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Polish keyboard 214 is best

Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446
30 Aug 2008 #1
Those who frequently type in Polish are better off with a standard Polsih 214 computer keyboard. I have used both types and the 214 is quicker and far more convenient. That way you have all the accented letters right on the keytops and do not have to go through all that alt business requiring 2 strokes to type a single character.

The engraved characters also include commonly used foreign diacritics such as German umlauts and ß as well as French accents and cedilla.
You can order the 214 keyboard known as Polish typist's keyboard (klawiatura maszynisty) at your computer dealer's. He can probably configure it for you or whatever they do to make the bloody thing work.
30 Aug 2008 #2
Nobody uses that at least not in Poland...I am used to English keyboard and I don't mind the alt thing... (I am now working on my MA thesis so I type a lot and it's ok) if I were to switch to 214... Y/Z would be an issue... it wouldn't be easy to adjust…
OP Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446
30 Aug 2008 #3
Polish typewriters always had the QUERTZ set-up, so the Z-Y thing is no big deal.
If typists so easily unlearnt it, one can surely relearn and resaccustom oneself to it. Besides, if postage-stamp-sized countries such as Denmark can have their own national keyboard, why should people in a big country like Poland have to pretend to be Yanks?
RubasznyRumcajs 5 | 491
30 Aug 2008 #4
the difference between QWERTY and QWERTZ (polska maszynistki) is bigger than only Z - Y.
now, you can find qwertz keyboard only in some places like train-stations and in some other goverment ruled offices/places. but even them the most popular keyboard is qwerty (god thanks!)
30 Aug 2008 #5
Polish typewriters always had the QUERTZ set-up, so the Z-Y thing is no big deal.

Well I am not a typewriter... and I would have to memorize the exact location of polish letters and of things they replaced ... my keyboard is English as I said before all the keyboards in Poland are... it's just the way it is... people got used years ago... and now it's a standard here... with such keyboards people prefer to use 'polski' instead of 'polski(214)'...typewriters may use 214 cause they have the keyboard memorized but rest of us do it the other way
OP Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446
31 Aug 2008 #6
With the 214 keyboard NO MEMORISATUION IS NEEDED. The keyboard itself comprises engraved keytops £, ę/ą, ć/ś, ń/ż and only the Ż requries a dead-key (first the dot then the Z to type an upper-case Ż). Also engraved in the upper row are the umlaut, acute accent and cedilla, the Czech/Croatian/Slovenian/Lithuanian, etc. haczyk (to type such letters as è š and ž) not to mention the degree sign and others which are very handy.

With the American keyboard you have to go to the toolbar, click on insert then symbol, then scroll down through all the world's alphabets until you find the foreign accented letters you're looking for.

Admittedfly, a lot depends on what kind of texts a person usually types. Tests have shown that when typing in Polish 214 is faster than the American ALT set-up.
Birgit - | 2
9 Jan 2010 #7
Hi, I am new here and currently very much a beginner of Polish but highly motivated, and tonight I am doing a little research on Polish keyboards.

I would like to add this post to the discussion above in case it helps somebody.

I would like to make any reader here aware that there is a SMALL APPLICATION called PiBoard by Pi.Solutions available for free online. It works in my browsers MS Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox and thus also when writing in a web-based email account. It doesn't work in MS Word or Outlook, though, at least with me it didn't.

PiBoard is, I would say, probably more suitable for people who want an EASY solution for typing the special Polish letters (hence they are not trained to type the special Polish letters with either the 214 keyboard or the programmer's keyboard with the Alt business as alluded to above (and that "ALT business" I am going to explain later for the ones who don't know yet what is meant).

Also, I think, it's good for people who don't always need or want to type fast although you can also exit the program or suspend its functionality when your typing gets faster and resume it when it gets slower! This might be necessary because of its function of fast double-clicking 10 specific letters to get the special Polish letters ą ć ę ł ń ó ś ź ż + the EURO symbol €. (You'll understand what I mean once you've tried it.)

To get to know more about PiBoard, please go to the posting in in the /general-language-17/ section titled /clever-innovative-polish-keyboard-layout-must-see-34661/ and read the author's description. Unlike a reader that said it was a crappy program, I don't think it is. I think it could serve some people very well.

( wouldn't let me post a link, so I left out the usual world-wide-wait and split the link into 3 sections. Please put them together again and paste them into the address bar of your browser!)

Now, for those of you who are savvy users of computers, I have probably said enough. They can get the program or not and make it work, if they did get it. Then, if they don't like it, they can delete it. I haven't had any virus come from it.

For the others or for those who want to know what more I have to say, please read on:

So, if you're interested in downloading it, go to and get the latest version, unzip it and read the readme.txt: There's an important note there by the author:

Note:You must install the keyboard layout for the language you want to use...

This means it will ONLY work if you set the Windows key settings to the Polish key settings which are NOT like the 214 keyboard (Windows XP calls it "Polish (214)" but like the other one (that Windows XP calls "Polish (Programmers)" as I read) with the functionality ALT (ALTGr on, for instance, an Austrian keyboard, that's the ALT near the Enter key) + a gives you the letter ą, ALTGr + s gives you ś, ALTGr + c gives you ć, etc.

When you have started the small application PiBoard by Pi.Solutions, you can just quickly double-click the letter a, for example, and the letter ą will appear, or you can quickly double-click the letter s and ś will appear, also double-click z for ż, x for ź, c for ć, e for ę, n for ń, l for ł, o for ó and u for € (Euro symbol).

I hope this helped at least one person.

Birgit from Vienna, Austria


Finally, for those of you who have Windows XP (like me and that's what I can describe) and who don't know how to set a computer with an American keyboard that might have only been used for typing in English so far to type like the "Polish (Programmers)" keyboard, here is the description of what you need to do:

Right-click your task bar on an empty spot, go to toolbar and check if the language bar is ticked (it should be ticked).

Now, somewhere the language bar must be seen (either on your task bar or separated from it as an stand-alone-bar. Find it and click on the little triangle that is pointing down (Options is might say in a bubble) and go to Settings.

Check in the list if, by chance, someone has already added PL Polish (Programmers).

If not, then click on ADD and choose Polish as the input language. Then you need to choose the keyboard "Polish (Programmers)".

When you keep your language bar visible, eg on the task bar, then check that it's set to PL and that where the symbol of a keyboard is, the tick is to the left of Polish and not Polish (214). The latter can only be there if it also has been added in the settings.

Btw, the way I quickly switch between my key settings (German, English, Polish) is by clicking Ctrl + Shift. (Set in Settings of the language bar, click Key settings to choose how to switch).
OP Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446
10 Jan 2010 #8
With Polish 214 you need not switch between English, Polish and German settings because its all there engraved on the keytops. The German umlaut and ß, all the symbols needed to type English and other languages ($, € , @, ç é, etc.) are right there in front of you. The Polish letters require no alt+letter or double typing (ee to get ę), just a single key stroke. The fact that retailers have been pushing the American keyboard on Poles for their own commercial reasons is a completely separate story. (Why stock different keyboards when it's more convenient to stock just one?!).

But in terms of speed and convenience, nothing beats POLISH 214!
BTW, do most Austrian computer users use the American keyboard or a German-language one?
frd 7 | 1,401
10 Jan 2010 #9
All the people I know use Polish (programmers) keyboard set up - and I know lots of computer users. I've never seen anyone using 214.. and a trained keyboard user will be blazing fast despite the need of using 2 or 3 ( in case of uppercase polish characters ) keys and the same time. Simple use of communicators will allow anyone to watch tv/ talk to somebody and type something in greats speed ( that is if your brain can cope with parallel information streaming ;) )
SidWolf 2 | 34
29 Dec 2010 #10
Merged thread:
Polish Keyboard Query

Hi, so i have my Polish 214 settings all set up on my laptop, but for some reason there are still certain letters I cannot get. I can get -ż, ś, ł, ą, ó - but can't work out to get the accented e, c, n, or z. Can anyone help me? What is the best way of writing in Polish using an Anglophone keyboard? Thanks.
sausage 19 | 777
29 Dec 2010 #11
I usually use "Polish Programmers" instead of 214
Alt Gr e for ę
Alt Gr c for ć
Make sure you have PL showing in the language bar
SzwedwPolsce 11 | 1,595
29 Dec 2010 #12
alt gr + e, c or n gives ę, ć, ń

alt gr + x gives ź
SidWolf 2 | 34
29 Dec 2010 #13
Dzięki bardzo, it works now with Polish programmers, much appreciated.
SzwedwPolsce 11 | 1,595
29 Dec 2010 #14
alt gr + x gives ź

This is the only problem people usually have, to find ź.
MrEp - | 26
29 Dec 2010 #15
Those who frequently type in Polish are better off with a standard Polsih 214 computer keyboard. I have used both types and the 214 is quicker and far more convenient.

Yeah, that's probably true. Most Poles however use the polish programmer's keyboard, so if you get used to 214, it will be hard for you to use a computer in Poland.

But in terms of speed and convenience, nothing beats POLISH 214!

Actually, I think Dvorak Keyboard allows you to type even faster :)
OP Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446
30 Dec 2010 #16
I'm not familiar with Dvorak, as long as you dont' have to double type to get a single letter. A single stroke should get ł, ż, ą, ć, ś, etc.

Incidetnally, does anyone know whether the 214 keyboard with engraved keytops showing ł, ż, ę, ś, etc. can be obtained on a laptop?
MrEp - | 26
30 Dec 2010 #17
I've never seen a laptop like this (and I've seen a lot of laptops), but it should be possible somehow...
You can always get a keyboard cover with 214 configuration or use stickers.
Olaf 6 | 956
30 Dec 2010 #18
Actually, I think Dvorak Keyboard allows you to type even faster :)

Yes, Dvorak is interesting, but to type faster one must learn it jus as good as e.g. QWERTZ etc.
Dvorak is also customized for English so in other languages it can happen that you'll write a bit slower than traditional keyboard.
gumishu 12 | 6,084
8 Feb 2011 #19
now that I have learned touch-typing (well a couple of years ago) I can't actually imagine getting around a new keyboard setup like Dvorak - perhaps only in case I learn a new setup and part for good with the old qwerty one - but it seems to me like learning touch-typing for the first time (again)

Polish programmers keyboard is the one that I use and learning 'national' Polish setup (that 214 thing) would be quite a task - perhap not as tremendous as learning Dvorak but still

however this is true that some international qwerty keyboards are better suited for fast typing in Polish (ie using Alt+letter combination) than others depending on the size of the space key
RubasznyRumcajs 5 | 491
8 Feb 2011 #20
Dvorak layout was designated for typing in English- using the standard one to type in Polish would be... well... not the best idea- it wouldn't be faster than qwerty- so there would be no pros of learning it.
coldlikedeath 1 | 7
28 Oct 2011 #21
How does one get „ on a Polish programmers keyboard? I can get everything but this; it's got to be there somewhere...
12 Jul 2013 #22
"With the 214 keyboard NO MEMORISATUION IS NEEDED"

Of course not. Unless you touch-type without looking at the keyboard... like everyone in the world these days... who isn't incompetent.
OP Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446
12 Jul 2013 #23
Every keyboard layout has to be learnt in order to touch-type anywhere in the world. The point is that even small countries such as Hungary and Denmark have their own national keyboards and, unlike Poles, do not feel they have to use an American copycat keyboard.
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
12 Jul 2013 #24
do not feel they have to use an American copycat keyboard.

Wake up Polonius. Nobody has feelings about keyboards. I am typing these words on a "yank" keyboard. However great your super-keyboard is, anyone who has already learnt to touch type will not willingly transfer from the keyboard they currently use, because it would mean at least a month of groping your way around the keyboard (I don't think you understand that in touch typing you don't actually look at the keys at all, it's your fingers doing all the work). Just sayin'.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,454
12 Jul 2013 #25
Nobody has feelings about keyboards.

I think most people are happy that they can use standard QWERTY keyboards without having to pay extra for country-specific layouts.

For what it's worth, as someone who can touch type - using ALT+whatever has never bothered me. It's intuitive and presents absolutely no problem with normal communication.
OP Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446
12 Jul 2013 #26
All depends on the typing tasks. If someone's texts are regulalry peppered with Polish, English, German and French, then using the US QWERTY can be a real pain. For Polish it's OK if the user doesn't mind double-typing for Polish accented letters and doing without the low initial inversted commas requried by Polish punctuation. Also having the degree mark °, the German ß and other symbols right on the keyboard (rather than having to dig them out of the toolbar's insert function) is a real boon.

But no-one who has not made a hands-on comparison over a period of time is qualified to say which is superior. I have and would never use the Polski Programisty is I could help it.
12 Jul 2013 #27
"Polish 214" is like a thunderstorm or earthquake. When I unexpectedly type "yzskownz" using my old good ordinary keyboard I know: It had come! OMG... Again!
OP Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446
12 Jul 2013 #28
That's only because the Programisty has things asrse-backwards. Ever since Polish keyboards were first used in the early 20th century, invented, the Z has always been in the second row and the Y in the extreme lower-left corner. Same with the keyboards used at present in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Czech Rep., Slovakia, Croatia, Slovenia, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Hungary and a few other countries.

QWERTY is great if you prefer to type out 25 degrees instead of 25°, and enjoy double-typing to get ę ą ł ź ż ń ś ć ó.
28 Jan 2016 #29
Capitals Ę and Ó - where are they on the Polish keyboard 214?
OP Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446
28 Jan 2016 #30
Ę and Ó

They are made with dead keys: first you strike the diacritic and then the letter. The ogonek (˛) is to the left of the 1/! key and the acute accent (´) is accesed via Alt Gr and numeral 9. No words in Polish start with Ą or Ę and only a handful with Ó (ów, ówdzie, ówczesny, ósmy...)

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