Off topic: Hungarian keyboard on mobile phone
Thread poster: Don_H
Sep 21, 2010

First of all, apologies for posting in English.

I am working on a multi-lingual mobile phone application project which will include Hungarian support. I am wondering what keyboard would work best for the Hungarian language. I have uploaded an image with 4 alternative layouts at:

The keyboard layouts will not have a numbers row and I have set a 12-key limit on each row. Here is some information on each of the 4 layouts:

1) This layout starts with the Hungarian standard keyboard. It then takes the three characters normally found on the numbers rows (ö, ü, ó) and bumps them down to the home row (a, s, d...). The characters á and é are then further bumped down to the row below, and lastly, ű is placed on the bottom-most row so that the number of keys on each row does not exceed 12.

2) This layout is simply the QWERTZ keyboard with the special Hungarian characters on a new row at the top.

3) This layout is the QWERTZ keyboard with the accent keys at the end of each row, so users would need to input letters like ö with 2 separate taps (o + ¨).

4) This layout starts with the standard QWERTZ keyboard. The keys q, w, y, and x, which aren't native to Hungarian, are overloaded with some of the special Hungarian letters (so for example, one would tap on the x to get x and ö). The Hungarian letters left over are then placed at the end of each row.

I have very, very little Hungarian knowledge, and am looking for input from native speakers who use the Hungarian keyboard regularly to help decide which of the 4 keyboards would suit Hungarian best, or if there are even better alternatives out there.

Looking forward to responses. Thank you.

[Edited at 2010-09-21 18:11 GMT]


Péter Tófalvi  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:00
English to Hungarian
+ ...
just a hint Sep 21, 2010

Hi Don_H!

If I would be in your place, I would use the standard Hungarian keyboard layout on PCs (, with the only difference that you have to move ó from the upper right corner elsewhere, for example, in the bottom row (preferably next to í).

People have got familiarized with this layout, why not use it on mobiles, too?

If I must choose from the 4 images you presented, I'd prefer the first one in the upper left corner, with the suggestion of try keeping ö and ő; ú, ü and ű somewhat together (close to each other).

As a reserve, I have a crazy idea:


[Módosítva: 2010-09-21 21:58 GMT]


thanks for the reply Sep 22, 2010

Hi Peter,

Thank you for your input, especially taking the time to draw your own 'crazy' layout. It is crazy, but in a good way:) I actually toyed with a very similar layout but in the end I felt that something which sticks closer to the standard might be a better bet.

Ideally, yes, you are right, I would just use the standard Hungarian desktop keyboard. But the fact that ö, ü and ó are on the numbers row (which my keyboard won't have) means that these keys need to be moved onto lower rows, which means that everything else needs to be rejigged a bit. Layout 1 is a result of this rejigging, but I worry that I may have rejigged too much.

I personally like layouts 2 and 3 the best. I like layout 2 because it simply adds a new row for the native Hungarian characters. While this distances itself a little from the standard, it makes the layout predictable. I like layout 3 because it is very clean, but I do not know how native speakers would feel about splitting up characters not normally split up e.g. tapping ö with 2 separate taps (o + ¨). Is this intuitive? Or would Hungarians find this annoying?



juvera  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:00
English to Hungarian
+ ...
May I suggest... Sep 22, 2010

not to mix up the QWERTY system. Therefore I would not recommend either No.s 1, 3, or 4.

The order of letters are fine as they are, because people are used to it and your 2nd version is the nearest.

(the latter three letters are the ones lifted from the top row, as you envisaged it).

This way nobody has to re-learn the sequences, and it is easy to remember that the odd ones from the top row are repositioned to the bottom row in the same order.

No. 3. would drive us mad with all the extra tapping and picking the right accents.

No. 4. doesn’t improve on the existing order, and your assumption of Y being foreign to the language is only partially true. You will only find Y as an independent consonant at the end of surnames (an ancient affectation) or in foreign words.
BUT there are a number of double digit consonant is the language, and four of them: GY, LY, NY, TY are containing Y as the second digit, and they are occurring with regular frequency, therefore I would not recomment delegating Y to the sin bin along with Q, W, and X. Actually, I set my computer to have Y on Y, not Z on Y, to make life easier.


Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:00
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Location of Y and Z Sep 22, 2010

I just wanted to mention that on standard Hungarian keyboards the location of Y and Z are swapped compared to English keyboards. So, a standard Hungarian keyboard is not QWERTY but QWERTZ.

[Edited for typo]

[Edited at 2010-09-23 11:18 GMT]


Péter Tófalvi  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:00
English to Hungarian
+ ...
inspiration Sep 22, 2010


It seems that you've inspired me, because I've created another HU keyboard, or THE craziest, ultimate HU keyboard layout.icon_smile.gif

Just take a look here:


juvera  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:00
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Neither Sep 23, 2010

Katalin Horvath McClure wrote:
I just wanted to mention that on standard Hungarian keyboards the location of Y and Z are swapped compared to English keyboards. So, a standard Hungarian keyboard is not QWERTY but QWRTZ.

I seem to be obsessed by my English keyboard, but Don's version is the correct one: QWERTZ. icon_wink.gif


Juvera's layout Sep 23, 2010

That 48-key keyboard is pretty wacky. If only I had enough space at my disposalicon_smile.gif

I think at the moment I am leaning towards Juvera's suggestion, where I simply take the three keys on the numbers layer and drop them down to the bottom row. Seems like the least intrusive change...


Update Oct 4, 2010

So I have decided to scrap the old layouts since having all of the characters on their own key makes the keys too narrow.

There are 3 new layouts:

A description of the layouts:
1) this layout pairs up vowels with their longer equivalents (e.g. u and ú). Phonologically, this makes sense.

2) this layout takes things a step further: é is paired up with e (and á with a), even though they sound different. Phonologically, this doesn't make sense, but visually, it kind of does.

3) this layout places é and á on the q and x keys respectively.

Layouts 2 and 3 require less keys, so each key can be made wider, which is a plus on a mobile device.




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