Talk:AltGr key

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AltGr + Shift + s ... Impossible in US???[edit]

I spent some time trying the to do AltGr + Shift + S. I did the following experiment:

LShift + LCtrl + LAlt + s : No result

LShift + LCtrl + RAlt + s : No result

LShift + RCtrl + LAlt + s : No result

LShift + RCtrl + RAlt + s : No result

RShift + LCtrl + LAlt + s : No result

RShift + LCtrl + RAlt + s : No result

RShift + RCtrl + LAlt + s : No result

RShift + RCtrl + RAlt + s : No result

Which leads me to suspect that none of the finger acrobatics presented here actually work on American keyboards. I don't care enough to fix the wiki because I don't want the hassle of registering for it, but the instructions given here are just plain wrong. Maybe somebody else will do that for me.

I find it incredibly agitation the Mojang would be so careless to use such an obscure key in their international software. Some nations, such as the United States, don't adhere to national standards, but only author them.

timothylegg — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:55, 30 November 2012 (UTC)

These hotkeys are only supported in the US-International keyboard layout, not in the standard US keyboard layout. --Matthiaspaul (talk) 01:19, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
It may be outdated but
§ = Altgr + s + o
ß = Altgr + s + s
= Altgr + S + S
I just found the keystrokes on their respective wikipage. FirminMartin (talk) 22:31, 10 September 2017 (UTC)

Ctrl-Alt or AltGr[edit]

  • "On US and UK keyboards, Windows maps the combination Ctrl-Alt to AltGr; in the rest of the world, the right Alt key is mapped to AltGr."
    • Anybody know what the original author is talking about here? As a counter-example, on the Japanese keyboard the Alt key does not map to AltGr, but it maps to Alt. I can use the alt key just like I use the alt key on US keyboards. I wouldn't be surprised if the same thing can be said about keyboards for other languages as well. --
    • OK, I think I understand what the original author was trying to say. I am going to clarify it as follows: "Keyboards designed for some locales, such as the US and UK keyboards, do not have the AltGr key. In order to compensate for this deficiency, Windows maps the Ctrl+Alt keyboard combination to AltGr." Question: Is AltGr+Del (on keyboards that have AltGr) equivalent to Ctrl+Alt+Del? If not, maybe someone should mention that the two aren't completely equivalent. Also maybe someone could mentioin where AltGr is positioned on the keyboard, and if it's called by another name on some keyboards (e.g. for the Japanese keyboards, I've never seen an "AltGr" label on it, so if there actually is an AltGr key on Japanese keyboards, then it obviously is called by another name.) -- 08:42, 6 Dec 2004 (UTC)

So....does anyone else who speaks English natively understand what it is that this article is trying to explain?

This is rambling and unintelligible and should be removed in the interests of the credibility of Wikipedia....Paul Trundley 01/03/14 (ie 01 March) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:43, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

Here are my 2 cents: In most keyboards with two ALT keys, they are actually different keys (they are mapped into different codes) even if both just have "Alt" written on top. You can use the ALT key at the right of the space bar as an AltGr key as long as you have choosen a keyboard layout that uses the AltGr key. It won't have the AltGr label on top but you know it is the one at the right of the space bar ;)

For this, you can choose US International or UK Extended options in Windows. So far, maybe you already knew it. But some US and UK keyboards do not have a physical ALT key at the right of the space bar. For some extrange reason, they preffere to put two Ctrl keys and only one Alt key (which I think should be the opposite). In that case, the AltGr key can be simulated pressing at the same time the Left Alt and Ctrl. From there on, just as usual... (talk) 02:29, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

Japanese on US keyboards[edit]

  • "For many other countries Alt Gr is a very important key, for example in ... Japan, where without the key you can't even type all of the kana. "
    • Again, what is the original author talking about? I can type Japanese fine using US keyboards. I use the Alt-` keyboard shortcut to switch between English and Japanese input modes: then I can simply type Japanese via romaji. --
    • I removed his/her edit - I would like to see higher quality editing and better accuracy with facts. -- 08:42, 6 Dec 2004 (UTC)


A recent edit made the intro read:

AltGr, an abbreviation for "accent grave"...

If it stands for "accent grave", why is there an L in it? And why does it produce acute accents rather than grave ones? I know nothing about the subject, if you told me AltGr stood for "alternating grease-monkey" I wouldn't be able to say it didn't with authority, but this does seem a bit odd to me. --Camembert

I like the recent rewrite that deals with this (among other things) - thanks to anon :) --Camembert
Yeah, but on the other hand claiming that "Alt Gr" could possibly stand for "accent grave" is patent bullshit. It's a bit like adding to the IBM article that the company's TLA doesn't stand for "The Unbearable Lightness Of Being" or "World Domination". So I would advocate throwing that section out altogether. --Maikel 15:40, 7 October 2005 (UTC)
On second thoughts and the same reasoning, I wouldn't mind throwing that "Alternative Group" bit as well ... --Maikel 15:46, 7 October 2005 (UTC)

"The meaning of "AltGr" is unclear ... but IBM unequivocally says ... that it is an abbreviation for "alternate graphic". ... but some informed pages claim that AltGr means "alternative graphic""

It seems to me that this is most likely to be simply the difference between American & British usage: British usage in this context would be "alternative". -- TrevorD 12:50, 20 April 2006 (UTC)

I completely agree with TrevorD's comments above - "alternate" and "alternative" are just two different ways of saying the same thing. Plus I find this statement somewhat ridiculous - 'Even though the meaning of "AltGr" is unclear to most people, including many computer experts...' - is everyone monumentally stupid, or is it just the author who wrote that?

-- Anon, 21 September 2006.

For what it's worth, I worked at Sun during the development of the Ultra 5/10, and as a linguist by education and programmer by trade, my opinion was always that "Alt Gr" stood for "Alternate Grapheme." There were others present who shared this opinion (and some who didn't), and there were more than a few lunchtime debates about IBM's thought process. Either way, there's the $0.02 of someone who was there to see it put on the keyboard.

I always thought AltGr stood for Alt Grey because they used to be in darker grey colour than the other keys --Anon, 26 Feb 2010 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:45, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

My father had IBM PC/AT computers (which was the first computer with the AT keyboard layout) at his office and I very clearly remember the AltGr key being printed with Green letters. This is why I have always thought it stood for **Alternate Green**. I will go for the Alternate Graphic explanation, but I think it would be worth mentioning that the key was printed in Green, while none of the others were, as far as I can remember. jason404 (talk) 07:53, 23 May 2011 (UTC)

Proposed move[edit]

Can I propose we move this article to AltGr key, which currently redirs here? This would make it consistent with all the other modifier key pages. Felix the Cassowary 8 July 2005 10:49 (UTC)

As no-one objected, I went ahead and did it.
I'm not one to split hairs, but on all keyboards I know the key is labelled "Alt Gr", i. e. with a space between the "Alt" and the "Gr". Is this different on US keyboards? --Maikel 15:54, 7 October 2005 (UTC)
AFAIK, US keyboards don't even have the key. I suppose the reason this page is at AltGr is the very same one Caps lock is at Capslock and Pause Break is at PauseBreak...oh wait. Why on earth is this page at AltGr key and not Alt Gr key? -- Dandelions 19:45, 15 September 2006 (UTC)
On most keyboards I've seen the AltGr key is just labelled Alt. Shinobu 16:51, 18 September 2006 (UTC)

Alt Gr On US Keyboards[edit]

So, do ordinary US keyboards now feature the Alt Gr key or don't they? --Maikel 15:51, 7 October 2005 (UTC)

"AltGr" is just the right "Alt" key, in most cases it is up to the operating system to treat it as a different key or same key. In windows you can change your US Keyboard's "Alt" to function as "AltGr" by changing your keyboard layout to " US International"-- 20:08, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
So I take it that the US keyboard doesn't have an Alt Gr key, just an ordinary Alt key to the right of the spacebar? PS: I use a foreign keyboard. --Maikel 17:18, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
The US keyboard layout is different from the US international keyboard layout in two ways:
  1. In the US layout the right Alt key is an Alt key, just like the left Alt key, whereas in the US int. layout the right Alt key is an AltGr key, unlike the left Alt key, which is an Alt.
  2. The US layout doesn't have dead keys, the US int. layout has. "'", "a" produces "'a" on a US layout, while it produces "á" on a US int. layout.
I use the layout switching feature to use shortcuts to switch between US int. (normal everyday use), US (programming, entering long stretches of English text), and Japanese (with IME). Shinobu 15:36, 13 July 2006 (UTC)


  • It is said in the article that "It is used extensively in French and Spanish to type the accented vowels áéíó and ú", but it's totally false at least in Spanish.
    • Typing an accented vowel in Spanish is a two step process: first the acute accent key (´) and then the vowel. So the AltGr key doesn't have anything to do with this. In Spanish (I think it's the same in French) AltGr is used to produce some symbols like: @, {, }, [, ], |, ~, \, #, €.
      • Well, you could type the accented characters with AltGr, but no one I know does it that way. The reason is probably that it isn't faster than using the dead keys, and the dead keys are a lot more intuitive. Shinobu (talk) 07:36, 3 December 2008 (UTC)

The refernce to AltGr being commonly used in BIOS settings is completely false and should be removed to avoid confusion. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:52, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

Merge with AltGr?[edit]

Both AltGr key and AltGr have nearly identical definitions. Would it not be worth merging the two? M0RHI 22:31, 5 January 2006 (UTC)

Merge has already been done. Shinobu (talk) 07:39, 3 December 2008 (UTC)

Problems with Ctrl-Alt vs. AltGr in Windows[edit]

I made a couple of changes to the "History" section, regarding the problems with Ctrl-Alt vs. AltGr and the reason why keyboard shortcuts using Ctrl and Alt should be avoided (now that I'm writing this, I wonder if this should even be in this section, in this page).

First, the original text said:

Windows began to allow all keystroke combinations involving AltGr to be typed by using Ctrl+Alt in its place (except that AltGr+Del is not equivalent to Ctrl+Alt+Del).

My understanding here is that this is a one-way conversion: Ctrl-Alt will be interpreted as AltGr, as implied by the first part of the sentence, but that doesn't mean that AltGr would ever be interpreted as a Ctrl-Alt, therefore what's between the parentheses doesn't make any sense. I removed it.

Then it says that Ctrl-Alt should be avoided as a part of a shortcut combination ...

as those using non-US keyboard layouts may inadvertently trigger the shortcut when typing normal text using the AltGr key

Likewise, it seems to me like the problem is not that pressing AltGr+something will trigger a shortcut that has been assigned Ctrl+Alt+something (same as above, the AltGr doesn't get translated into Ctrl-Alt), but that there could be problems when someone presses Ctrl-Alt instead, either

1. as a substitute for AltGr, as exemplified by the following segment from the linked MSDN blog:

Sometimes a program accidentally uses Ctrl+Alt as a shortcut modifier and they get bug reports like, "Every time I type the letter 'đ', the program thinks I want to start a mailmerge."

or possibly even, depending on the scenario, I suppose,

2. trying to activate the actual shortcut, in which case the OS could interpret the keypress as an AltGr combination as opposed to a Ctrl-Alt shortcut, and outputting a special character instead of activating the shortcut.

However, the following comment, about certain emulator/virtual machine software running on Windows, on that same page seems to conflict a bit with the interpretation that AltGr doesn't get "translated" into Ctrl-Alt:

The additional Ctrl generated by AltGr makes it through to the hosted OS and usually confuses it, because the release of the key doesn't get through. Ctrl is 'stuck' down until you press and release Ctrl.

It's possible, though, that this stems from the virtual machine software trying to interpret the keypress (as opposed to the OS passing the keystroke to the software as a Ctrl-Alt).

I hope my changes were correct; I haven't used AltGr much in my life. --Cotoco 21:31, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

Here's what happens on a technical level: the keyboard sends keycodes to the keyboard driver. At this point no kind of layouting is done. No dead keys, no special treatment of Caps Lock, nothing. It is in this way that it enters the kernel, and this is where the OS looks for the Ctrl-Alt-Del combo. Note that it has to be done at this level for security reasons: after entering the phyisical Ctrl-Alt-Del combo, you have to be absolutely sure that you can safely enter your password. Then, the keyboard layout is applied and by the time applications access it through the Win32 subsystem, all kinds of postprocessing have been done. Note that the AltGr key at this point functions identically to Alt + Ctrl. Entering "Ctrl+Alt+a" yields the same keycode and shiftmask as "AltGr+a". Shinobu 15:45, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
I am using swedish layout on Windows XP. If I have a shortcut on the Start-menu bound to e.g. Ctrl-Alt-M, and press AltGr-M that shortcut is still activated. Without the shortcut I get the µ (Greek Mu) symbol. MizardX (talk) 06:13, 15 April 2008 (UTC)
Which is exactly what you would expect. Shinobu (talk) 07:39, 3 December 2008 (UTC)

Ctrl-Alt-Del with one hand.[edit]

I remove this:

Whilst this has benefits for computer accessibility in Windows, ironically it doesn't work in conjunction with the Delete key to produce the oft-used Control-Alt-Delete command. This means, for example, that computer users with only one usable hand can find logging in to a Windows 2000 / XP / NT4 computer very difficult.

from the article because I can tell you by personal experience that it's very easy to give the three-fingered salute one-handedly. Depending on the location of my keyboard, I prefer either ringfinger+thumb+middlefinger (keyboard stowed away to the right) or ringfinger+thumb+pink (keyboard in front - but then I usually use both hands since the only reason I have the keyboard in front of me is because I'm typing). Shinobu 15:49, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

I've readded that you can't use alt-gr+del instead of ctrl+alt+del. Because you can't. Accessibility issues aside, it's just not possible. -- Dandelions 19:40, 15 September 2006 (UTC)

Yes, you're right on that one. Did I delete too much? Glad you fixed it then. Shinobu 01:41, 23 September 2006 (UTC)

Actually, wouldn't that paragraph have been referring to not being able to use Ctrl-AltGr-Del to log in? Or does AltGr work like Alt in that instance? If there is only one Alt key that works to log in, and it's far away from the Delete key, then that could present a usability problem for some people. --~~

The Alt in Ctrl-Alt-Del can be either the left or the right Alt (or AltGr) key, regardless whether the right Alt key is actually (according to the keyboard layout) an AltGr key or not. (If you can find a Windows box, try it. If you're logged in, Task Manager will open, otherwise the login screen will be shown.) It just doesn't work as Ctrl+Alt, that's all. Note that it's important for security that keyboard layouts are not in effect at the stage where the operating system checks for Ctrl-Alt-Del. Shinobu 12:26, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

UK keyboards[edit]

In UK keyboard layouts, the only two symbols which require the AltGr key are:
   * € the Euro currency symbol. Located on the "4/$" key.
   * Either |, the vertical bar ("pipe symbol") or ¦, the broken vertical bar ("broken pipe symbol"). Located on the "`/¬" key, to the immediate left of "1".

It's also the easiest way of producing an acute accent. Isn't that worth mentioning? – TheJames 21:33, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

using the pipe symbol(|) on uk key boards[edit]

I think the section that currently reads: e two latter symbols interchange places in UK keyboards according to the operating system in use. In OS/2, the "UK keyboard layout" (specifically: the UK166 layout) requires AltGr for the vertical bar and the broken vertical bar is a shifted key — which,..

should have a backslash (\) instead of the dash (-) at the end, as the vertical bar is achieved with shift \.Georgeryall 00:16, 21 January 2007 (UTC)


it wasn't the communist government that prohibited import of computers, actually it was a prohibition by the USA and the western world to export hi=tech to the East because of theCoCom —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:40, 14 May 2009 (UTC)


I have seen some people calling this key "Alternate Ground" ?Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:58, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

I heard something like tha myself. No source, though. Something to do with the fact that the third function of one key was drawn near the ground on the physical key itself.


It says in the article that the situation in Czech is similar to Polish; but from my limited knowledge and what the link shows it's actually quite different. It seems to me that Czech adopted a 'typist' layout with accentuated characters directly obtainable. Perhaps it's so that the situation used to be similar, but nowadays it's not anymore? Any Czech would care to clarify that? --Divide (talk) 03:02, 30 June 2010 (UTC)

On AltGr and Alt + Ctrl[edit]

Note that AltGr = Right Alt + Ctrl, not just Left Alt + Ctrl, and this is how e.g. Word distinguishes between H1 and ¡. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:08, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

Keypress and keyboard[edit]

Some recent edits have involved the difference between characters which can be generated by use of the AltGr key, and characters which are printed on a particular standard keyboard to indicate that they can be so generated. I have added a note to the German section to cover this, but a more general coverage of this somewhere may be better. An implication that only the mentioned keys are active when AltGr is pressed would be misleading. --Mirokado (talk) 21:41, 23 October 2011 (UTC)

The presence of additional characters like AltGr-h → ħ appears to be a property of recent Linux (i.e. XKb) keyboard drivers, and is covered as such under AltGr key#X Window System. I don't think it is necessary to list them separately in each of the individual language sections, which should focus on those parts of the layouts that are cross-vendor industry standards (or, in the case of the German Quertz layout, a DIN norm, see de:DIN 2137). By the way, the presence of h→ħ in the list was the result of somebody trying to fix a piece of vandalism ([1][2]). Fut.Perf. 06:03, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the explanation. I had not noticed that section. It looks as if callouts to a note in virtually every section would be a bit clunky, so I have removed the note in the German section again. I've left the wording clarifying keyboard markings for others to consider, perhaps the other sections could also be updated so that they are more correct when read on their own. --Mirokado (talk) 19:40, 24 October 2011 (UTC)


The official Belgian keyboard layout standard is available in English and in PDF for 53 € from the NBN (Belgian Standards Institute). I haven't read it. The new section is based on this page which merges the Belgian standard with the additional "X11 international" keystrokes. — Tonymec (talk) 01:48, 6 August 2012 (UTC)


The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: no consensus to move, no reason given for the move proposal. Dekimasuよ! 07:59, 1 December 2014 (UTC)

AltGr keyAlt Gr key – Please place your rationale for the proposed move here. (talk) 22:31, 29 November 2014 (UTC)

  • Oppose in the absence of a rationale for moving the page. For what it's worth, my superficial investigation on Google seems to show that "AltGr" predominates and a substantial fraction of Web mentions use the confusing spelling "Alt-Gr". Any added rationale for moving the page needs to address these points. (talk) 02:10, 30 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose for much the same reasons as above. No reason provided. None of the references use "Alt Gr", though two seem to be 404s and need to be cleaned up. Alt Gr key already redirects to here. Unless an older technical references can be found there is no reason to change it. The Sanest Mad Hatter (talk) 18:36, 30 November 2014 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

A : leads to little hole--US International Degree Symbol Section 3.1.1[edit]

What's the sidebar on shift + AltGr + : for the degree symbol °?

Too funny. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:29, 19 January 2015 (UTC)

There's a story here. The anonymous designers chose intuitive AltGr combo's to represent additional characters. Who selected the combo for the degree symbol, and how did it pass puritanical review? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:48, 15 August 2016 (UTC)