Add Colemak as a pre-installed keyboard layout to Microsoft Windows

Add Colemak as a pre-installed keyboard layout to Microsoft Windows

2 August 2018
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Signatures: 5,241Next Goal: 7,500
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Why this petition matters

Started by Nott Nott

If you use Colemak yourself, we want to know how you use the layout! It is relevant for the purposes of this petition, in finding out how Microsoft may want to implement the layout. The survey takes less than a minute to fill out and consists of two really easy multiple choice questions.

It is highly recommended to press Windows+F and leave a link to the URL of this petition in the Feedback Hub once you are done! This is MS's 'official' way of leaving feedback and helps the issue get more attention.

Colemak is an alternate keyboard layout designed for touch-typing that changes the positions of 17 characters from the widely-used QWERTY layout. As the third most popular keyboard layout for touch typing in English, it provides a more comfortable and fast typing experience, while being easy to learn at the same time because of its similarities with QWERTY. 

The majority of Colemak users don't type on a keyboard that looks different. The keys are labelled with the normal QWERTY keys and users instead type with an installed Colemak layout on the operating system. Most users of Colemak are not hardcore keyboard enthusiasts, instead just ordinary people looking to improve their typing experience. Many users who experience RSI and hand strain have noted a significant improvement upon switching to the Colemak layout.

To type with Colemak on a normal keyboard, the layout must be installed on the operating system. Downloads are freely available so if a user can install programs this is not an issue. However, for people who use locked-down computers in a work environment, or prefer to keep their Windows installation as light as possible, this isn't ideal. Some users state they don't use Windows-based operating systems due to this and opt for alternatives. Mac OS, Linux distributions and even Android from Google already support Colemak out of the box and have done so for years, leaving Windows as an anomaly.

There are two main points we would love addressed:

  1. Add the Colemak layout as a pre-installed layout in Windows.
  2. A toggle to remap the Caps Lock key into Backspace (or another variant of Colemak with this feature)

Microsoft have a stated commitment to Accessibility. This would improve the experience and options to many users that have issues with RSI and hand strain. It would take very little time and effort to develop but is of vital importance to a growing number of Windows users. Even if you do not personally use the layout, it can't be denied this would help improve a widely-used piece of software most of us have to rely on. Thank you!

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Signatures: 5,241Next Goal: 7,500
Support now