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Title: Qwertz  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: QWERTY, German keyboard layout, ISO/IEC 9995, Dvorak Simplified Keyboard, Romanian keyboard layout
Collection: Computer Keyboards, Latin-Script Keyboard Layouts
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Geographic distribution of keyboards in Europe:
  National layout (Turkey FGĞIOD, Latvia ŪGJRMV, Lithuania ĄŽERTY)
  No-latin alphabet
The QWERTZ keyboard layout used in Germany and Austria.
The QWERTZ keyboard layout used in Switzerland.
The QWERTZ keyboard layout used in Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The QWERTZ keyboard layout used in Hungary.
QWERTZ keyboard of old Swiss typewriter
A computer QWERTZ keyboard
BlackBerry Torch QWERTZ Keyboard

The QWERTZ or QWERTZU keyboard is a widely used computer and typewriter keyboard layout that is mostly used in Central Europe. The name comes from the first six letters at the top left of the keyboard: Q, W, E, R, T, and Z.

The main difference between QWERTZ and QWERTY is that the positions of the "Z" and "Y" keys are switched, this change being made for two major reasons:

  • "Z" is a much more common letter than "Y" in German; the latter rarely appears outside words whose spellings reflect either their importation from a foreign language or the Hellenization of an older German form under the influence of Ludwig I of Bavaria.
  • "T" and "Z" often appear next to each other in the German orthography, and placing the two keys next to each other minimizes the effort needed for typing the two characters in sequence (cf. the use of a single-block tz ligature in many early mechanical printing presses using fraktur typefaces).

The East Cantoons, the German speaking part of Belgium uses the AZERTY keyboard.

Like in many other non-English keyboards:

  • Part of the keyboard is adapted to include language-specific characters, e.g. umlauted vowels (ä, ö, ü) in German and Austrian keyboards.
  • QWERTZ keyboards usually change the right Alt key into an Alt Gr key to access a third level of key assignments. This is necessary because the language-specific characters leave no room to have all the special symbols of ASCII, needed by programmers among others, available on the first or second (shifted) levels without unduly increasing the size of the keyboard.
  • The placements of some special symbols are changed when compared to the English (UK and US) versions of QWERTY.

Some of special key inscriptions are often changed from an abbreviation to a graphical symbol (for example "Caps Lock" becomes a hollow arrow pointing down, "Backspace" becomes a left-pointing arrow). In German and Austrian keyboards, most of the other abbreviations are replaced by German abbreviations (thus e.g. "Ctrl" for "control" is translated to its German equivalent "Strg" for "Steuerung"). "Esc" for "escape" and "Enter" on the numeric keypad are not translated however.

A QWERTZ keyboard layout is sometimes informally nicknamed a kezboard, substituting the y with a z.


  • Variants 1
    • Austria and Germany 1.1
    • Czech (QWERTZ) 1.2
    • Hungary 1.3
    • Poland 1.4
    • Slovak (QWERTZ) 1.5
    • South Slavic Latin 1.6
    • Switzerland (German, French, Italian, Romansh), Liechtenstein, Luxembourg 1.7
  • See also 2
  • References 3


The QWERTZ layout is fairly widely used in Germany and in the majority of Central European and Balkan countries that use the Latin script.

Austria and Germany

German keyboard layout “T2” according to DIN 2137:2012-06.
The characters shown in black are present in the traditional ”T1” layout also.

The PC keyboard layout commonly used in Germany and Austria is based on one defined in a former edition (October 1988) of the German standard DIN 2137-2. The current edition DIN 2137:2012-06 standardizes it as the first (basic) one of three layouts, calling it “T1” (“Tastaturbelegung 1” = “keyboard layout 1”).

It employs dead keys to type accented characters like “é”, and the AltGr key to access characters in the third level (e.g. “[”, “]”, “@”, the Euro sign “€”, or the Capital ẞ). The “T2” layout as specified in the 2012 edition of the German standard also uses the group selection to access special characters like the long s, or foreign characters like “Æ” or “Ə”.

Czech (QWERTZ)

Czech QWERTZ keyboard layout

The QWERTZ keyboard layout is commonly used in the Czech Republic, but the QWERTY variant is an option. (The layout in the picture is a combination of the CZ QWERTZ and US keyboard layout.)


Hungarian keyboard layout
Alternative Hungarian keyboard layout

Note that on some keyboards "ű" is found to the right of the right Shift key, or the right of the "ó" key with a smaller backspace key and larger Enter key. Also, many Hungarians who were not exposed to typewriters, but started using computers when Hungarian keyboards were uncommon or unavailable, still prefer the layout with the y/z keys in their QWERTY locations because that is what they are used to. The same applies to Hungarians who frequently switch between a QWERTY and a Hungarian layout (for example because they write in several different languages).


Polish keyboard for typewriters according to PN-87.
Polish QWERTZ keyboard used on Macintosh.
Layout PL-214 used in MS-DOS, Windows and Linux.

A variant of the QWERTZ keyboard has been used in Poland, but QWERTY keyboards have been dominant since the early 1990s.

Slovak (QWERTZ)

Slovak QWERTZ keyboard layout

Typewriters in Slovakia have used the QWERTZ layout quite similar to the layout used on the Czech typewriters. Slovak QWERTZ layout differs from the Czech one in using the letter ľ instead of the Czech ě on the same position, also the letter ť is on the position of Czech ř and the letter ô is on the position of Czech ů. There are 2 more keys that differ in these 2 languages: Slovak ä ( key replaces the Czech ( ) key and Slovak ň ) key replaces the Czech ' ¨ key. There are 17 characters from American keyboard (@#$&\|[]{}<>^`~*') that are missing on the Slovak keyboard because of the presence of the Slovak letters (ľščňťžôúáíýéä°´ˇ§). Users can access them with the AltGr key, however, position of these characters varies between different operating systems. Besides the QWERTZ keyboard layout inherited from the typewriter era, QWERTY layout is also used by computer users in Slovakia. The only difference is that the Y and Z keys are swapped.

South Slavic Latin

Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian and Slovene keyboard layout

The Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian Latin and Slovene keyboard layout has five additional special characters Č, Ć, Ž, Š and Đ. This keyboard layout was standardized in the 1980s in Yugoslavia. Characters Ć and Đ are only part of Gaj's Latin alphabet but not part of the Slovene alphabet, nevertheless they remain in Slovenian keyboards (for economic reasons, for historical reasons and for writing words in the closely related South Slavic languages). The Ž is on the right side of the Ć key on keyboards which have a longer Backspace key, and the usual inverted L shaped Enter key. The layout makes heavy use of the AltGr (right Alt) key for non-alphabetic characters and dead key combinations for adding diacritics to Latin characters. It is possible to type German and Italian using only the Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian keyboard layout.

There is a proposed variant of new Slovene keyboard layout, which would remove Ć and Đ from top layout and add @ instead. The command keys would also become translated into Slovene and some minor second level layout changes would be made.[1]

For Serbian, there is also a Cyrillic keyboard variant.

Switzerland (German, French, Italian, Romansh), Liechtenstein, Luxembourg

Swiss keyboard layout

The layout of the Swiss keyboard is designed to allow easy access to frequently used accents of the French, German and Italian languages. The difference between the Swiss German (sg) and the Swiss French (sf) layout is that the German variety has the German umlauts (ä, ö, ü) accessible without dead keys, while the French version has the French accented characters (é, à, è) accessible in the unshifted state. The actual keyboards have the keys engraved for both variations; the difference is only in the driver setting. In the latest versions of Windows there are also separately listed driver settings for Swiss Italian and Swiss Romansh, but they correspond to the Swiss French and Swiss German layout, respectively. In Mac OS X 10.6 only Swiss French and Swiss German is available.

On Windows, Swiss German does not include the esszett (ß) ligature, which is only used in Germany and Austria, and so that letter is not found on the keyboard. Linux typically assigns ß to AltGr-s.

While the German keyboard uses German-language abbreviations (e.g. Strg for German Steuerung instead of Ctrl for Control), Swiss keyboards use the English abbreviations as a "neutral" solution, as they are used for all the national languages of Switzerland.

Luxembourg does not have a keyboard layout of its own. Public education uses the Swiss-French keyboard, while the banking sector prefers the Belgian layout . Other places use either or the US layout. Liechtenstein, which mostly speaks Swiss German and Liechtenstein German dialect also use the Swiss German layout without an ß character.

See also


  1. ^
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