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Dead Character Editor

Feature available only in Premium and Personal editions.

Note: if you are new to KbdEdit, we recommend that you read the Introduction first. If you are interested in learning more about the internal structure of Windows keyboard layouts, Administration and deployment is a great place to start.

Dead Character editor is where layout's "dead character" table is defined. This editor allows you to:

Once created in this editor, dead characters become available for assignment to actual keys in the High Level editor (see Key mapping editor popup dialog for details).

KbdEdit screenshot dead character diacritic table editor

"Dead" characters (also known as diacritics) do not produce any characters themselves - hence the name "dead" - but they affect behavior of the next key pressed. Their intended use is the generation of accentuated versions of "plain" letter characters.

For example, when a dead character ^ (circumflex) is pressed, no immediate action takes place, but Windows "remembers" that the following "live" character should be produced in its "circumflex"-accentuated version (if such version exists and makes sense, like in the case of letter A whose circumflexed version is ).

The matching of "dead" character, "plain" character, and plain character's accentuated version is not done automatically. Instead, each keyboard layout defines its own table of dead key "triplets" (dead / plain / accentuated character). It is entirely up to the layout's author to create a sensible dead-char table.

For an extreme example of a dead char table, take a look at the "Greek Polytonic" layout which is part of standard Windows installation. It defines some 33 (!) dead keys and an enormous number of accentuated versions of basic Greek letters (in order to see all of them, you will probably need to activate a font with broad Unicode coverage, like Arial Unicode MS).

For detailed instructions on how to define the dead character table see Dead character list and Dead character properties.

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