How to Use Microsoft Tibetan Keyboard in Windows Vista
By Tashi Tsering
Published: May 10, 2007
Abstract: This white paper provides users information about Microsoft Tibetan keyboard for Windows Vista and the guide about how to use the keyboard to type Tibetan in Windows Vista. It's from the original designer of the keyboard.
Microsoft Windows Vista supports four Chinese minority languages include Tibetan, Mongolian, Uyghur and Yi languages. Tibetan keyboard in Windows Vista was designed based on the Chinese National Standard of Tibetan Keyboard Layout. Its keyboard layout is the identical one of the national standard.
There are five keyboards for Tibetan in the Chinese National Standard of Tibetan Keyboard Layout. In Microsoft Tibetan keyboard, these five keyboards are assigned to the following five keyboards: the regular keyboard, keyboard with SHIFT key, keyboard with key combination of Alt+Ctrl+Shift, and two virtual keyboards activated by two dead keys: 'm' and 'M' (capital m).
Microsoft Tibetan keyboard is not an IME keyboard. It's designed by using Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator under the basic keyboard design principle: one key for one character. Users can easily modify the layout of MS Tibetan keyboard to their own favorite one by using Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator.
Chinese National Standard of Tibetan Keyboard Layout
In 2005, led by Tibet University at Lhasa, the Chinese National Standard of Tibetan Keyboard Layout was designed by the national research group consists of experts from all over of China under the supervision of CESI. The standard includes five keyboards for assigning the total 193 Unicode Tibetan characters on them. Layouts of many legacy Tibetan keyboards, which are popular in China, such as Beida Founder and Huguang Tibetan keyboards were considered during the project work, together with the widely known Wylie keyboard. Frequency data of Tibetan characters was also counted when the characters were assigned onto the keyboard layouts. Some tradeoffs are there during the design of the layouts.
The basic principle for designing the national standard of Tibetan keyboard layout is:
There are 193 Unicode Tibetan characters in the Unicode character set. On each keyboard, there are 47 keys that Tibetan characters can be assigned onto them. (Space bar is not included.) Therefore, at least five keyboards are required in the Chinese National Standard of Tibetan Keyboard Layouts for assigning all the Tibetan Unicode characters. In the standard, the first keyboard is called the main keyboard, other four keyboards are called secondary keyboards. By following the basic design principle of keyboard layout described above, Tibetan keyboard layout of Chinese national standard is designed as following:
On the first Tibetan keyboard, i.e. the main keyboard, the following Tibetan characters are assigned onto its 47 keys:
On the second Tibetan keyboard, the following Tibetan characters are assigned onto its keys:
On the third Tibetan keyboard, the following Tibetan characters are assigned onto its keys:
On the fourth Tibetan keyboard, the following Tibetan characters are assigned onto its keys:
On the fifth Tibetan keyboard, the following Tibetan characters are assigned onto its keys:
Some design notes for Chinese National Standard of Tibetan keyboard layout:
Microsoft Tibetan Keyboard of Windows Vista
Based on Chinese National Standard of Tibetan Keyboard Layout, Microsoft designed a Tibetan Keyboard for Windows Vista. There are five keyboard layers in Windows Tibetan keyboard that is completely identical with the five keyboards in national standard of Tibetan keyboard layout. In Windows Tibetan keyboard, regular keyboard is allocated for the first keyboard (i.e. the main keyboard) of national standard of Tibetan keyboard layout. Four keyboard layers (virtual keyboards) obtained by combining two state keys: "SHIFT" and "Alt+Ctrl+Shift", and two "DEAD" keys: "lower case m" and "upper case M" with regular keyboard respectively, are allocated for the four secondary keyboards of Chinese National Standard of Tibetan Keyboard Layout. Let's call these four virtual keyboards as "Shift keyboard","Alt+Ctrl+Shift keyboard", "m keyboard" and "M keyboard". So in Windows Tibetan keyboard, "m keyboard", "Shift keyboard", "Alt+Ctrl+Shift keyboard" and "M keyboard" are allocated for four secondary keyboards of the standard respectively. Therefore, the keyboard layout of Microsoft Tibetan keyboard is as following:
1. Regular Keyboard, corresponding to the main keyboard of national standard of Tibetan keyboard layout:
2. m keyboard, corresponding to the second keyboard of national standard:
3. Shift keyboard, corresponding to the third keyboard of national standard:
4. Alt+Ctrl+Shift keyboard, corresponding to the fourth keyboard of national standard:
5. M keyboard, corresponding to the fifth keyboard of national standard:
Some design notes from Microsoft Tibetan Keyboard:
How to Type Tibetan in Windows Vista by Microsoft Tibetan Keyboard
In Windows Vista, go to Language and Region section of Control Panel and add Tibetan language. If you already did it, then directly go to Language Bar on Task Bar. You will see Tibetan keyboard marked as BO Tibetan (PRC) among keyboards on your language bar. Just simply select Tibetan keyboard. Now you are ready to type Tibetan in Windows.
Through regular keyboard, you can start to type 46 Tibetan Unicode characters assigned on the first keyboard of the Chinese national standard of Tibetan keyboard layout, without having to type any state key or dead key. The layout of these 46 characters is on the first keyboard diagram of Microsoft Windows Tibetan keyboard illustrated above.
From regular keyboard, by typing m key of lower case letter 'm', which is called "dead key", users can type all the characters assigned on the second keyboard of the standard. The details of the layout of Tibetan characters on that keyboard can be referred to "m keyboard" of Microsoft Tibetan Keyboard illustrated above. Each time when you input any character allocated on "m keyboard", you have to type 'm' followed by typing the key where the Tibetan character is allocated.
Same thing for "M keyboard", by typing upper case letter 'M' from regular keyboard, users can type 6 Tibetan characters assigned on the fifth keyboard of the national standard of Tibetan keyboard layout. Its layout can be referred to MS Tibetan keyboard "M keyboard" illustrated above.
On regular keyboard, by using state key "Shift", users can type Tibetan characters allocated on the third keyboard of national standard. The details of the layout of these characters can be referred to the diagram of MS Tibetan keyboard "Shift Keyboard" illustrated above.
On regular keyboard, with the combination of state key "Alt", "Ctrl" and "Shift", users can type all the characters allocated on the fourth keyboard of the standard. The details of the layout of these characters can be referred to the diagram of MS Tibetan keyboard "Alt+Ctrl+Shift Keyboard" illustrated above.
With Microsoft Tibetan keyboard, users input Tibetan syllables or words in the order they write the syllables or words in Tibetan. For example,
Tibetan syllable མི is input by typing Tibetan characters མ and ི in the order of མ ི
Tibetan syllable བསྒྲིགས is input by typing characters in the order of བ ས ྒ ྲ ི ག ས
Any other typing order against writing order won't be able to input Tibetan syllables and words correctly. For example, typing the two Tibetan characters མ and ི in the order of ི མ will not be able to input Tibetan syllable མི . Same thing for syllable བསྒྲིགས, any different typing order from the order of བ ས ྒ ྲ ི ག ས will not be able to input Tibetan syllable བསྒྲིགས .
In Microsoft Tibetan keyboard, the first two Tibetan keyboards, "Regular Keyboard" and "m Keyboard", are specially designed for regular Tibetan characters and syllables. Two of them are enough for inputting regular Tibetan, and enough for most of Tibetan users. These two Tibetan keyboards are similar with Regular Keyboard and Shift Keyboard of English keyboard, which typing one key for one character. The only different is we use state key "Shift" to type capital letters in English keyboard. In Tibetan keyboard, we use dead key 'm' to type subjoined Tibetan consonant letters for Tibetan stacks. So keep in mind that by Tibetan keyboard, always use dead key 'm' to type subjoined consonant letters of any Tibetan stacks.
Although the Unicode character U+0F39 is not a real Tibetan character, a key is still allocated for it in MS Tibetan keyboard. It is assigned onto the key combination of "dead key capital M" followed by capital M.
In term of inputting Tibetan Unicode characters into computer, Microsoft Tibetan keyboard is the best keyboard ever. In association with Microsoft Tibetan font Microsoft Himalaya, MS Tibetan keyboard allows users to input any kind of Tibetan stacks, syllables or words. It will guarantee that users can input ALL Tibetan syllables, words and Sanskrit stacks by using the keyboard.
Download Microsoft Tibetan Keyboard Layout
Microsoft Tibetan keyboard has five keyboard layers. It's not possible and not necessary for users to remember all the key locations for all Tibetan characters on these five keyboard layouts. Users can print the five keyboard layouts and put it aside for reference. The first two keyboard layouts are the basic keyboards for inputting regular Tibetan. Key locations of characters on these two keyboards should be able to be remembered in short time after you use the keyboards. For your convenience, we put the images of these five Tibetan keyboard layouts at the following five links for users to download. You can print the images of the keyboard layouts, or you can set one of the five keyboard images as the desktop background on your machine.
For setting the "Regular Keyboard" layout of Microsoft Tibetan Keyboard as the desktop background on your machine, you may follow the following steps:
Then, you will have the Tibetan keyboard layout on the desktop of your machine.
Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator
As we said, for inputting Tibetan Unicode characters, Microsoft Tibetan keyboard is the best Tibetan keyboard ever. But if anyone believes he or she has better idea about Tibetan keyboard layout, they are free to build their own Tibetan keyboard in Windows Vista. They don't have to remain stuck with this particular keyboard layout. For those of users who want to have their own keyboard layouts, there is good news for them that Microsoft has already prepared for such event. Microsoft's tool MSKLC, Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator, allows users to design their own keyboard very easily. You can modify one existing keyboard layout, or even create a new one from scratch by using MSKLC. You don't need to write single line of code, but you are able to design your own keyboard and install it on you Windows system immediately. Once users design their own keyboard by MSKLC, they can use it forever. You can install your own keyboard in Windows Vista and replace the one coming with Windows system packet in minutes.
MSKLC is a free software from Microsoft. It is available for free at the following URL:
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