French Canadian keyboards. Nobody likes them and nobody wants them (except Quebec).

All of the notebook computers at Future Shop (except Apple and Dell computers) have been shipping with French Canadian keyboards for about 2(+?) years now. They are annoying. They are restrictive. They cause typos ALL the time. Yet, nearly all of the big name manufacturers are still shipping them.

Why are they doing this to us?

Because it saves the manufacturers money. They figured out at some point that it was getting costly having to ship French Canadian keyboards to Quebec and US keyboards to the rest of Canada, so to save some cash and simplify shipping, they all started shipping with French Canadian keyboards – regardless of the destination.

Why do I care?

I care because every time I type on one of these extremely annoying French Canadian keyboards, I’m reminded how horribly laid out they are for anyone trying to type in plain old English. If you are a hunt-and-peck typist, then you probably won’t care, but if you have been trained in proper touch typing at any point, then these keyboards will drive you mad.

What’s the big deal?

The big deal is that the left shift key is split in two; the left side is normal shift and the right side becomes a slash. When touch typing, it is not only convenient, but simply more comfortable (and probably better ergonomically) to curl your left pinky down a row and SHIFT away. When the key is split so that its ‘sweet-spot’ is no longer actually a shift action, your typing becomes a myriad of slashes in places you certainly did not intend.

What’s more, the enter key is also broken. Typically an enter key is reached by the right pinky finger directly beyond the apostrophe. However with these ridiculously designed keyboards, reaching for that spot actually writes some other unwanted character.


Well… I can’t change it, but I sure as hell am not going to like it. At least I don’t have to own one! In all honesty, I think the manufacturers should allow free keyboard swaps to those who request it, without the owner having to pay for a new US-style keyboard layout. It’s not the customer’s fault that the manufacturers are opting for laziness and cost savings over their satisfaction.


  1. Daniel AJ on October 21, 2011 at 11:34 pm

    So where in Halifax can I buy a PC keyboard with French Canadian layout? (Not for a laptop but for a normal PC, USB-connection.) Noone seems to have them in stock. I want one! Or two, if the price is good. :-)

    • Jordan on October 27, 2011 at 11:08 pm

      It’s silly, but as far as I know, you can’t find a stand-alone French Canadian keyboard here.

      It’s a sign of the cost-cutting lengths that laptop manufacturers are willing to go to; they will ship all laptops destined for Canada with French Canadian keyboards simply to avoid the cost of having two different keyboards going to different locations.

      While I’m slowly starting to see more desktop computers coming with French Canadian keyboards as well (HP), not all manufacturers have started doing this for desktops yet.

      And of course, the stand-alone keyboard accessory manufacturers (Logitech, Microsoft) are doing it right, by only sihpping French keyboards to Quebec. This way, those looking to locally source a French Canadian keyboard anywhere outside of Quebec are usually out of luck.

      How odd.

  2. Jack on April 12, 2012 at 12:24 am

    I am French-Canadian and I cannot stomach the French keyboards. I thought I was a damn good tocuh typist until that clavier came out… I use English 99% of my computer time… I hate the cramped spacing, and I keep pressing CAPS lock when I intend to press the letter “a”. What a nussance!

    • Jordan on April 12, 2012 at 10:33 am


      Wow, surprising to hear! I always just assumed that the French Canadian keyboards were beneficial to their initial target audience.

      Thanks for chiming in :)


  3. personne on July 23, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    There is a much better system for composing any multilingual characters using a compose key. The bilingual keyboard is a useless monstrosity.

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