The Whacking Sandy keyboard for writing Gaelic in MS-Windows

Although, Microsoft’s UK Extended keyboard is perfectly adequate for typing Scottish Gaelic, John Cowan’s UK Whacking Sandy keyboard is a drop-in replacement for UK Extended, is free, and gives you much much more. It makes it easy to type curly quotes “ ” ‘ ’, German ß, Nordic characters ø æ å ð, punctuation, Greek characters, basic IPA, and mathematical symbols, all using intuitive easy-to-remember keystrokes, and all without any noticeable change to normal keyboard operation.

To install it, download the Whacking Latin zip file, unzip it, and follow the instructions to install Whacking Sandy.

If you also type a lot of Irish Gaelic or Welsh, you may well, for convenience, want to install the Whacking Taffy variant, either instead of or in addition to Whacking Sandy. Whereas Whacking Sandy only comandeers one ordinary key, namely ` as a dead-key for grave, Whacking Taffy comandeers this and two others: ^ as a dead-key for circumflex, and # as a dead-key for acute.

The README file describes in full the huge range of new facilities which the Whacking Sandy and Whacking Taffy keyboards give you.

Here though, is a table giving some examples of how to generate characters using the Whacking Sandy keyboard, and a comparison with how they are generated using the UK Extended keyboard:

CharacterWhacking SandyUK Extended
à` a` a
è` e` e
ì` i` i
ò` o` o
ù` u` u
À` A` A
È` E` E
Ì` I` I
Ò` O` O
Ù` U` U
`` ` or ` space` space
áAltGr+' aAltGr+' a
éAltGr+' eAltGr+' e
íAltGr+' iAltGr+' i
óAltGr+' oAltGr+' o
úAltGr+' uAltGr+' u
ÁAltGr+' AAltGr+' A
ÉAltGr+' EAltGr+' E
ÍAltGr+' IAltGr+' I
ÓAltGr+' OAltGr+' O
ÚAltGr+' UAltGr+' U
AltGr+q l- (not present)
AltGr+q r-
AltGr+q L-
AltGr+q R-
âAltGr+^ aAltGr+6 a
ŵAltGr+^ wAltGr+6 w
ñAltGr+~ nAltGr+# n
öAltGr+; oAltGr+2 o
øAltGr+/ o-
åAltGr+w a-

Once you have installed Whacking Sandy, you should go to Control Panel > Regional and Language > Keyboard and select it as the default keyboard. After that, you are best to delete any other keyboards from the list unless you know yourself that you need them, as this ensures that you won’t accidentally switch to them (Ctrl+Shift is the usual culprit!) and find that accents have suddently stopped working.

2016-11-16 CPD