Friday, November 20, 2009

OS X 10.6: Switching the Arabic-PC Keyboard

It was an excellent idea for Apple to include an Arabic - PC keyboard layout in Snow Leopard. But one has to wonder where they got the mapping they used. A poster in the Apple forums pointed out that the character Thal ذ (U+0630) is at an obscure non-standard location (Option/alt + 3) and the character Shadda ّ (U+0651) is not present at all, at least on an ANSI keyboard.
Normally, as shown here, these characters are on the leftmost key of the top row. On an ISO (102-key) layout, they should be next to Return.

For an alternative layout that I think comes closer to what PC users expect, try this one.

Oddly enough, the Arabic - PC layout that was included in Leopard is OK.

12 comments:

alawikd999 said...

thanks
but where i can install it??

Tom Gewecke said...

Like all such keyboards, you put the .keylayout file in Home/Library/Keyboard Layouts, then logout/login, then check its box in system prefs/language & text/input sources, then select it in the "flag" menu at the top right of the Finder.

Ma'moun said...

Very useful, thanks!

By the way, do you know the location of the original keyboard layouts embedded in the system?

Tom Gewecke said...

The system layouts are in System/Library/Keyboard Layouts. I don't think there is anything you can do with what is there and I would advise leaving it alone.

Bob said...

Yes you should leave them alone, but you can duplicate them and modify them for new layouts to be put into your home folder. It's been a few years (Panther OS) and I can't remember how I used to do this with Ukelele. Having said this maybe under Leopard and Snow Leopard it's not advisable.

Tom Gewecke said...

Bob -- That's right, things have changed and you cannot do anything with the system layouts in Leopard and Snow Leopard. The Ukelele download provides templates for some of them.

Ben said...

The strange thing is that although there is tilde/swiggle key `/~ pressing it while Arabic - PC is selected does not add a thal ذ so you have to use option + 3 but when I use a visual keyboard program called Keystrokes when pressing the tilde button the correct letter appears. Something is amiss

Tom Gewecke said...

Ben -- is your physical keyboard ANSI or ISO (ISO has a letter key to the left of z)?

Salman said...

Hi

I tried to install that keyboard layout recommended in the last sentence of this post. But each time I select it at the input source menu, my safari 5 suddenly shuts down! I'm using snow leopard. Either that, the keyboard layout is faded in the menu and thus cannot be selected.

Can anyone help?

Tom Gewecke said...

Salman -- email me and I will send you a copy, maybe it will work better (tom at bluesky dot org).

Abdul said...

thanks Tom, this is very helpful.

I really do appreciate it :)

BTW, is it possible to post a picture of the layout so people can benefit by seeing all the acutlal location of the letter, and for me, it will help me add the Arabic stickers on my laptop :)

thanks again

Abdul

Tom Gewecke said...

Abdul -- You should be able to get the info you need right from the Keyboard Viewer, which you activate in system prefs/language & text/input sources, just like a keyboard. Sorry, I don't have a picture.