space key

AltGr key

AltGr is a modifier key on PC keyboards used to type many characters, primarily ones that are unusual for the locale of the keyboard layout, such as currency symbols and accented letters. If a key has a third symbol on it (on the front vertical face or the bottom right of the key top, sometimes in a different colour), then AltGr can often be used to type that character.

Meaning

On the original IBM AT Enhanced keyboard the right Alt key has green letters. However, IBM states that AltGr is an abbreviation for "alternate graphic. The meaning of the key's abbreviation is not explicitly given in many IBM PC compatible technical reference manuals.

History

Originally, US PC keyboards (specifically: the US 101-key PC/AT keyboards) did not have an AltGr key, it being relevant to only non-US markets; they simply had "left" and "right" Alt keys. As those using such US keyboards increasingly needed the specific functionality of AltGr when typing non-English text, Windows began to allow all keystroke combinations involving AltGr to be typed by using Ctrl+Alt in its place. Therefore, it is recommended that Ctrl+Alt not be used as a modifier in Windows keyboard shortcuts as, depending on the keyboard layout and configuration, someone trying to type a special character with Ctrl+Alt may accidentally trigger the shortcut, or the keypresses for the shortcut may be inadvertently interpreted as the user trying to input a special character.

Function

International keyboard layouts

US international

On US international keyboard layouts, the AltGr key can be used to enter the following characters:
¡ ² ³ ¤ € ¼ ½ ¾ ‘ ’ ¥ ×
 ä å é ® þ ü ú í ó ö « »
  á ß ð           ø ¶ ´ ¬
   æ   ©     ñ µ ç   ¿
And, in combination with the Shift key:
¹     £               ÷
 Ä Å É   Þ Ü Ú Í Ó Ö
  Á § Ð           Ø ° ¨ ¦
   Æ   ¢     Ñ   Ç
Note that a lot of these symbols can also be entered using the dead keys.

For comparison, the US international keyboard layout follows. Note that the "`/~" key has been omitted; it does not react to the AltGr key.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 - =
 Q W E R T Y U I O P []
  A S D F G H J K L ; ' 
 m Z X C V B N M , . /
"m" denotes the "Macro" key. It generally produces a "", although applications receive a different keycode and can therefore instead use the key to, for example, run macros.

When using the standard US QWERTY key map layout in Microsoft Windows, the functionality of AltGr is also available via Ctrl+Alt. This is useful in case the current key mapping is not able to differentiate between the Alt key on the left and the AltGr key on the right. Other supported US keyboard layouts (such as "United States-International") do distinguish between left and right-Alt keys, thus allowing the functionality of AltGr to produce accents and other extended characters.

UK

In UK keyboard layouts, the only two symbols printed on most keyboards which require the AltGr key are:

  • the Euro currency symbol. Located on the "4/$" key.
  • Either |, the vertical bar ("pipe symbol") or ¦, the broken vertical bar ("broken pipe symbol"). Located on the "`/¬" key, to the immediate left of "1". The other bar symbol is the shift-keyed symbol on the '' key immediately to the left of the Z key.

The two latter symbols interchange places in UK keyboards according to the operating system in use. In OS/2, the "UK keyboard layout" (specifically: the UK166 layout) requires AltGr for the vertical bar and the broken vertical bar is a shifted key — which, coincidentally, matches the actual symbols that are printed on most UK keyboards; in Windows, the "UK keyboard layout" requires AltGr for the broken vertical bar and the vertical bar is a shifted key — the converse of what is usually printed on the keys; and in Linux, the "UK keyboard layout" produces the unbroken vertical bar with both AltGr plus "`/¬" and shifted , and produces the broken vertical bar with AltGr plus shifted .

Using the AltGr key on UK keyboards in some versions of Windows (for example XP) in combination with vowel characters produces acute accents over the vowels (for example, á,é,í,ó,ú and Á,É,Í,Ó,Ú).

The free 'To Bach' utility written by Draig Technology uses the AltGr key to enter accented Welsh language vowels (â, ê, î, ô, û, ŷ, ŵ) using a standard UK keyboard.

The UK-Extended keyboard available in versions of Microsoft Windows from XP with SP2 allows many characters with diacritical marks, including accents, to be generated by using the AltGr key in combination with others. Details are to be found in the article on QWERTY.

Polish

Typewriters in Poland used a QWERTZ layout specifically designed for the Polish language with accented characters obtainable directly. When personal computers became available world-wide in the 1980s commercial importing into Poland was not supported by its communist government, so most machines in Poland were brought in by private individuals. Most had US keyboards, and various methods were devised to make special Polish characters available. An established method was to use AltGr in combination with a Latin letter to obtain the accented variant, except that AltGr+X generated ź, (as AltGr+Z was already used to generate ż).

At the time of the political transformation and opening of commercial import channels this practice was so widespread that it was adopted as the standard. Nowadays most PCs in Poland have standard US keyboards and use the AltGr method to enter accented Polish characters. This layout is referred to as Polish programmers' layout (klawiatura polska programisty) or simply Polish layout.

The layout still used on typewriters is rarely used on computer keyboards, mostly by professional typists. Computer keyboards with this layout are available, though difficult to find, and supported by a number of operating systems; they are known as Polish typists' layout (klawiatura polska maszynistki). Older Polish versions of Microsoft Windows used this layout, describing it as Polish layout.

Czech

The situation is similar to Poland. Mapping of AltGr key in Windows is quite unique.

Danish

On Danish keyboards, the AltGr key can be used to create the following characters:

  • @ - combination of Alt + Ctrl + 2
  • £ - combination of AltGr+3
  • $ - combination of AltGr+4
  • { - combination of AltGr+7

  • [- combination of AltGr+8
  • ] - combination of AltGr+9
  • } - combination of AltGr+0
  • | - combination of AltGr+´

  • € - combination of AltGr+e
  • ~ - combination of AltGr+¨
  • µ - combination of AltGr+m

Especially the location of the @ symbol can be considered cumbersome, as the AltGr key is located just to the right of the space key, meaning that most people will have to use two hands to access the @ symbol.

Finnish and Swedish

On Finnish and Swedish keyboards, the following characters are created by using AltGr:

  • @ - AltGr+2
  • £ - AltGr+3
  • $ - AltGr+4
  • € - AltGr+5 or AltGr+e

  • { - AltGr+7
  • [- AltGr+8
  • ] - AltGr+9
  • } - AltGr+0

  • - AltGr++
  • ~ - AltGr+¨
  • | - AltGr+<
  • µ - AltGr+m

Croatian, Slovenian, Serbian (latin)

On Croatian, Slovenian and Serbian (Latin) keyboards, the following letters and special characters are created using AltGr:

  • - AltGr + q
  • | - AltGr + w
  • € - AltGr + e
  • ÷ - AltGr + š
  • × - AltGr + đ
  • [- AltGr + f
  • ] - AltGr + g
  • ł - AltGr + l
  • ß - AltGr + ć
  • ¤ - AltGr + ž

  • @ - AltGr + v
  • { - AltGr + b
  • } - AltGr + n
  • § - AltGr + m
  • < - AltGr + ,
  • > - AltGr + .
  • ~ - AltGr + 1
  • ˇ - AltGr + 2
  • ^ - AltGr + 3

  • ˘ - AltGr + 4
  • ° - AltGr + 5
  • ˛ - AltGr + 6
  • ` - AltGr + 7
  • ˙ - AltGr + 8
  • ´ - AltGr + 9
  • ˝ - AltGr + 0
  • ¨ - AltGr + '
  • ¸ - AltGr + +

Latvian

Having Latvian set as the system language, the following letters can be input using Alt Gr.

Lowercase letters

  • ā = AltGr + a
  • č = AltGr + c
  • ē = AltGr + e
  • ģ = AltGr + g
  • ī = AltGr + i
  • ķ = AltGr + k
  • ļ = AltGr + l
  • ņ = AltGr + n
  • š = AltGr + s
  • ū = AltGr + u
  • ž = AltGr + z

Uppercase letters

  • Ā = AltGr + Shift + a
  • Č = AltGr + Shift + c
  • Ē = AltGr + Shift + e
  • Ģ = AltGr + Shift + g
  • Ī = AltGr + Shift + i
  • Ķ = AltGr + Shift + k
  • Ļ = AltGr + Shift + l
  • Ņ = AltGr + Shift + n
  • Š = AltGr + Shift + s
  • Ū = AltGr + Shift + u
  • Ž = AltGr + Shift + z

Macedonian

On Macedonian keyboards, AltGr enables the user to type the following characters:

  • € - AltGr + "е"
  • Ђ - AltGr + "ш"
  • ђ - AltGr + "ѓ"
  • [- AltGr + "ф"

  • ] - AltGr + "г"
  • Ћ - AltGr + "ч"
  • ћ - AltGr + "ќ"
  • @ - AltGr + "в"

  • { - AltGr + "б"
  • } - AltGr + "н"
  • § - AltGr + "м"

German

On German keyboards, AltGr enables the user to type the following characters:

  • ² - AltGr + "2"
  • ³ - AltGr + "3"
  • { - AltGr + "7"
  • [- AltGr + "8"

  • ] - AltGr + "9"
  • } - AltGr + "0"
  • - AltGr + "ß"
  • ~ - AltGr + "+"

  • @ - AltGr + "Q"
  • € - AltGr + "E"
  • | - AltGr + "<"
  • µ - AltGr + "M"

French

On French keyboards, AltGr enables the user to type the following characters:

  • ~ - AltGr + "2"
  • # - AltGr + "3"
  • { - AltGr + "4"
  • [- AltGr + "5"
  • | - AltGr + "6"
  • ` - AltGr + "7" (dead: AltGr + "7" then "o" gives "ò")
  • - AltGr + "8"

  • ^ - AltGr + "9" (generally not dead: AltGr + "9" then "o" gives "^o" not "ô")
  • @ - AltGr + "0"
  • ] - AltGr + "°"
  • } - AltGr + "+"
  • € - AltGr + "E"
  • ¤ - AltGr + "£"

X Window System

In the X Window System, AltGr can be used to produce additional characters with almost every key in the keyboard. For example, in the Danish keymap, AltGr+Shift+Q produces Ω, AltGr[+Shift]+O produces ø/Ø, AltGr+M produces µ, and so on. With some keys, AltGr produces a dead key; for example on a UK keyboard AltGr+; produces a combining acute accent, thus AltGr+; followed by e produces é.

Modified keys tables

Swedish keymap

Danish keymap

 q  w  e  r  t  y  u  i  o  p  å  ¨
 a  s  d  f  g  h  j  k  l  æ  ø  '
< z x c v b n m , . -

The keymap with the Alt Gr key:

 @  ł  €  ®  þ  ←  ↓  →  œ  þ  "  ~
 ª  ß  ð  đ  ŋ  ħ  j  ĸ  ł  '  ^  ˝
« » © “ ” n µ ¸ ·

The keymap with Alt Gr+Shift:

 Ω  Ł  ¢  ®  Þ  ¥  ↑  ı  Œ  Þ  ˚  ˇ
 º  §  Ð  ª  Ŋ  Ħ  J  &  Ł  ˝  ˇ  ×
¬ < > © ` ' N º ˛ ˙ ˙

Brazilian ABNT2 keymap

♥♥☻☻☺☺♦♦♣♣♠♠••◘◘○○☼☼↓↓??JU╝
'  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  0  -  =
 q  w  e  r  t  y  u  i  o  p  á  [
  a  s  d  f  g  h  j  k  l  ç  ã  ]
  z  x  c  v  b  n  m  ,  .  ;  /

The keymap with Shift:

"  !  @  #  $  %  ä  &  *  ( )  _  +
 Q  W  E  R  T  Y  U  I  O  P  À  {
A S D F G H J K L Ç Â } | Z X C V B N M < > : ?

The keymap with the AltGr key: ¬ ¹ ² ³ £ ¢ ¬ { [ ] } §

 /  ?  €  ®  ŧ  ←  ↓  →  ø  þ  ´  ª
  æ  ß  ð  đ  ŋ  ħ     ĸ  ł  á  ~  º
º  «  »  ©  “  ”     µ  ─  ·  ạ  °

The keymap with AltGr + Shift:

¬  ¡  ½  ¾  ¼  ⅜  ¨  ⅞  ™  ±  °  ¿  ą
 /  ?  €  ®  Ŧ  ¥  ↑  ı  Ø  Þ  `  ā
  Æ  §  Ð  ª  Ŋ  Ħ     &  Ł  ő  ^  º
ă  <  >  ©  `  '     µ  ×  ÷  ȧ  ¿

See also

References

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