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    Japanese Colemak Keyboard Windows

    • Started by minusmagis
    • 5 Replies:
    • Reputation: 2
    • Registered: 22-May-2019
    • Posts: 6

    Hi Everyone,

    This post is a super small tutorial on how to change the keyboard layout to write in japanese with a colemak keyboard:

    (If you just want to know how it's done jump to *------- Tutorial Start -------*)

    I am by no means a professional with computers, I just wanted to share my experience so that anyone that is struggling with Japanese and the Colemak keyboard can have yet another approach to enable them (and myself whenever I forget) to write in japanese with a colemak keyboard.

    The main motivation behind this post is that, all the other approaches that I have been able to find are, either short responses to user queries that redirect you somewhere, or approaches that I found somewhat inconvenient due to the fact that I have a custom colemak layout (ES colemak with Caps as Backspace) that I wanted to keep when writing in japanese.

    *------- Tutorial Start -------*

    The main idea behind this tutorial is to change the keyboard file associated with japanese to the keyboard file associated with your colemak layout.

    For that we have to edit the registry key on the Windows Registry Edit tool. (Disclaimer: Edit Windows Registry keys at your own risk)


    1. Open the windows menu search for "Run" (or your language equivalent) and press enter (this will open a small window).
        Or press "Windows Key" + r .

    2. Once open type "regedit". And press enter.
        The Windows Registry Edit tool window should open.

    3. On the left you should see some folders, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Keyboard Layouts
        Take note that it is Keyboard Layouts with an s!!! (there is another folder called Keyboard Layout)

    4. Now search for your current colemak keyboard layout, it is usually one of the last folders and starts with an "a" instead of a 0 (windows keyboards: 00000XXX, custom
        keyboards: aXXXXXXX)
        (You must have installed colemak in some other language for this to work).

    5. When you find your colemak layout copy the .dll file name  (double click on layout file allows you to edit and copy), only the name will suffice (in my case it is cmkesb.dll).

    6. After that navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Keyboard Layouts\00000411
         Make sure that the folder 00000411 corresponds to japanese (on the field layout text it should say Japanese and the layout file should be KBDJPN.DLL)

    7. Finally change the layout file KBDJPN.DLL for your colemak layout file name and accept the changes. (You might have to restart the computer for the changes to take
        place)


    And that's it, hope you found that interesting and useful.

    じゃあね :)

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    • Reputation: 212
    • From: Viken, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
    • Posts: 5,351

    Do take care that you don't lose your install in a system update or something though, that can have adverse effects.

    Couldn't you also do this with a program like EPKL, without having to edit the registry? It has its own quirks I know, but you also get other benefits like Extend.

    *** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
    *** Check out my Big Bag of Keyboard Tricks for Win/Linux/TMK... ***

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    • Reputation: 2
    • Registered: 22-May-2019
    • Posts: 6

    I haven't lost it yet and I've had it for over 6 months (with included updates in windows 10) but I reckon the worst that can happen is that I have to repeat the process.

    About EPKL, I do not know what it is, nor Extend, I have tried MKLC but with no luck, and usually keyboard editors do not allow you to remap hard keys like Caps Lock and that kind of stuff.

    Cheers :)

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    • Reputation: 212
    • From: Viken, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
    • Posts: 5,351

    See my signature. EPKL is a program for running layouts and more, very useful stuff. It can also remap your Caps key, even into something much better than a Backspace: An Extend key. Again, this is all described in the Big Bag.

    Yes, MSKLC layouts can mess up your system if you're unlucky with an update – even if you haven't experienced it. The worst that can happen may be a little worse than having to repeat the process. Some users lost their keyboard totally, in which case you're short on options. But yeah, most of the time it's fine.

    Last edited by DreymaR (13-Oct-2020 14:13:55)

    *** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
    *** Check out my Big Bag of Keyboard Tricks for Win/Linux/TMK... ***

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    • Reputation: 2
    • Registered: 22-May-2019
    • Posts: 6

    Hi DreymaR,

    So far I've been using the remapping on the windows registry, and it worked just fine, untill some days ago when an update changed back the .dll file to the original japanese keyboard layout. But I'm remapping again :)

    Fingers crossed

    Best

    minusmagis

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    • Registered: 20-Aug-2023
    • Posts: 1

    1. .reg file creation
    you can also create .reg file that will do the update for you just by double clicking it. In my case it looks for japanese like this:
    updatejapcolemak.reg

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Keyboard Layouts\00000411]
    "Layout File"="Colemak.dll"

    create any text file, input the text above and rename it to .reg
    1.b if you are afraid of unknown changes (you should be) you can generate the .reg file yourself:
    go to japanese keyboard layout in regedit as shown in the tutorial above and click file -> export -> name your new reg file and click save. Then right click on the .reg file -> edit and leave only the Windows text line, [{PATH}] line and "Layout File" line to replace only the Layout file(edit contents ow the Layout file line with your colemak.dll name.

    2. no colemak during inputing hiragana fix
    I had to also set use previous windows IME version to true in Settings -> Time & Language -> Language -> Japanese -> Options -> Microsoft IME (under Keyboards) -> Options -> General -> switch Use previous version of Microsoft IME to ON (under Compatibility)
    to have colemak layout when inputting hiragana with romaji, otherwise only the keyboard when japanese input was turned off was switched to colemak.

    3. capslock as backspace also for japanase
    for capslock as backspace also under other keyboards I used
    capslockisbackspaceeverywhere.reg

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Keyboard Layout]
    "Scancode Map"=hex:00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,03,00,00,00,0E,00,3a,00,3a,00,46,00,00,00,00,00

    reg edit + restart

    4. regedit navigation shortcut
    you can copy path to registry in regedit like HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Keyboard Layouts\00000411 and then right click on path in regedit to paste it and go there directly instead of opening the folder tree on the left.

    reported with windows 10 21H2
    ありがとう

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