Dvorak as base layout for Keyman - Amharic in this case


I use Dvorak on my home computer. I am learning Amharic so I want to be able to switch quickly to an Amharic keyboard. The trouble is that the switch to Keyman Amharic also switches back to Qwerty, in which I was never able to touch type. It would be much simpler to have the Amharic letters matched phonetically with the Dvorak layout, rather than with Qwerty! Wouldn’t this be easy to do?

I however have no coding experience.

Hi @lelandbug, welcome to the community!

The GFF Amharic keyboard (Amharic keyboard) supports switching the base layout on Windows. In Keyman Configuration, you can go to Options tab, Base Keyboard, and select “English - United States-Dvorak” from the list, and the keyboard should then match your Dvorak expectations.

Currently, we do not yet support changing the base layout on Linux or macOS.

Thank you so much for your reply, Marc.

Woe is me. I use Mac. Do you have any recommendations for me? Is anyone working on it? How many coding-hours go into the development of such a feature?


We don’t currently have anyone working on it, although it is on our roadmap as a feature that we hope to be working on soon. It is a significant piece of work; we’ve scheduled in half a year for a single developer on this (although they will also be looking at Linux at the same time).

However, it is possible to use the Keyman for Windows mcompile tool to generate a special Dvorak version of the Amharic keyboard. With a little bit of work, it is possible to rebundle that to install on macOS. Note: I can’t guarantee that the Windows Dvorak layout is identical to the macOS one.

I’ve gone ahead and done that, and here 'tis: gff_amharic_dvorak.kmp (3.5 MB)

Let me know how you go with it!

Thank you! Just what I was hoping for. It’s pretty darn close. The form-fixing key switched pinkies - I can handle that just fine.

Always interesting to hear more about the developing process and what it takes behind the scenes. Six months, wow. Best of luck with everything.

Leland (ሊለንድ)

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Great to hear – I’ll go ahead and mark this conversation as resolved!