Welsh Characters with UK Keyboard

I recently discovered that certain UK keyboards can actually be used to type Welsh characters. These instructions are assuming Windows 7, though they should be identical for Windows Vista and relatively similar for Windows XP and Windows 8. It should be possible to do something similar in Linux or OS X, but I couldn’t tell you how.

Firstly, you want to open up the control panel. If your control panel is set to display by category, you want to enter Clock, Language and Region, followed by Change keyboards or other input methods. If it is set to just display everything, you want to enter Region and Language, followed by Keyboards and Languages (on my computer, it’s the third tab in the window). Both methods result in you being in the same window, from which you click Change Keyboards.

In the window that opens, simply click Add, and then scroll down to Welsh. From there, expand out until you see the options “United Kingdom” and “United Kingdom Extended”. Select United Kingdom Extended, and then click OK. From there, you can choose whether to have Welsh or English as your default input language, and if memory serves, you should get a little “EN” or “CY” on the task bar to show which you have selected. If this doesn’t happen, go to the Language Bar tab in the same window you used to add the Welsh keyboard, and activate it there.

Once all that’s done, the rest is really easy. For a è, you press the ‘`’ key, followed by the vowel you want. For a é, you press Ctrl, Alt and the vowel you want (if your keyboard has Alt Gr, you may also use that for anything that uses Ctrl and Alt). For a ê, you use Ctrl, Alt and 6, followed by the vowel you want. Finally, for a ë, you use Ctrl, Alt and 2, followed by the vowel you want.

On a US keyboard, the keys required will probably change (it’ll probably be the single quote key instead of the 2 key for a ë, for instance, and whichever number in the US layout has ^ above it for ê).

Just thought that little tidbit might be useful.


Sounds like a great find - thank you very much indeed for sharing…:seren:

After playing around with it a little, you can do similar things with pretty much every language that has accents and the like - though obviously some of the key combinations will be different. For example, if you do it with French, you use Ctrl, Alt and C to get ç.

With a standard English (UK) keyboard layout on Linux (I’m on CentOS by the way), I can write accented characters without needing to set up the Extended layout - this is something I’ve done since the days I used to occasionally type French characters in emails (*). Accents are triggered by key combinations involving “Alt Gr”, followed by the corresponding vowel :

Acute (á é í ó ú ẃ ý) - Alt Gr + ; (semi-colon)
Circumflex (â ê î ô û ŵ ŷ) - Alt Gr + ’ (single quote)
Grave (à è ì ò ù ẁ ỳ) - Alt Gr + #
Umlaut (ä ë ï ö ü ẅ ÿ) - Alt Gr + [

(So to type “tân” I would type ‘t’, then Alt Gr and ’ (single quote) together, then ‘a’, then ‘n’).

As for Apple - I administer a few at work but I’m far from an expert / fanboy. However I do note that as of OS X Panther (I think) there’s a “Welsh” option listed for keyboard layouts, where the key combinations are :

Acute : Option+E
Grave : Option+` (that’s backtick, not single quote/apostrophe)
Circumflex : Option+6
Umlaut : Option+U

(so for “tân”, I’d type ‘t’, followed by Option + 6 together, followed by ‘a’, followed by ‘n’)

Further info for setting up new layouts : http://symbolcodes.tlt.psu.edu/keyboards/mackey.html

Hope this is useful to somebody somewhere!

(*) - I don’t think UK extended includes any grave accents without using Alt Gr + a dead key, so offers no benefit over my way of using Alt Gr with the standard layout as far as I can tell. Plus as I already have two layouts on the go I didn’t want to have to switch between three!

Mac OS X instructions:

First, make sure you have the Welsh keyboard layout selected. Go to System Preferences, Language & Text, click on the “Input Sources” tab, then you should see a big list on the left with checkboxes. Check Welsh (and optionally uncheck whatever you had checked before).

From then on you can type âêîôûŵŷ by simply holding the right Alt key while typing the vowel in question.

I’ve just discovered that the “To Bach” package, which I must have last tried on Windows XP without success, works fine on my Windows 7 system.

Here is the link:


As well as circumflexes, it gives all other the diacritics you are likely to need in Welsh, and I think for French, and also tilde for Spanish.

(Should work on Windows Vista and Windows 8 as well).

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Thanks for the tip. Just downloaded it and it works a treat on Windows 8.1 Laptop.

Thand you for this. Some things can be very useful for me too.

But now I have soem other question which should maybe be separate topic, but I somehow don’t want to split those two themes apart as it can fit together in a matter.

KEYU (Yugoslav) eeyboard doesn’t have many of your problems but there’s one another which bothers me. Where to find Cymraeg proofreader/spellchecker for Windows 7 not needing to download the whole language package for that. I had an issue when downloading the whole language package that it overdriven my Slovene interface. It can be good for learnig though but it happens I’m not the only one working on my computer, despite we have each our own one and especially my husband can be very frustrated if he doesn’t understand things when working. As it’s basically (or better it will be when I buy me a new one) only my computer I also don’t want to create more acounts.

So, if someone has some idea about this, I’d be very thankful if shared here. .

Diolch yn fawr iawn.

A bit late to the party here as I only joined SSi a couple of months ago - but thank you so much! Pleased to report this method works really well on Windows 11 too. I now just have my standard keyboard as “CYM” - I can type in English or Welsh that way!

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