The german keyboard layout is built in a way that typing in square and squiggly brackets (Whatever they're called?) [ { } ] are accessible only through the right alt key (called Alt Gr).

Depending on the keyboard you're working with, and where the Alt Gr key is located, this can drive you nuts. You will have to lift your hands, take your thumb off the space key, locate the Alt Gr key, press it, and find the proper numeric key above.

I would like to ask a question about this and what fellow programmers have done to work around it (I had the idea in mind, for example, for the quick successive pressing of ( to effect a { character.) - changes in keyboard layout, changes in the IDE, pre- or post-compilers, whatever.

I think I could navigate around the question getting closed as "too localized" - I'm pretty sure this is not specific to only the german keyboard layout - but would you consider it sufficiently programming related?

In my mind, it is a very close edge case, but still worthy to survive. The extremely frequent use of those characters is specific to programming, even certain programming languages, and has a profound effect on everyday work as a programmer.

What do you think?

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    As with all these "can I post XYZ" questions, the only real solution is to try it. – nb69307 Apr 17 '10 at 18:27
  • Just change keyboard layout in control panel and type blind. I've here a Dutch keyboard with the { and } under 8 and 9 (which you need to get by pressing AltGr or Ctrl+Alt keys). I've just set the keyboard layout to US International and it works fine. For the { I have now press ^ and for the } I have now to press | ;) – BalusC Apr 17 '10 at 18:28
  • @Balus neat idea! But this would take away äöüß - you guys are more lucky in that respect. Anyway, maybe with some remapping... I'll take a look! – Pekka supports GoFundMonica Apr 17 '10 at 18:32
  • @Neil true, but in edge cases like this, having some Meta discussion to back it can be a good thing. – Pekka supports GoFundMonica Apr 17 '10 at 18:33
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    I just got used to it. Right thumb on Alt-Gr, right middle finger on 7890 -- that's a pretty quick move by now. Then again, I'm a Python guy :) – balpha Apr 17 '10 at 18:56
  • You can switch between input locales and keyboard layouts by left Alt+Shift. I've one EN for coding (and english forums) and one NL for personal dutch stuff. – BalusC Apr 17 '10 at 19:13

It might be better suited to superuser.

  • @Josh seeing as it is so specifically related to the everyday work of a programmer (namely, especially the Java/C world), I am thinking I would get much better results on SO. Many people on SU are not necessarily programmers, not even the "top brass", so while they are definitely the most competent to answer how to re-map a keyboard, I'm looking more for everyday working experience. – Pekka supports GoFundMonica Apr 17 '10 at 18:23
  • This might be a rare case where it could go on both, asked differently. (1) Explain the problem and ask how to adapt keyboard layout... Super User. (2) Asking for specific IDE/compiler solutions... Stack Overflow. – Robert Cartaino Apr 17 '10 at 18:29
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    @Pekka: You are correct, but at the same time it's not a programming question. It's a hardware / software question that while it does pertain to programmers it encompassed as a whole by everyone who uses a computer. Using the brace keys might be very well qualified for C / Java programmers because of the frequent use, however superuser might be a better place to tweak settings and update preferences. – Josh K Apr 17 '10 at 18:49

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