AZERTY /əˈzɜːrti/ is a specific layout for the characters of the
Latin alphabet on typewriter keys and computer keyboards. The layout
takes its name from the first six letters to appear on the first row
of alphabetical keys. Like the German
QWERTZ layout, it is modelled on
QWERTY layout. It is used by most French speakers based in
Belgium each have their own national
variations on the layout. Luxembourg and Switzerland use the Swiss
QWERTZ keyboard. Most of the residents of Quebec, the mainly
French-speaking province of Canada, use a
QWERTY keyboard that has
been adapted to the
French language such as the Multilingual Standard
keyboard CAN/CSA Z243.200-92 which is stipulated by the government of
Quebec and the Government of Canada.
The competing layouts devised for French (the ZHJAYSCPG layout put
forward in 1907, Claude Marsan's 1976 layout, the 2002 Dvorak-fr and
the 2005 Bépo layout) have won only limited recognition.
2 General information regarding
2.1 Dead keys
2.1.3 Grave accent
2.1.4 Acute accent
2.2 Alt key
Guillemets "«" and "»"
3 In France
AZERTY under Linux
3.2 Layout of the French keyboard under Microsoft Windows
3.2.1 Missing elements
3.3 Government criticism
4 Differences between the Belgian and French layouts of the AZERTY
5.4 Tamazight (Berber)
6 See also
8 External links
AZERTY layout appeared in
France in the last decade of the 19th
century as a variation on American
QWERTY typewriters. Its exact
origin is unknown. At the start of the 20th century, the French
“ZHJAY” layout, created by Albert Navarre, failed to break into
the market for the simple reason that secretaries were already
accustomed to the
ZHJAY keyboard layout for French typewriters, which failed to compete
with the standard
AZERTY layout is the de facto norm for keyboards.
Nowhere does this layout feature as an officially recognized French
standard. However, in 1976, a
QWERTY layout adapted to the French
language was put forward as an experimental standard (NF XP E55-060)
by the French national organization for standardization. This standard
made provision for a temporary adaptation period during which the
letters A, Q, Z and W could be positioned as in the traditional AZERTY
layout. No provision, though, was made for adapting the M key, even on
a temporary basis.[clarification needed] As of January 2016 the French
Culture Ministry is looking to replace the
AZERTY layout with one that
will decrease the chance of typing mistakes.
AZERTY layout is used on Belgian keyboards (although some
non-alphabetic symbols are positioned differently).
General information regarding
AZERTY layout for full Windows keyboards
AZERTY layout for laptops
There are two key details:
Alt Gr key
Alt Gr key allows the user to type the character shown at the
bottom right of any key with three characters.
Alt key is used as a shortcut to commands affecting windows, and
is also used in conjunction with
ASCII codes for typing special
A dead key serves to modify the appearance of the next character to be
typed on the keyboard. Dead keys are mainly used to generate accents
(or diacritics) on vowels.
A circumflex accent can be generated by first striking the ^ key
(located to the right of P in most
AZERTY layouts), then the vowel
requiring the accent (with the exception of y). For example, pressing
'^' then 'a' produces 'â'.
A diaeresis can be generated by striking the ¨ key (in most AZERTY
layouts, it is generated by combining the Maj + ^ keys), then the
vowel requiring the accent. For example, pressing '¨' then 'a'
The grave accent can be generated by striking the ` key (in the French
AZERTY layout it is located to the right of the “ù” key on
Macintosh keyboards, while on PC-type keyboards it can be generated by
using the combination Alt Gr + è.
In the Belgian
AZERTY layout, the ` key is generated by the
combination Alt Gr + µ; the µ key is located to the right of the ù
key on Belgian
AZERTY keyboards) then the key for the vowel requiring
Note that the grave-accented letters à è ù (and the acute-accented
é), which are part of French orthography, have their own separate
keys. Dead-grave and dead-acute (and dead-tilde) would mostly be
reserved to "foreign" letters such as Italian ò, Spanish á í ó ú
ñ, Portuguese ã õ, etc., or for accented capital letters (which are
not present precomposed in the layout).
The acute accent is available under Windows by the use of Alt +
a[clarification needed], then the vowel requiring the accent. For
Linux users, it can be generated using Caps Lock + é then the vowel.
On a Macintosh
AZERTY keyboard, the acute accent is generated by a
combination of the Alt + Maj + &, keys, followed by the vowel.
In the Belgian
AZERTY layout, it can be generated by a combination of
Alt Gr + ù, then the vowel.
It is not available in the French layout on Windows.
The tilde is available under Windows by using a combination of the Alt
Gr + é keys, followed by the letter requiring the tilde.
On Macintosh, the "ñ" can be obtained by the combination of Alt + N
keys, followed by the N key.
In the Belgian
AZERTY layout, it can be generated by a combination of
Alt Gr + =.
Main article: Alt code
With some operating systems, the
Alt key generates characters by means
of their individual codes. In order to obtain characters, the Alt key
must be pressed and held down while typing the relevant code into the
On Linux, the alt key gives direct access to
French language special
characters. The ligatures œ and æ can be keyed in by using either
Alt Gr + o or Alt Gr + a respectively, in the fr-oss keyboard layout;
their upper case equivalents can be generated using the same key
combinations plus the French Shift key. Other useful punctuation
symbols, such as ≤, ≥, or ≠ can be more easily accessed in the
Guillemets "«" and "»"
Main article: Guillemet
Also called angle quotes, French quotation marks, double chevrons are
polylines pointed like arrows (« or »), sometimes forming
a complementary set of punctuation marks used as a form of quotation
Alt + 0171
Alt + 7598
Alt + 174
Alt + 686
Alt + 0187
Alt + 7599
Alt + 175
Alt + 687
With a US International Keyboard and corresponding layout, Alt Gr+[
and Alt Gr+] can also be used. The characters are standard on French
Canadian keyboards and some others.
Macintosh users can type "«" as ⌥ Opt+ and "»" as ⌥ Opt+⇧
Shift+. (This applies to all English-language keyboard layouts
supplied with the operating system, e.g. "Australian", "British",
"Canadian", "Irish", "Irish Extended", "U.S." and "U.S. Extended".
Other language layouts may differ). In French-language keyboard
layouts ⌥ Opt+7 and ⌥ Opt+⇧ Shift+7 can be used. On Norwegian
keyboards, ⌥ Opt+⇧ Shift+v for "«", and ⌥ Opt+⇧ Shift+b for
"»", can be used.
For users of
Unix-like operating systems running the X Window System,
creation of the guillemet depends on a number of factors including the
keyboard layout that is in effect. For example, with US International
Keyboard layout selected a user would type Alt Gr+[ for "«" and Alt
Gr+] for "»". On some configurations they can be written by typing
"«" as Alt Gr+z and "»" as Alt Gr+x. With the compose key, press
Compose+<+< and Compose+>+>. Additionally with the ibus
input method framework enabled, users may enter these characters into
those applications that accept it by using Ctrl+⇧ Shift+U followed
by their Unicode code points: either AB or BB, respectively.
Microsoft Office applications, typing the US quotation mark (on the
3 key) will produce either a left
Guillemet "«" or right Guillemet
"»" based on the spacing.
AZERTY under Linux
In X11, the window system common to many flavors of UNIX, the keyboard
interface is completely configurable allowing each user to assign
different functions to each key in line with their personal
preferences. For example, specific combinations of Alt Gr + key could
be assigned to many other characters.
Layout of the French keyboard under Microsoft Windows
Ever since the
AZERTY keyboard was devised, a single key has been
dedicated to the letter (ù), which occurs in only one word (où
[where]); the œ is completely unrepresented, despite the fact that it
is an integral part of the
French language and occurs in many
æ, as in Lætitia [girl's name] or ex æquo [dead-heat].
The non-breaking space, which prevents having punctuation characters
in isolation at the ends or beginnings of lines.
French language opening and closing quotation marks,
« and ».
The capital letters, É, Ç,
Œ … (in the word Œdipe [Oedipus], for
example), are available neither on the typewriter itself, nor using
the operating system mentioned earlier.
It is possible to fill in these gaps by installing a keyboard driver
that has been specially enriched for the French language.
Some word-processing software packages sometimes address some of these
gaps. The non-breaking space can be obtained by pressing the Ctrl key,
followed by a space, in a word-processing package such as
OpenOffice.org Writer, or by using Ctrl + Maj [Caps] + Espace
[Spacebar] in Microsoft Word.
Apart from these gaps, the French
AZERTY layout has some strange
features which are still present in the Microsoft Windows Vista
The combination Maj + ² does not generate any character at all.
The presence of two "^" (one of which is a dead key and is located at
the right of the "p", while the other – on the ç9 key —
When a ¦ is required, a is generated.
Typing a period or numerals requires pressing Shift, whereas some
rarer characters (ù, the semicolon) do not. This has led to drives to
AZERTY keyboard (chiefly by doing away with the ù, which
may be typed using AltGr+è and u anyway, and/or swapping the period
and semicolon), although to date this has not been successful.
As of January 2016 the French Culture Ministry is looking to replace
AZERTY layout with one that will decrease the chance of typing
mistakes. This project, leaded by the French national
organization for standardization AFNOR, should release both an
AZERTY and a
BÉPO layout. Initialy due in January 2018, the
standard is now scheduled for June of that year.
Differences between the Belgian and French layouts of the AZERTY
AZERTY layout used in the Dutch speaking part of Belgium, it is the
same of French speaking except the labels on the keys
AZERTY layout used in the French speaking part of Belgium, it is the
same of Dutch speaking except the labels on the keys
Same Belgian keyboard under
Linux (Ubuntu 9.10)
AZERTY keyboard allows for the placing of accents on
vowels without recourse to encoding via the
Alt key + code. This is
made possible by the provision of dead keys for each type of accent: ^
¨ ´ ` (the last two being generated by a combination of Alt Gr + ù
and µ respectively).
To recap the list of different keys from left to right and from top to
First row (symbols and numbers):
By combining the shift and ² keys, ³ is obtained;
The symbol , is generated by a combination of Alt Gr + & same key
as the 1;
The @ symbol is generated by a combination of Alt Gr + é same key as
Unlike the French layout, the ' key (or 4 key) does not contain a
Unlike the French layout, the ( key (or 5 key) does not contain a
The ^ symbol is generated by a combination of Alt Gr + § same key as
the 6 ; but, as opposed to the ^ symbol found to the right of the
p key, it is not a dead key, and therefore does not generate the
placing of a circumflex accent;
Unlike the French layout, the è (or 7) key does not contain a third
Unlike the French layout, the ! (or 8) key does not contain a third
The symbol is obtained by a combination of Alt Gr + ç same key as
The symbol is obtained by a combination of Alt Gr + à same key as
Unlike the French layout, the ) (or °) key does not contain a third
The key to the right of the ) key contains the following symbols: - _
with shift and, unlike the French layout, does not contain a third
Second row (the letters AZERTYuiop):
the alphabetical keys do not have Alt Gr codes apart from the e, which
generates the euro symbol, €;
The [ symbol is obtained by a combination of Alt Gr + ^ same key as
the ¨ (a partially dead key located to the right of the p key);
the key to the right of the ^ key contains the following symbols: $ *
with shift and ] with Alt Gr;
Third row (the letters qsdfghjklm)
the key to the right of m contains the following symbols: ù % with
shift and the partially dead key ´ with Alt Gr, which allows acute
accents to be generated on accented vowels;
the key to the right of ù contains the following symbols: µ £ with
shift and the partially dead key ` with Alt Gr, which allows grave
accents to be generated on accented vowels;
Fourth row (the letters wxcvbn and basic punctuation):
The symbol is generated by a combination of Alt Gr + <;
the key to the right of : contains the following symbols: = + with
shift and the partially dead key ~ with Alt Gr, the latter either
generating the tilde symbol when combined with the space bar, or
positioning a tilde over a letter: a → ã, A → Ã, n → ñ, N →
Ñ, o → õ, O → Õ.
The description partially dead means that pressing the key in question
sometimes generates the desired symbol directly, but that at least one
of the symbols represented on the key will only appear after a second
key has been pressed. In order to obtain a symbol in isolation, the
space bar must be pressed, otherwise a vowel should be pressed to
generate the required accented form.
The other keys are identical, even though traditionally the names of
special keys are printed on them in English. This is because Belgium
is predominantly bilingual (French-Dutch) and officially trilingual (a
third language, German, is spoken in the East Cantons).
The key to the right of 0 on the numeric keypad corresponds either to
the full stop or to the comma (which is why there are two distinct
keyboard drivers under Windows).
AZERTY keyboard as used in the Dutch speaking part of
the name shift instead of maj and caps lock instead of verr maj.
AZERTY layout is used in France,
Belgium and some African
countries. It differs from the
QWERTY layout thus:
A and Q are swapped,
Z and W are swapped,
M is moved to the right of L (where colon/semicolon is on a US
The digits 0 to 9 are on the same keys, but to be typed the shift key
must be pressed. The unshifted positions are used for accented
Caps lock is replaced by Shift lock, thus affecting non-letter keys as
well. However, there is an ongoing evolution towards a
Caps lock key
instead of a Shift lock.
The French and Belgian
AZERTY keyboards also have special characters
used in the French language, such as ç, à, é and è, and other
characters such as &, ", ' and §, all located under the numbers.
French keyboard layout
Some French people use the Canadian Multilingual standard keyboard.
The Portuguese (Portugal) keyboard layout may also be preferred, as it
provides all the French accents (acute, grave, diaeresis, circumflex,
cedilla, including on capital letters that are not all possible with a
basic French standard layout, and also the French quotation marks or
guillemets, «»). Furthermore, its dead-letter option for all the
accent keys allows for easy input of all the possibilities in French
and many other languages
(áàäãâéèëêíìïîñóòöõôúùüû). 'ç' is, however, a
separate key (but only as a lowercase letter in the basic French
The US-International keyboard may also used for the same reason
(notably by programmers as it allows easier input of
provided that they are trained to a
QWERTY layout rather than the most
AZERTY layouts available in most computer shops, including
online). An alternative (extremely rarely found) to
AZERTY is the
Bépo layout : it's not available on any notebook, but may be
used by adding an external keyboard, bought separately from some
However the most common layouts available as an option in computer
shops and that are not using the standard French layout is still the
basic US layout, plus the QWERTY-based layouts used for Chinese and
Vietnamese (that you can find in Parisian shops where there's a large
enough Asian community, many of these shops being owned by people of
Chinese or South-East Asian origin), or Arabic. Computer providers
have also sold computers with the Belgian French
AZERTY layout to
French universities and schools. Most standard national layouts used
in the world, and all layouts used in the European Union can easily be
bought in online shops within the European Union as the old standard
French keyboard is no longer mandatory.
Apple's keyboards use the same
AZERTY layout in both
Belgium. Based on the Belgian version, the most notable
differences are the locations for the @-sign and €-sign, among
OS X also supports the standard French layout for non-Apple
keyboards; the standard Belgian layout, however, is available through
third-party support only.
There is also an
Arabic variant of the
AZERTY keyboard. It is
especially used in the African countries Algeria, Chad, Comoros,
Djibouti, Mauritania, Morocco,
Tunisia and in Arab communities in
French-speaking countries to be able to type both in
Arabic and in
Keyboard layout and
Arabic keyboard for more informations.
Tamazight (Berber) keyboard layout for Latin script
The Tamazight (Latin) standards-compliant layout is optimised for a
wide range of Tamazight (Berber) language variants – including
Tuareg variants – rather than French, though French can still be
typed quickly. It installs as "Tamazight_L" and can be used both on
the French locale and with Tamazight locales.
QWERTZ adaptations of the layout are available for the
physical keyboards used by major Amazigh (Berber) communities around
Tamazight (Berber) keyboard layout for compatibility, extending the
French layout – Tamazight (International)
Other layouts exist for closer backwards compatibility with the French
layout. They are non-standards-compliant but convenient, allowing
Tifinagh script without switching layout:
Tamazight (International) extends the French layout with Tamazight
(Berber), and offers secondary
Tifinagh script access by deadkey. It
installs as "Tamazight (Agraghlan)" or "Français+" and is available
from the official site of the Algerian High Council for Amazighity
Tamazight (International)+ is optimised for Tamazight (Berber), but
retains close French compatibility and provides easy typing in
Tifinagh script by Caps Lock. It installs as "Tamazight (Agraghlan)+"
All the above layouts were designed by the Universal Amazigh Keyboard
Project and are available from there.
Wolof keyboards also use
AZERTY and are supported by Microsoft Windows
(Windows 7 and later only).
Layout of keys on computer keyboards
^ Office québécois de la langue française, Le clavier de votre
ordinateur est-il normalisé?.
^ Services gouvernementaux du Québec, Standard sur le clavier
québécois Archived 2011-06-26 at the Wayback Machine..
^ Alain LaBonté, 2001, FAQ. La démystification du clavier
québécois (norme CAN/CSA Z243.200-92) Archived 2011-07-13 at the
^ Martin, Henri-Jean (1995). The history and power of writing.
University of Chicago Press. p. 608.
^ Gardey, Delphine. "La standardisation d'une pratique technique: la
dactylographie (1883–1930)". Réseaux. 16 (87).
^ a b "
France wants to fix the terrible
AZERTY keyboard". Engadget.
^ Denis Liégeois, pilote de clavier azerty enrichi pour Windows.
^ Schofield, Hugh (21 January 2016). "Inside Europe Blog: Is France's
AZERTY keyboard heading for the scrapheap?". BBC News Online.
Retrieved 24 November 2017.
^ "How to identify keyboard localizations".
Apple Inc. Retrieved
^ "Belgian (Non-Apple) Keyboard Layout". El Tramo. Retrieved
Arabic French 102 Keyboard Layout". Microsoft. Retrieved 7 February
^ "SourceForge.net: Anasiw amaziɣ ameɣradan – Project Web Hosting
– Open Source Software". sourceforge.net.
^ "Microsoft Keyboard Layouts". Microsoft. Retrieved 26 May
Wikimedia Commons has media related to
AZERTY keyboard layouts.
The typewriter on the site of the National Archives
Accentuate the capital letters
The page on the Microsoft keyboard layouts / keyboard layouts
Classical Latin alphabet
ISO basic Latin alphabet
International Phonetic Alphabet
Letters of the ISO basic Latin alphabet
Keyboard layouts (list)
Western Latin character sets
precomposed Latin characters in Unicode
letters used in mathematics
British and American
InScript (Indian languages Hindi, Telugu etc)
For mobile devices
2-touch input (ja)
Nico Touch (ja)