Compatibility issues with QWERTY keyboard changing to AZERTY

We used KM Developer 10 to build a keyboard for Ngbaka in DRC. It works fine on Win 10 and Mac. We have now been asked to install the keyboard on a Win 10 laptop sourced in the UK which the translation consultant will take to DRC. Several queries come to mind:

  1. Is KM13 backwardly compatible so that our KM10 keyboard will work unchanged?
  2. The laptop in question has a UK keyboard but the consultant has arranged for someone to change the locale to French. They plan to use stickers on the keys (!). So—
    a. Will we have to rewrite our keyboard to work with the intended AZERTY layout?
    b. Does KM map to the desired characters in accordance with the physical layout after the AZERTY change? If yes, this would seem to imply a rewrite is necessary.

Not at all sure where to find any answer in the documentation.

  1. Your keyboard developed with Keyman Developer 10 should work fine with any later version of Keyman.

  2. Unless the keyboard uses the &mnemoniclayout store (see: the keyboard will assume a US English layout as the default. For example, the “Q” on a QWERTY (US English) keyboard is where the “A” is on a AZERTY keyboard. Suppose your keyboard redefines the “Q” key to produce a schwa. With &mnemoniclayout not set (the default), it will be the key marked “A” on the physical keyboard that produces the schwa. With &mnemoniclayout set, then the key marked “Q” on the physical keyboard would produce the schwa.

Note, however, that there are a lot of keys besides A-Z that change places between QWERTY and AZERTY, so using the mnemonic layout can be quite tricky. If you have lots of changes, you may find it easier to make a separate AZERTY version of the keyboard.

Thank you for this advice. As to

  1. The KM10 keyboard seems not to work with KM13. We have not investigated yet.
  2. This is what we expected - build another keyboard.

It should work just fine. However, you do need a .kmp file to install it with Keyman 13.0. I know for version 10 many people didn’t bother to create a package, so you may not be able to install it if you just have the kmx.

Note, Keyman Desktop for Windows 13.0 can still install .kmx files, but no other platform can.

Would you advise using a physical AZERTY keyboard? Mine is UK. (Hoping to avoid mental gymnastics.)


If you are meaning, do you need to use a physical AZERTY keyboard as the keyboard developer, I don’t think so – you should be able to reference diagrams and the on screen keyboard to get the layout right.