Photo: laffy4k

Don’t go crazy over finding the @ symbol abroad — get prepared before you go.

IT’S EASILY ONE OF THE MOST ANNOYING THINGS about not bringing a laptop or tablet while traveling: foreign keyboards. Especially when I’m pressed for time and Euros are disappearing while I’m finger-pecking my way around an email to send home. Even when the keys are in my familiar QWERTY layout, just trying to find the right punctuation can be super frustrating.

It’s like playing Where’s Waldo, keyboard style. And the time pressure just makes it worse: the clock in the bottom right is ticking down…Oh, too late, we’re shutting you down…sorry you didn’t locate the @ symbol in time. You lose.

Keyboard layouts

The first thing you might be shocked about when traveling is that the layout of the letters on the keyboard won’t necessarily be the same as at home. QWERTY (check the first six letters on the top row) is the standard for most keyboards around the world, but others exist, including AZERTY, QWERTZ, and ones where it seems the letters are just strewn about randomly, like the Turkish F-keyboard.

Below is a listing of 33 keyboards including annotated image, layout style, and a quick reference guide on common trip-ups.

EUROPE

Belgium

CLICK to enlarge

Keyboard layout: AZERTY

  1. At symbol (@) – use AltGr to access
  2. Quotation mark (“) / Hash symbol (#) – use AltGr to access
  3. Period (.)
  4. Dollar sign ($)

Croatia (also Bosnia, Slovenia, and Serbia)

CLICK to enlarge

Keyboard layout: QWERTZ

  1. Quotation mark (“)
  2. At symbol (@) – use Alt to access
  3. Question mark (?)

Czech Republic

CLICK to enlarge

Keyboard layout: QWERTZ (it’s also common to see QWERTY)

  1. Ampersand (&)
  2. At symbol (@) – use Alt to access
  3. Exclamation mark (!)
  4. Parentheses (())

Denmark

CLICK to enlarge. Photo: frkhansen

Keyboard layout: QWERTY

  1. At symbol (@) – use AltGr to access
  2. Dollar sign ($) – use AltGr to access
  3. Question mark (?)

Finland

CLICK to enlarge. Photo: nori*

Keyboard layout: QWERTY

  1. At symbol (@) – use AltGr to access / Quotation mark (“)
  2. Dollar sign ($) – use AltGr to access
  3. Question mark (?)

France

CLICK to enlarge

Keyboard layout: AZERTY

  1. At symbol (@) – use AltGr to access
  2. Dollar sign ($)
  3. Exclamation mark (!)

Germany / Austria

CLICK to enlarge

Keyboard layout: QWERTZ

  1. Quotation mark (“)
  2. Question mark (?)
  3. At symbol (@) – use AltGr to access
  4. Hash symbol (#)

Hungary

CLICK to enlarge

Keyboard layout: QWERTZ

  1. Quotation mark (“)
  2. Exclamation mark (!)
  3. Hash symbol (#) – use AltGr to access
  4. Ampersand (&) – use AltGr to access
  5. At symbol (@) – use AltGr to access
  6. Dollar sign ($)

Iceland

CLICK to enlarge

Keyboard layout: QWERTY

  1. Quotation mark (“)
  2. At symbol (@) – use AltGr to access
  3. Question mark (?)

Italy

CLICK to enlarge

Keyboard layout: QWERTY

  1. Quotation mark (“)
  2. Question mark (?)
  3. At symbol (@) – use AltGr to access
  4. Hash symbol (#) – use AltGr to access

Netherlands

Keyboard layout: QWERTY

  1. At symbol (@)
  2. Quotation mark (“)
  3. Question mark (?)

Portugal

CLICK to enlarge

Keyboard layout: QWERTY

  1. At symbol (@) – use AltGr to access / Quotation mark (“)
  2. Question mark (?)

Russia

CLICK to enlarge

Keyboard layout: QWERTY

Same layout as US keyboard.

Spain

CLICK to enlarge. Photo: Yvonne IA

Keyboard layout: QWERTY

  1. At symbol (@) – use AltGr to access / Quotation mark (“)
  2. Hash symbol (#) – use AltGr to access
  3. Question mark (?)

Sweden

Keyboard layout: QWERTY

  1. At symbol (@) – use AltGr to access / Quotation mark {“)
  2. Dollar sign ($) – use AltGr to access
  3. Question mark (?)

Switzerland

CLICK to enlarge

Keyboard layout: QWERTZ

  1. At symbol (@) – use AltGr to access / Quotation mark (“)
  2. Hash symbol (#) – use AltGr to access
  3. Question mark (?)
  4. Exclamation mark (!)
  5. Dollar sign ($)

United Kingdom / Ireland

CLICK to enlarge

Keyboard layout: QWERTY

  1. Quotation mark (“)
  2. At symbol (@)
  3. Hash symbol (#)
LATIN AMERICA

Mexico, Central and South America (except Brazil)

CLICK to enlarge

Keyboard layout: QWERTY

  1. Quotation mark (“)
  2. Question mark (?)
  3. At symbol (@) – use AltGr to access

Brazil

CLICK to enlarge

Keyboard layout: QWERTY

  1. Quotation mark (“)
  2. Forward slash (/) – use AltGr to access
  3. Question mark (?) – use AltGr to access
ASIA

China / Taiwan / Hong Kong

CICK to enlarge

Keyboard layout: QWERTY

Same layout as US keyboard.

India (Hindi)

CLICK to enlarge

Keyboard layout: QWERTY

Same layout as US keyboard.

Japan

Keyboard layout: QWERTY

  1. Quotation mark (“)
  2. At symbol (@) – use AltGr to access

Myanmar (Burma)

CLICK to enlarge

Keyboard layout: QWERTY

Same layout as US keyboard.

South Korea

Keyboard layout: QWERTY

Same layout as US keyboard.

Thailand

CLICK to enlarge. Photo: Daniel Nahabedian

Keyboard layout: QWERTY

Same layout as US keyboard.

Vietnam

CLICK to enlarge

Keyboard layout: QWERTY

Same layout as US keyboard.

MIDDLE EAST / AFRICA

Arab world

CLICK to enlarge. Photo: Daniel Nahabedian

Keyboard layout: QWERTY

Same layout as US keyboard.

Israel (Hebrew)

CLICK to enlarge

Keyboard layout: QWERTY

Same layout as US keyboard.

Pakistan (Urdu)

CLICK to enlarge

Keyboard layout: QWERTY

  1. Quotation mark (“)
  2. At symbol (@)

Turkey

CLICK to enlarge

Keyboard layout: QWERTY

  1. Quotation mark (“)
  2. Hash symbol (#) – use AltGr to access
  3. Dollar sign ($) – use AltGr to access
  4. Question mark (?)
  5. At symbol (@) – use AltGr to access

You may also run into a Turkish F-keyboard, although it’s unlikely. It has an interesting history, though (from Wikipedia):

The Turkish language uses the Turkish Latin alphabet, and a dedicated keyboard layout was designed in 1955 by İhsan Sıtkı Yener. During its design, letter frequencies in the Turkish language were investigated with the aid of Turkish Language Association. These statistics were then combined with studies on bone and muscle anatomy of the fingers to design the Turkish F-keyboard. The keyboard provides a balanced distribution of typing effort between the hands: 49% for the left hand and 51% for the right.

Turkish-F keyboard

Afghanistan / Iran / Tajikistan (Persian / Farsi)

CLICK to enlarge

Keyboard layout: QWERTY

Same layout as US keyboard.

US-style keyboard

For those of you not familiar with the US keyboard, take note.

CLICK to enlarge

Keyboard layout: QWERTY

  1. Exclamation mark (!)
  2. At symbol (@)
  3. Hash symbol (#)
  4. Ampersand (&)
  5. Question mark (?)
  6. Quotation mark (“)

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