Canadian Bilingual Keyboard

Canadian Bilingual Keyboard’s are showing up in greater numbers on laptops and this sucks big time.  If you ever typed on a US layout keyboard, then try out a Canadian Bilingual Keyboard, you will most likely be very disappointed with all the keystroke mistakes you will make.  The only solution is to get a US layout board and have it installed to get rid of the crappy Bilingual board.

Most people in Canada speak, read and type in ENGLISH, not French.  Why ram this down our throats?   Make the French get Bilingual Keyboards, and give the US layout boards to the English speaking people.

Nov. 25 2012 Update Video, you have to see this.  French is talking over computers as the official language:



21 Responses

  1. I completely agree with this. There is not a SINGLE reason why manufacturers should be doing this. Does it save costs? Yes. Does it turn away a chunk of sales and turn them to Lenovo Thinkpads and US retailers? Yes. Do we give a crap about people typing in French? Yes, but just crap, nothing more than a crap. So if manufacturers were smart, they would go back to the standard keyboard.

    When the day comes that 90% of cars on the roads take gasoline, diesel, and natural gas, I’ll welcome the French keyboards into the market in Canada where 99% of people type in English.

    • Today, I just ordered a new laptop, its a Dell with a US English keyboard.

      I have had this bilingual one on my Toshiba C650 for over 4 months and I still can not get use to it. That’s what Toshiba said, you just have to get use to it. After 4 months you think you would, but I still make the same mistakes (hitting the wrong keys) every time I type on it.
      Thanks for your comment.

  2. I am sooooo glad that other people HATE this as much as I do!
    I studied 5 views of a new HP Entertainment Notebook LG534UA before I decided that it had EVERYTHING I wanted, including the old-fashioned large left shift key – definitely shown in the on-line photos!
    But when it arrived, I was HORRIFIED to see that stupid “squiggley” key exactly where my left pinky has flown for over 50 years to get a capital typed with my right hand!
    Needless to say I returned the computer!


    • Yes we should unite. This is not fair for English Canadians. Why does Dell and Lenovo offer US layouts, yet almost all the other makers only have bilingual for Canada? And yes, you have to be careful with the photos, most are of US layout boards. You have to call and ask the company first.

  3. Just purchased a nice Toshiba i3 laptop….Really disappointed about the keyboard situation. I speak some French, but almost entirely will be writing in English, so why the bi-keyboard?

    Now that I can’t return it to the store (past 14 days), I may get a wireless keyboard or alternative a wire keyboard and use that. It defeats the whole purpose of a laptop and portability. I hate the bilingual keyboard and would definitely try it out and return it to the store, if you’re uncomfortable with the layout.

    • I fell your pain, but so far only Lenovo and Dell come without bilingual keyboards. But one good thing with Toshiba is the number pad which is VERY useful.

  4. Well, I appreciate the rant but… have you done anything about this beyond a blog post? A letter? An official complaint? Anything. I agree with you, but a blog post is hardly going to change anything. I’m open to discussion. It’s total BS and the fact is 99% of the public in Canada is IGNORANT about their laptop keyboards. If they knew, they would complain.

    • I did call Toshiba Canada, and they were surprised when I told them Lenovo and Dell has US layout keyboards for Canada. Toshiba Canada told me that was going to change soon, as everyone is going bilingual. I have never complained in writing, because you will not get anywhere. These companies are not going to change with the small population we have in Canada. I am looking at a Dell R15 Switch right now, 15.6 inch notebook and has a number pad and US layout keyboard.

      If you want to start up a online petition, I will sign it. But I do not believe we will get what we want. I had to post this to get it off my chest. It was a rant, and there are others who feel the same way, but I don’t think we have a hope in hell in changing these companies minds to go back to US layout boards. If you have the chance, get a keyboard from the USA, make sure it will fit your model before you order it. It may also void your warranty if you change it out.

      • Thanks for the reply. This is why it’s not the companies that you should complain to. It’s in fact consumer corporate affairs. Don’t believe me? Go to a Canadian online retailer and link to me the correct photos of the laptops that you would actually get. Save yourself the trouble. Bilingual laptops photos actually don’t exist for the most part. It’s not like packaging. In fact the modified keys actually alter the product. It’s much more of an issue because what you see is certainly not what you get. It’s not law, it’s laziness on the part of the companies. In other words sure HP etc could have both versions in Canada but well, that’s a lot of extra work isn’t it. Two sets of product photos? Too much work. The big issue for me is, you don’t get what you see. You don’t get what others have reviewed. Great keyboard they say? Well guess what? That review was of a different keyboard. Not the keyboard you would get. It’s major and it shouldn’t go away. It’s something worth doing a little bit more about. Like I said this is 95% consumer ignorance. Who can blame them. Go find me some photos of laptops (official) that have bilingual keyboards. Pretty hard to make an argument when you don’t have images so you can put up a side by side comparison. It’s a joke. Stick with Asus because they ship ENGLISH. Lenovo also have ENGLISH. Most others? Forget about it.

  5. What you said about Canadians being mostly English is not true. I am French Canadian and need to write my letters and want to write them in French at times. I am also a teacher and teach in French, therefore I need to write my work and student’s work in French with all the accents as they exist for that language.
    As it is, in order to put an accent, I click on ALT + 135 and I get this: ç for example, and if I need an accent on the e, I click on ALT =130 and this is the result. é, this is a way to get around switching to the French keyboard in my language choices, as I don’t like using it. Many accents that I use are not in the same place.

    • Hi Nicole,

      I hope my “rant” did not offend you or anyone else. My aunt and uncle are French Canadian. I just wish computer makers would make one keyboard for French Canadians and one for English Canadians.

      A lot of people that are English do not like the layout on the bilingual boards. I think Dell is the only company that when they list a notebook, they say not available in Quebec. I think that’s because the will supply a citizen from Quebec with a bilingual keyboard.

      Thank you for your comment.

      • In the complicated world we live in, it’s good to find simple sotliunos.

  6. According to signature 84, this is a result of an Industry Canada ruling.

    Not sure how well online petitions work, but at least we now know the root cause. Frustration at the vendors will not help. Direct frustrations to the right department maybe…

  7. To Nicole: If you’re using ALT-135 to access french only keys, then you must learn how to set your US keyboard to switch to French layout I’ve been using a US keyboard for 20 years and I have had no problem switching the layout to French or English using ALT-(Right Shift).

    As for the bilingual keyboard (a.k.a failboard) that plagues the Canadian market, I only wish that the O.L.F. (French Language Police that fines companies that fail to comply with French Imposition.) be known across Canada. They are the ones responsible for Anglophone Quebecers’ lives as unplaisant as possible.

  8. At least we’ve got a workaround. If you wish only to turn the left slash into shift key, check one of the comments. It works perfectly.

    • I am nervous about going into the registry and messing with it, but maybe others will be braver than me. Thanks for posting this tip.

    • I downloaded KeyTweak and remapped the left backslash to a shift key. Works really well, Impressed how easy it was. Plus you can undo changes.

      No more worrying about hitting that left backslash key by accident anymore.

      Would still be nice if we did not have these crazy keyboards, but the fixes out there really help a lot.

  9. I’ve created a petition you can sign at:

    Please share, post on facebook, twitter, email … wherever. Get the word out because I know a lot of people aren’t even aware they’ve done this.

    We should have the choice to choose the layout we prefer. And it shouldn’t be a problem for manufacturers to do because:
    1. They’ve done it since the beginning of computers
    2. They still make the U.S. layout in the U.S. – ship them North

  10. Et pourquoi, vivant au Québec où la langue officielle st le français, devrais-je subir tous ces gadgets en anglais, les modes d’emploi en anglais uniquement, et les commentaires fascistes ? Anyway, les claviers bilingues sont toujours optionnels et jamais obligatoires par défaut.

    Très déçu de ce post…

    • The bilingual keyboard with most computer makers suppliers in Canada are mandatory. I am talking notebook computers. Only a few have US layout style keyboards. If you do a search on Google, LOTS of people hate the layout of the Canadian Bilingual keyboards. No disrespect to your language, but why should English speaking people have to use a poorly laid out out board for English input?

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