Arabic layout for Finnish keyboard

This document describes a layout for writing Arabic using a normal Finnish (or Swedish) keyboard. It is based on the transliteration of Arabic as defined for common use in the Finnish national standard SFS 5755, described in Finnish in the document Arabian kielen siirto­kirjoitus.

The layout has been created using the MSKLC software and it is available (for Windows platforms) as a zipped file, It is based on the following principles:

For example, to write the word القاهرة (the Arabic name for Cairo, transliteration: al-Qāhira) using this keyboard, you would type 'LQ'HRÖ. For this, you need information about the spelling of the Arabic word as written. If you start from the transliterated form, you would need to know that short vowels are not written, there is an alif at the start (not indicated in transliteration), ā stands for alif, and there is a tāʾ marbūṭa at the end, even though it normally has no transliteration counterpart. It has been placed on the Ö key due to visual similarity.

The principles are partly rather similar to those applied in the Hebrew layout for the Finnish keyboard; see Heprealainen asettelu suomalaiselle näppäimistölle.

You may need to take extra steps to enable the use of right-to-left languages like Arabic. On Windows XP, for example, you may need to install “supplemental language support” before you can use any keyboard layout for Arabic (or Hebrew). For this, you open the Control Panel and select Regional and Language Options, then check “Install files for complex script and right-to-left languages” and click OK. On Windows Vista, this is not needed, since it has built-in support for right-to-left languages.