gtk2-immodule-xim.x86_64 gtk2-immodule-xim.i686". You may also want gtk3-immodule-xim too. Return to your normal user account.

From the tarball, copy home/dotXCompose to ~/.XCompose in your home directory. You need to make sure your shell environment sets GTK_IM_MODULE correctly to pick these up - usually by adding "export GTK_IM_MODULE=xim" to ~/.bashrc.

Finally, from the Gnome menu, select System->Preferences->Keyboard->Layouts->Add... Now choose By language, set the Language drop-down to English, and choose "United Kingdom International" from the Variant drop-down. Add this layout, remove the old one, and you're mostly set. The next time you log in with the Gnome login manager, after selecting your user account, change your keyboard layout selection at the bottom, before logging in.

Supported Characters

Any character available on the standard UK layout should still be available in exactly the same way. This includes such combinations as AltGr+4 for the Euro currency symbol. The only exception is AltGr+vowel which on some versions of Windows gives accented vowels. These have been moved as described below.

Some additional characters are available through AltGr:

AltGr+KeyWithout ShiftWith Shift
1superscript 1inverted exclamation mark
2superscript 2double low-9 quotation mark
3superscript 3 
5 per-mille sign
7 single low-9 quotation mark
8 degree sign
0masculine ordinal indicator/superscript 0 
=/+ plus-minus sign
Eoe ligature
Rregistered trademark symbol
Tletter thorn
YYen currency symbol
Oletter O with stroke
Ppilcrow sign/paragraph mark
[/{single left quotation markdouble left quotation mark
]/}single right quotation markdouble right quotation mark
Aae ligature
Sletter sharp s/ess-zedsection sign
Dletter eth
Zdivision sign
Xmultiplication sign
Ccopyright symbol
Mtrademark symbol
,/< single left-pointing angle quotation mark
./> single right-pointing angle quotation mark
//? inverted question mark

Most accented characters are available by using Dead Keys. These are a keyboard combination which doesn't enter a character itself, but causes the next character typed to be changed in some way. (For example, AltGr+/ followed by E will enter É.)

Dead Key combinationEffectOperates On
AltGr+\add grave accentaeiouwyAEIOUWY spaceaeiouAEIOU space
AltGr+/add acute accentaceilnosuwyzACEILNOSUWYZ æÆ spaceaeiouyAEIOUY space
AltGr+6 (unshifted ^) or AltGr+^add circumflex accentaceghijosuwyACEGHIJOSUWY spaceaeiouAEIOU space
AltGr+; (unshifted colon) or AltGr+:add diaeresis accentaeiouwyAEIOUWY spaceaeiouyAEIOUY space
AltGr+, (comma)add cedilla accentcgklnrstCGKLNRST spacecC space
AltGr+. (full stop)add ring aboveauAU spaceaA space
AltGr+# (unshifted tilde) or AltGr+~add tilde accentainouyAINOUY spaceanoANO space
AltGr+' (apostrophe)double character! to ‼
‹ (single left-pointing angle quotation mark) to «
› (single right-pointing angle quotation mark) to »
‹ (single left-pointing angle quotation mark) to «
› (single right-pointing angle quotation mark) to »

Most letter combinations are shiftable. For example AltGr+; u produces ü, AltGr+; U produces Ü. AltGr+a produces æ, AltGr+A produces Æ.


2004-01-23- Original version (NT/2K/XP only).
2004-04-04- Win9x version.
2004-04-11- Fixed incorrect mapping for some characters with diaeresis.
2004-05-09 - Changed circumflex, diaeresis and tilde dead keys to accept both shifted and unshifted forms (ie AltGr+6 = AltGr+^, AltGr+: = AltGr+;, AltGr+# = AltGr+~).
Added upgrade option to 9x installer.
2004-06-19 installer source Combined NT and 9x versions into a single installer
Added Uninstall function
2007-03-24 installer source A couple of people pointed out that Control+[ and similar sequences don't produce the correct (or any) characters. This makes using telnet under this layout a pain. I finally got round to fixing this.
2010-02-17 installer source Support for 64-bit Windows
Should automatically ask for UAC elevation
2010-11-23 installer source Linux version Support Linux

Future Work?

Currently acute, grave, circumflex, cedilla, tilde and ring-above accents are supported. There is no support for macron, breve, caron, ogonek, ring-below, dot-below, stroke-through, horn, double accents of any form or multiple accents on the same character.


Suggestions, bug reports, by email to johns *a*t*