Why isn’t a QWERTY multilingual keyboard standard? The US is a land of travelers. It’s a land where many people speak more than one language. When a language contains only 26 unaccented letters, like English, the standard QWERTY keyboard works. But consider the most popular non-English language in America: Spanish. It is made of many accents.
One solution is to enable the US International keyboard, but the physical keyboard keys don’t show you where they are located. You need to learn the shortcuts and location of accents. You also need to toggle between US standard and US international each time you change the language you’re typing in.
The same goes for French, with the aggravation that French uses not a QWERTY key layout, but AZERTY. You could buy an AZERTY keyboard and re-learn the locations of every key – they are for the most part placed differently from QWERTY: numbers, question mark, @, etc. This is also impractical if you live in America. Sooner or later you are going to take a US keyboard in your hands, other than your own computer, and your brain will be wired for AZERTY. If you need to speak in multiple languages and live in America you need something as close as possible to a QWERTY US keyboard layout, with the ability to have accents. I recently discovered a solution, after 16 years living in America. It was time.
The QWERTY multilingual keyboard
Canada has a QWERTY keyboard layout named the Canadian Multilingual Keyboard. This QWERTY multilingual keyboard includes most accents for French, Italian, Spanish, German and other European languages. Except for Asia, Russia and Middle East it allows to type with accents without any switching. You can look for a physical keyboard from Canada with keys already built that way. Watch out: it is hard to find, many keyboards branded as Canadian are not the Canadian Multilingual version. Another way is to find stickers to overlay on top of your regular US QWERTY keyboard. This is what I did. On a Windows 10 machine I selected the Canadian Multilingual language and keyboard settings, then added the stickers. Once again look closely to make sure you are getting Canadian Multilingual keyboard stickers, there are many variants.
You can type anything you want without toggling. Ça marche et c’est très facile: â, à, ç, é, è, ê, ß, õ, ö, ü. Some accented letters can also be capitalized: É, È. For Asia, Middle East and Russia you will likely want to find a similar setup with the ability to type in your language of choice: Japanese, Chinese, Arabic, Russian, Thai, with English without having to switch language settings constantly.