Published On: Wed, Dec 14th, 2016

Hebrew keyboard about to change

In an effort to reduce the number of common mistakes and keep punctuation key functionality consistent both in English and Hebrew, Hebrew letters are about to be reshuffled; 'The aim is to make things easier.’

The layout of Hebrew keyboards is about to change. The Standards Institution of Israel (SII) has published pictures of it plans for a new key arrangement for computer keyboards designed to prevent common mistakes made when typing.

The Hebrew alphabet has just 22 letters with no capitals, while the English alphabet has 26  letters. Five Hebrew letters take a different form when coming at end of a word.

As part of the change, four letters will be reshuffled, along with a small number of punctuation marks.


current keyboard 

The changes to the Hebrew-Latin alphabet keyboard layout is intended, as the institution has said, to create “improved usability” and to prevent common mistakes caused by the changing function of keys depending on whether users type in English of Hebrew.

According to the institution, the main difficulty in the use of the Hebrew keyboard in its current format stems from the fact that some of the punctuation keys such as the period key (.), comma (, ), and the apostrophe (‘), and the slash key (/) change according to which language is being used . This prevents many users from developing typing skills.

To reorganize the punctuation, the SII also advised that some Hebrew letters — the final “nun, ” the final “pey” and the “taf” should also be shifted up and to the left from their present positions, moving them away from any confusion.



New keyboard

The new improved keyboard layout will be devoid of the double use of these punctuation keys, meaning that regardless of the language input, the function will remain the same.

In order to facilitate the change however, a small number of Hebrew letters will have to be relocated across the board.

Moreover, other letters will be moved to decrease the number of mistakes which emanate from their use. For example, those typing in Hebrew often mistake the ‘ו’ for the ‘ן’ which are situated next to each other, look similar, but are very different letters.

According to Pinchas Shahar, the general director of the SII, “The aim is to simplify the use of the Hebrew-Latin keyboard according to intuitiveness and easier access.”
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