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If you thought the QWERTY keyboard didn’t make sense… try the French keyboard

AZERTY QWERTY keyboard

France is known across the world for its incredible designers—from Coco Chanel to Gustave Eiffel (who designed the Eiffel Tower). All of whom are renown for their unique and elegant designs.

One French design that’s not to love? The French keyboard.

The French have their own keyboard (also used in Belgium) that is known as the AZERTY keyboard. It is also known by many as the being the strangest and least logical keyboard in existence.

While there are minimal differences in letter placement from the QWERTY keyboard most of us are used to (A is swapped with Q and Z is swapped with W, for example), there are plenty of other peculiarities that make little sense at all, even to the French.

Below are just a few of the oddities.

French Keyboard Peculiarities

1. Typing a period

The French keyboard is the only one in the world that requires the user to press and hold shift in order to type a period. On the same button as the semicolon, the less common semicolon is given preference over the incredibly common period. What gives?

2. Typing numbers

Along with the period, numbers can only be accessed using the shift key! Just imagine the headache of trying to create an invoice or add data to a spreadsheet.

3. Impossible to find symbols

Many commonly used symbols such as the @ sign or French quotation marks don’t appear on the keyboard at all. They’re so tricky to find that most French people resort to copying and pasting them from another source.

4. Letter “ù”  key

While there’s no key for the @ sign and the period shares its key with the semicolon, the letter ù has a key all to itself. What’s so crazy about that? The letter ù is only used in ONE word in the entire French language où (where).

5. Letter “a” placement

The letter “a” is very common in the French language, and yet it’s been relegated to the hardest to reach spots, typically accessed with the left pinky.

Future of the French Keyboard

It’s one thing that foreigners struggle to use the French keyboard, but French natives are equally (if not more) outraged by its complete lack of logic.

So much so, in fact, that The Culture Ministry announced that they were working on a new version of the French keyboard in 2016. No news yet on when and if this will ever become a reality.

So even if the QWERTY keyboard may not be perfect, at least we know where to find the @ sign!

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2 thoughts on “If you thought the QWERTY keyboard didn’t make sense… try the French keyboard

  1. Even more peculiar, why would you write this article and not show your reader a picture of the French keyboard?
    Also, the font makes the @ sign very strange looking.

    1. Hi Sara— Thank you very much for pointing out the lack of pictures! I’ve updated the article now to show readers what I’m talking about.

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