# Swedish Colemak Hack

I have been using the Colemak keyboard layout for at least 10 years now. And even though it requires me to press the AltGr key to produce the relatively common Swedish letters Å, Ä and Ö, I have stuck to the default11 Because mapping those onto layer one of the keyboard means you have to displace six other symbols – which ones? And where should they go? I didn’t have a good answer to this, so I didn’t want to do it..

Today, I added the following to my ~/.Xmodmap:

keycode 33 = adiaeresis Adiaeresis
keycode 34 = aring Aring aring Aring bracketleft braceleft
keycode 35 = semicolon colon semicolon colon bracketright braceright
keycode 48 = odiaeresis Odiaeresis
keycode 51 = apostrophe quotedbl apostrophe quotedbl bar backslash


This moves the characters []{}|\ to the third layer (i.e. they now require AltGr) but in a way that is much more sensible than the standard Swedish qwerty. It also scoots '";: slightly to the right, which is probably going to be the most difficult thing to get used to22 But I think it helps that they are the same relative to each other – they’ve just moved a little bit to the side..

So, if you excuse my terrible ascii art skills, this is what I get with no modifiers:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 - =
q w f p g j l u y ö å ;
a r s t d h n e i o ä '
z x c v b k m , . /


This is what it looks like with shift held down:

! @ # \$ % ^ & * ( ) _ +
Q W F P G J L U Y Ö Å :
A R S T D H N E I O Ä "
~ Z X C V B K M < > ?


With AltGr, where most accents are dead (i.e. they will attach to the next letter I press):

¡ º ª ¢ € ħ ð þ ‘ ’ – ×
ä å ã ø ˛ đ ł ú ü ö [ ]
á  ß ' " ˇ ñ é í ó ~ |
~ æ ^ ç œ ˘ ° ¯ ¸ ˙ ¿


And, finally, with both shift and AltGr:

¹ ² ³ £ ¥ Ħ Ð Þ “ ” — ÷
Ä Å Ã Ø ~ Đ Ł Ú Ü Ö { }
Á ~ ~ ˝ ~ Ñ É Í Ó ~ \
~ Æ ~ Ç Œ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


A lot of this layer goes unused by me, which I guess I should take advantage of at some point … It’s just that since I started using Emacs with its interactive insert-char, the motivation for me to have exotic symbols mapped to keyboard keys has dropped drastically.