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You are here: Input > Utilities
Short URL: https://scripts.sil.org/Keyman

Tavultesoft Keyman

Joan Wardell, 2007-04-23


This page is out of date. Please see the  Keyman page on  http://scriptsource.org.

If you are looking for our Keyman keyboards see: IPA Unicode Keyboards or Known Unicode Keyman Keyboards.

Tavultesoft Keyman is a utility for creating and managing keyboard input methods. Keyman makes it practical to input many different languages in almost any Windows application. Keyman fully supports  Unicode, as well as legacy codepage-based applications. Keyman includes features such as an on-screen keyboard, phonetic and visual-order input methods, and seamless integration with the Windows Language Bar.

Some of the Keyman keyboard files included with SIL freeware font packages are for use with Keyman 3.2, which was designed to work on Windows 95 and does not support recent versions of Windows. Look for version 5 and 6 keyboards on the various font pages.

Keyman is developed and supported by  Tavultesoft.

Keyman 7

System requirements

  • Microsoft Windows 95
  • Microsoft Windows 98
  • Microsoft Windows Me
  • Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 (SP6 and later)
  • Microsoft Windows 2000
  • Microsoft Windows XP
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003
  • Microsoft Windows Vista

Further information is available here:  http://www.tavultesoft.com/keyman/support/sysreq.php

Keyman 7 Install

It is not necessary to uninstall any previous versions of Keyman as they can coexist on the same computer. However, you may want to uninstall previous versions before installing Keyman 7.

Install Keyman, following the installation instructions provided with Keyman.

Keyman 5.0/6.x

System requirements

Keyman 5.0/6.x supports the following operating systems:

  • Microsoft Windows 95
  • Microsoft Windows 98
  • Microsoft Windows Me
  • Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 (SP6 and later)
  • Microsoft Windows 2000
  • Microsoft Windows XP

Keyman 5.0/6.x will not work on Windows Vista.

Keyman 5.0/6.x Install

  • Uninstall any previous versions of Keyman.
  • Install Keyman, following the installation instructions provided with Keyman.
  • If you haven't run Keyman for the first time yet, go to Start / Programs / Tavultesoft Keyman (or whatever location you chose during install.) This will briefly show an 'About' screen and place the Keyman icon in your system tray (bottom left of screen).
  • Register your copy by right-clicking this icon (a rotated key with a 'k'), then select About / Register.
  • Right click the Keyman icon, and select Start with Windows if you want Keyman to be available each time you start-up.

Installing Keyboards Created for Keyman 5.0/6.x/7.0

Some keyboards come in a package. These are very simple to install — just double-click on the .kmp file and click the  Install  button.


  • Install your keyboard by right-clicking the Keyman icon on your system tray.
  • Click Keyman Configuration... (or Keyman Desktop Configuration...
  • Click the Install Keyboard... button.
  • Browse to the location of your file filename.kmx.
  • Click filename.kmx to select it. Then click  Open , choose a hotkey (one may already be selected for you but you may choose another one or choose none), then  Install . You should get a message saying the keyboard was installed successfully.
  • Click  OK  and  OK .

Keyman 3.2

System requirements:

  • Any IBM-compatible machine with an 80286 processor or higher
  • A hard disk
  • An EGA, VGA, Hercules or better display
  • One megabyte of memory
  • A mouse
  • Microsoft MS-DOS version 3.1 or later
  • Windows version 3.1, 95/98, or ME in standard or enhanced mode, however, does not run on Windows NT, 2000, XP, or with Microsoft Office XP.

Running Keyman 3.2 Setup

You install Keyman on your computer using the program SETUP.EXE. The Setup program installs Keyman, the help file, sample keyboards, and adds icons to Program Manager. You cannot simply copy files from the distribution disks to your hard disk and run Keyman. You must use the Setup program, which decompresses and installs the files in appropriate directories. For more information see the "Keyman32.doc" User's Guide and Reference file. This file is formatted for WinWord 6 and is found in the Keyman folder after installation.

When you run the Setup program, you'll set a path for Keyman and then select the Keyman files you want to install. To start Setup:

Using File Manager or Explorer select the drive icon where the KEYMAN32.EXE file is located.


In this case, the file was placed in the DOWNLOAD directory on drive C. (Select the actual drive and directory where you placed your file.)

The download file, KEYMAN32.EXE is a self-extracting archive. Find KEYMAN32.EXE in the directory window and double-click on it. This will extract the files to the current directory. From File Manager or Explorer, select the SETUP.EXE file and double-click on it. (In the Windows 3.1 File Manager you may need to press  F5  to update the directory screen). Type the directory to install to, or press ENTER to use the default. Select the keyboards from the list that you wish to be loaded automatically when Keyman starts. (Note: it will be easier to start using Keyman if you select at least one keyboard during installation.) Follow any other instructions until Setup is finished.

Keyman downloads

Keyman FAQ

Question: Will keyboards, compiled with Developer 6.2, be compatible with Keyman 7?

Answer: Yes. No exceptions. Developer 7.0 will make keyboards that may not be compatible with earlier versions (if any v7 features are used)

Question: Will Keyman 6.2 work on Vista?

Answer: No, Keyman 6.2 (and older) will not work on Vista due to Microsoft's new security model which took some effort to code for.

Question: How much longer will Tavultesoft register 6.2 licenses for SIL users?

Answer: From Tavultesoft: We will be discontinuing the SIL registration pages for Keyman 6.2 and Keyman Developer 6.2 on 30 June 2007. You can continue to use Keyman 6.2 and Keyman Developer 6.2 where you have existing licences, but new licences will be for version 7.0. The registration page after 30 June will contain details on upgrading to version 7.0:  http://www.tavultesoft.com/keyman/register/sil.php.

Question: Is it okay to continue to use Keyman 6.2?

Answer: If you have a license for Keyman 6.2 (or even if you are happily using older versions of Keyman) you may continue to use the program as long as you wish. However, Tavultesoft will not be developing older versions of the product any more.

Question: Can we continue to install the personal version of Keyman 6.2 for people who only need 1 or 2 keyboards?

Answer: Yes, if you happen to still have the installation program. However, this is not Tavultesoft's preference, and the installation program will no longer be available on Tavultesoft's website. SIL will not be distributing it.

Question: Can you explain the Branding Pack?

Answer: If you wish to distribute an entity keyboard you may wish to purchase a Branding Pack from Tavultesoft for that keyboard. You can choose to distribute the keyboard as freeware, shareware or even charge for it. Cost will depend on how many seats you wish to distribute.

Question: What would the Branding Pack cost per keyboard?

Answer: Distribution licensing of OEM products based on the Branding Pack differs from case to case. Contact Tavultesoft for pricing.

Question: Let us say we have bought a Branding Pack for an Ethiopic keyboard. If someone was using a seat would they just be able to use the Ethiopic keyboard or would they also be able to use other Keyman keyboards?

Answer: They would only be able to use the Ethiopic keyboard with the Ethiopic OEM product.

Question: Staying with the Ethiopic Branding Pack example, then how would a person handle the need for using another keyboard?

Answer: The user would need to purchase Keyman Desktop in order to use other Keyman keyboards.

Question: How would the standard Keyman Desktop version interact with the Ethiopic branding pack seat?

Answer: Both products can run at the same time on the user’s system, and will coordinate with each other to not interfere. Technically, the Keyman Engine runs only a single instance but controls the user interface for both products at once. The user would see two icons in their task tray – one for Ethiopic and one for Keyman Desktop. When a keyboard from Keyman Desktop is selected, then the Ethiopic keyboard is switched off, and vice-versa. The on-screen keyboard is shared between the two products.

Question: How can Keyman keyboards be used on Linux?

Answer: Keyman source files can be used on Linux with a program called  KMFL (Keyboard Mapping for Linux). KMFL is a keyboarding input method currently being developed under Linux which aims to bring Tavultesoft Keyman functionality to *nix operating systems. We have attempted to release source Keyman files as well as compiled Keyman files in order to allow for use with both Keyman and KMFL. If you find a keyboard package on our website that does not have the source file, feel free to ask us and we may be able to make it available to you.

Related Resources

Comparing Keyman and Microsoft Windows Keyboard Layout Creator Ken Zook and NRSI team, 2007-04-25
This table offers a comparison of the capabilities between Keyman and Microsoft Windows Keyboard Layout Creator.

Keyman Keyboards Lorna A. Priest, 2003-12-05
Downloadable keyboard definitions, for use with Tavultesoft's Keyman software.

Known Unicode Keyman Keyboards Lorna Priest Evans, 2018-06-08
This is a list of SIL Unicode Keyman keyboards as well as some other websites which have Unicode Keyman keyboards available for download.

Keyboard Installation and Use Lorna Priest and Joan Wardell, 2009-02-19
Computers were designed to work primarily with English. The problem is that many of us wish to input other languages into the computer. This is possible by switching keyboards (not the physical keyboard) on the computer.
In this overview we give details of how to use Microsoft and Keyman keyboards. Microsoft keyboards are probably preferable to use if you wish to input text in one of the languages for which they have supplied a keyboard. If you need a keyboard for some other language, or you do not like Microsoft's layout, you may want to use a keyboard manager like Tavultesoft's Keyman. Keyman allows you to create your own customized keyboard, or if you choose, you may use a Keyman keyboard someone else has created.
Instructions are given here for installing Microsoft keyboards as well as Keyman keyboards.

Converting Keyman 3.2 Keyboards to Keyman 6 Joan M. Wardell, 2003-03-05
Getting your old Keyman 3.2 keyboards to work in Keyman5 or 6 is not difficult. There are just a few modifications needed, as discussed below. Whether you should convert your keyboards so that they can be used in Windows 2000 and higher is a question that should also be considered. It may be better to encourage users to move to new Unicode keyboards, rather than continue producing texts which must be converted. But there are legitimate reasons for using legacy fonts and keyboards, so this is how you get the keyboards to work.

Building Keyboards with Keyman 6.0 Lorna Priest, 2003-02-20
We will be creating a keyboard which will allow us to type IPA text. Our goal will be to learn how to develop a Keyman keyboard, not to create a complete keyboard.

Some tools and resources for character input 2016-02-08
Links to useful tools for character input.

Keyboard-related registry keys in Microsoft Windows Marc Durdin, 2001-08-19
This document lists a number of registry keys and file types and locations that are used for keyboard management in Windows, and also some Keyman-specific settings.

 KMFL (Keyboard Mapping for Linux)

Page History

2007-04-23 - LP: added link to: Comparing Keyman and Microsoft Windows Keyboard Layout Creator

2007-04-19 - LP: Updated for Keyman 7

2002-08-10 - JW: Page creation

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Note: the opinions expressed in submitted contributions below do not necessarily reflect the opinions of our website.

"Puze Yang", Wed, May 4, 2005 16:42 (EDT)

SIL fonts and Keyman installation is hard to follow

SIL is great website containing some very valuable information, but the process of installing SIL fonts and Kayman is very hard for me to follow. Putting a lot focus on Win3.1 etc is wasting time, IMHO.

"Robert Rodman", Thu, May 19, 2005 15:06 (EDT)

Installing fonts/keyboards

Yes, the documentation is awful. That's because it's written by the same people who wrote the software. User's manuals need to be written by people who are unfamiliar with the system, ironic as that may sound, in conjunction with the people who know the system inside out and backwards. Because you don't want the documentation to be inside out and backwards, it must be written by a writing-skilled third naive party. I'm still trying to get stuff to work and I have a lot of computer experience plus I've been using Keyman 3.2 with various SIL fonts. It's very, very frustrating.

martinpk, Wed, Jun 1, 2005 08:34 (EDT)

Re: Installing fonts/keyboards

Your comment on documentation written by the software authors themselves may often be valid, unfortunately; but good documentation writers are hard to find, and we have very limited resources to apply to this.

Any offers to contribute additional documentation for SIL font packages (or other software) that could be made available to users would be most welcome!

Suggestions for improvements to the Keyman documentation would be best directed to  Tavultesoft, as this is not an SIL product. Note, however, that Keyman 3.2 is long since superseded by newer versions, and we would encourage users to update to the current package wherever possible. A version 3.2 download is provided as a resource for any existing users with old systems that for some reason cannot be updated, but it is no longer supported or recommended for general use.

"Sponono Mahlangu", Mon, Jan 24, 2011 06:36 (EST)

Re: Installing fonts/keyboards

I am doing the doctoral studies and researching on the Growth and Development of isiNdebele Orthography, I would like to request for phonetic symbols to use them when giving the phonetical examples

"gowtham", Wed, Aug 6, 2014 14:35 (EDT)

Re: Installing fonts/keyboards

pls give keyman sftware & fonts

stephanie_smith, Thu, Aug 7, 2014 04:49 (EDT) [modified by stephanie_smith on Thu, Aug 7, 2014 04:50 (EDT)]

Re: Installing fonts/keyboards

Hi gowtham, please see the 'Related Resources' section above for links to Keyman software elsewhere on this site. Specifically, lists of Keyman keyboards are available at https://scripts.sil.org/SILKeyboards and https://scripts.sil.org/KeymanKeyboardLinks. I hope that helps.

"Jimmie Salter", Sun, Oct 9, 2005 10:41 (EDT)

Installing fonts and keyboard

The information that you have posted for installing the fonts and key board is too confusing. I have been working on this for two days and still do not have any success. I have transcriptions home work to do but unfourtuntaely I will not be able to turn it in because of the delay in downloading and installing.

Surely you all must have a simplier way to do this without all the confusion.


Jimmie Salter

jonathan, Thu, Oct 13, 2005 11:20 (EDT)

Re: Installing fonts and keyboard

Sorry to hear you have found the available documentation too confusing. Any specific suggestions for improvements would be welcome; we have very limited resources to apply to this. Given the variety and complexity of systems today, it is difficult to provide instructions that cover the full range of possibilities without becoming overwhelming and confusing for most users.

If you are not able to install fonts or keyboard layouts successfully by following the instructions available with the packages, it would probably be best to look for a more technically-inclined person who could help you in person, working with your particular system.

"May Thu Lwin", Tue, Mar 14, 2006 02:37 (EST)

Re: Installing fonts and keyboard

Let me know how to develop myanmar native font for input method using keyman developer version

martinpk, Tue, Mar 14, 2006 05:19 (EST)

Re: Installing fonts and keyboard

Providing help with developing specific script solutions is beyond our capacity, unfortunately. You may find sites such as  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PANLocalization/ helpful.

"Squeakyted", Wed, Mar 8, 2006 10:45 (EST)

installing fonts and keyman

I just wanted to say that I followed the instructions and was able to install both the fonts and the keyman application within about 5mins. I'm not particularly technically minded, but I do have general experience of installing programs etc. in Windows, usually just by following instructions!

If I can help out in any way please let me know and I'll do my best :)

"Leo Li", Tue, Mar 14, 2006 21:38 (EST)

downloading and installation

I perviously download the file form sil but was insuccessful. Later I found that it is because I use some downloading software which will cut up the file to download. When I use a more traditional way to download the file, i.e. using IE Explorer and download the file as a single whole, I got the download right and can follow the insturction to install the fonts and software.

I suggested anyone who find hard to follow the documentation may print it out and study it for a while. If you put effort to do research work, it is worthwide for you to read closely the documentation and get it done. Just take it as a part of your research.

Good day and Good luck.

"vijay", Wed, Jun 10, 2009 10:23 (EDT)

what font is used in keyman

actually what font is used in keyman... i need to use the same font in another application...

pls anybody help...

"Lorna", Thu, Jun 11, 2009 14:26 (EDT)

Re: what font is used in keyman

Keyman itself does not use any particular font. A Keyman *keyboard* may have a specific font which is distributed with the keyboard package, but that will vary between keyboard packages. Most Unicode keyboards are not tied to a specific font. You can use any Unicode font that contains the characters called by the keyboard. So, if you are using SIL's IPA Unicode keyboard, you can use Doulos SIL, Charis SIL, or any other Unicode font with the appropriate characters. If you are using a Cyrillic or other script keyboard, I would expect any Unicode font that has those characters to be suitable.

&root_type=item&root_id=Keyman&parent_type=msg&parent_id=f7acbe64&link=%2Fcms%2Fscripts%2Fpage.php%3Fsite_id%3Dnrsi%26id%3DKeyman%26_sc%3D1'> Reply
"TS Abeywickrama", Tue, Apr 2, 2013 16:20 (EDT)

When will there be a Taultesoft Keyman available for Windows 8 ?

&root_type=item&root_id=Keyman&parent_type=msg&parent_id=401b55ba&link=%2Fcms%2Fscripts%2Fpage.php%3Fsite_id%3Dnrsi%26id%3DKeyman%26_sc%3D1'> Reply
stephanie_smith, Thu, Aug 22, 2013 07:10 (EDT)


According to the Tavultesoft website, Keyman Desktop 8 is compatible with Windows 8. See  http://www.tavultesoft.com/keyman/.

"anu", Sat, Oct 18, 2014 01:54 (EDT)

I am using keyman 6.0 ver Now I want to type in unicode font

How to type it

martinpk, Wed, Nov 5, 2014 08:55 (EST)


In order to type, you'll need to install a Keyman keyboard for your specific combination of script and language. See the documentation or the Keyman website for further information: http://help.keyman.com/products/desktop/

"", Sun, Nov 30, 2014 20:45 (EST)

how to use keyman in phoshop cs4

i want to type in tamil text in adobe photo shop and illustrator how to get in photoshop give me a tutorial to . thanks

martinpk, Mon, Dec 1, 2014 03:26 (EST)

Re: how to use keyman in phoshop cs4


The Keyman website provides information specific to Tamil, including Photoshop and other applications: http://keyman.com/tamil/

The site also provides general documentation on using Keyman with various applications and operating systems. Hope this helps!

"Daniel ", Thu, Feb 23, 2017 03:20 (EST)

Keyman Install

Pls install the tamil keyboard in sentamil font using for coreldraw pls tell me frds

"sundaresan", Wed, Jun 27, 2018 05:59 (EDT)

free tamil fonts for my personnel use.

Please tell me how to use Free Tamil fonts for my personnel use

martinpk, Wed, Jun 27, 2018 06:18 (EDT)

Re: free tamil fonts for my personnel use.

Hi Sundaresan, your best option would be to search the web for specific information on installing fonts in your operating system, or for using Tamil fonts in the software that you want to use. This might also be helpful to you:  http://keyman.com/tamil/

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