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Why shouldn't I do this... Am I missing something?


Hey all!

tl;dr Can I switch an QWERTY letter layout to an AZERTY one when using uniform key caps (if all other keys stay the same)?

Alright, so I am very new to the hobby and completely submerged in the 'research before first purchase'-phase.

For my first build, I am leaning towards buying off the shelf parts from different vendors,
just so I don't have to wait months to get my hands dirty.

One thing that so far has jumped out at me is how much more options there are
out there for ANSI layouts when it comes to shopping for in stock key caps.
(Am I looking in the wrong places?)

As I am not an American I am not accustomed to this layout,
although I have to say I can definitely see the advantages and I am more than willing to try it out.

But one thing that is going to be a hell of a lot harder to learn
is switching from my AZERTY-BE layout for the letters to a QWERTY layout.

So here is the question:
If I like uniform key caps (such as DSA) is there a reason for me not to just go with
the wide options available to ANSI builders but simply switch out the QWERTY layout (just for the letters) to a AZERTY layout, keeping all the rest of the keys the same?

Any and all expertise on this matter will be greatly appreciated!

Yes with uniform profiles such as DSA, XDA, SA R3, etc. you can put any cap at any position & it won't look funky profile wise. As for sculpted profiles (Cherry, DCS, DSS, SA, MT3, OEM, etc.), it gets a little more confusing. You can not just switch any cap to any position without it looking & feeling really funky. However most high end group buys sets usually will come with basic ISO coverage (usually just very basic coverage up to UK ISO) & offer a child kit for for more targeted ISO coverage (this is usually where the keys to make AZERTY work are located). If you are looking for more budget orientated sets Tai Hao has started to sell country specific layout sets like this,

Overall though your ideal at the end of your post to use uniform caps & just switching the alphas to AZERTY would be the easiest solution.

yeah you can, it will still work the same way. i currently have gmk yugo on my board with has qwertz on the keycaps but i still have it typing the qwerty. its just hard some times to figure out the punctuation keys near the enter. :)

The only problem you'll have with this plan physically is that ISO has the extra key next to left shift, an ANSI set wont allow for this.  Another thing to think about is the legends on the keys other than the main letters which may be completely or partially different to what the key types.  Wikipedia shows French and Dutch "Belgian" keyboard layouts so that doesn't help wiith what you're used to buy have you looked on PMK to see if any of the international kits will work for you? (link is pre-filtered)  Not cheap and you may have to pay import fees too but they are top quality (PMK is the website of Signature Plastics who you've probably seen mentioned in group buys...)

As to the advantages of ANSI - what do you see other than lots of pretty keycaps and it being supported by every board?  If you're going to build a programmable board you can do better fitting things to your use like putting backspace on Caps Lock (which I stole from the Colemak layout) or if you use Ctrl more put that there instead (as seen on the HHKB)  ANSI enter absolutely broke me when I tried to use a HHKB as I quickly learnt to hit the key above enter for backspace but still hit the same place for enter as I couldn't move my muscle memory from hitting the top of an ISO enter key.  Also if you learn ANSI and try to use someone else's computer and everyone else has an ISO that could be a problem.

There is a lot to think about so well done for not just buying random stuff and hoping it all works together :)


--- Quote from: suicidal_orange on Fri, 26 November 2021, 10:19:56 ---
As to the advantages of ANSI - what do you see other than lots of pretty keycaps and it being supported by every board? 

--- End quote ---

Besides those two you mentioned, I found the reachability for enter and left shift interesting points.
Left shift being smaller and more finicky to reach on account of a key [<] I barely ever use doesn't sound like such a great tradeoff.
Same goes for the enter key really, it kind of makes sense for it to reach closer to my right pinky.
I might be eating my words though as muscle memory is tough to alter but I am in the experimentation phase so willing to try for now!

Thank you all for being helpful!


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