The Gujarati and Hindi Phonetic Keyboard Layouts for Microsoft Windows

Download the Phonetic Keyboard Layouts Here

Most people do not own a physical Gujarati keyboard which has Gujarati letters etched on the keys. Instead, they own an English keyboard with English letters etched on the keys. This makes it difficult to type Gujarati as you wouldn't know where the Gujarati characters are located without a reference image. However, people seem to equate Gujarati consonants and English consonants phonetically. Hence, I created the Gujarati and Hindi phonetic keyboard layouts that are shown below. Once you learn how the keys are mapped, typing Gujarati and Hindi will become second nature.

Gujarati Phonetic Keyboard Layout Key Maps

Image 1: Gujarati Phonetic Keyboard Layout - Normal State
Normal State of Gujarati Phonetic keyboard layout

Image 2: Gujarati Phonetic Keyboard Layout - Shift State
Shift State of Gujarati Phonetic keyboard layout

Image 3: Gujarati Phonetic Keyboard Layout - Ctrl+Alt State
Ctrl+Alt State of Gujarati Phonetic keyboard layout

Hindi Phonetic Keyboard Layout Key Maps

Image 1: Hindi Phonetic Keyboard Layout - Normal State
Normal State of Hindi Phonetic keyboard layout

Image 2: Hindi Phonetic Keyboard Layout - Shift State
Shift State of Hindi Phonetic keyboard layout

Image 3: Hindi Phonetic Keyboard Layout - Ctrl+Alt State
Ctrl+Alt State of Hindi Phonetic keyboard layout

Microsoft Windows comes with a default Gujarati keyboard layout (which is simply called Gujarati). This keyboard seems to have been developed or used by the Department of Engineering (or DOE) in India. The problem with this built-in default Gujarati keyboard layout is that it doesn't work well if you have an English keyboard. Hence, I created the Gujarati Phonetic and Hindi Phonetic keyboard layouts to make typing more suitable for an English keyboard.

I used the Harikrishna font map as a guide, but there are certainly differences as the Harikrishna font is a non-Unicode font. Below is a discussion of the special characters.

Special Keys Placement

The phonetic consonants are placed as according to Images 1 and 2 above. I also remapped the Gujarati numerals to coincide with the English numerals. There are a certain few exceptions to the phonetic placements because there are more Gujarati consonants than English consonants, but these can be learned easily and need no discussion. I will explain the placement of only certain special keys here.

Virama Accent (્)

The first key to familiarize is the VIRAMA accent (called halant in English), which looks like ્ on the layout. As you have learned this key allows us to type conjuncts without remembering any codes. It takes the place of the apostrophe key in an English keyboard, making it very accessible. In addition to forming conjuncts, this key also allows us to combine two consonants where the first doesn't have a "half-looking" character. For example, half of an "Ma" is મ્‍ , but what about ટ, ડ, and દ?

The virama is used as an accent in Gujarati to form conjuncts with consonants that do not have the half form. In the word ષટ્કોણ, "ટ" doesn't have a half-form. Hence, we would use the virama to indicate it is in conjunction with "ક". The virama allows us to make as many conjuncts as needed, allowing words like ઈર્ષ્યા (ઈ + ર + ્ + ષ + ્ + ય + ા).

The virama is also used for full consonants when they are pronounced abruptly, especially at the end of a word in Sanskrit shlokas, as in the example:

પ્રસંગમજરં પાશમાત્મનઃ કવયો વિદુઃ ।
સ એવ સાધુષુ કૃતો મોક્ષદ્વારમપાવૃતમ્ ॥

The final મ has a virama so it is pronounced abruptly. After learning the use of the virama key, everything else is simply familiarizing yourself with the keys placement.

Zero Width Joiner (ZWJ)

I'm going to interrupt a bit to introduce the "zero width joiner". This key is actually not a character used in writing, only in typing. The virama key automatically joins two characters if they are joinable. Sometimes, one needs to intentionally show the virama accent rather than join the characters to form a conjunct. This occurs with દ. When writing સદ્ગુરુ (sadguru), notice the funny-looking દ્ગ. That is actually a conjunct of દ and ગ. However, traditionally, we represent this conjunct separately with the virama. The preferred way of writing this would be સદ્‍ગુરુ. This is where the ZWJ comes in handy. This is a key that allows us to enter a zero-space entity between the virama and ગ so that they are not joined together; rather દ is joined to the zero-space. The key is assigned Ctrl+Shift+1 in the default layout and I have kept it the same.

Additionally, one can type half of a consonant with the virama followed by the zero width joiner: મ + ્ + Ctrl+Shift+1 = મ્‍ . (Note that you can't "see" the ZWJ.) If we omit the ZWJ, then we would obtain મ્.

Vowels and Accents

Commonly used Gujarati vowels are placed according to the English vowels, as can be seen in the images above. The anomaly is the ા. Instead of assigning ી and િ to the I key, I put ા on the little "i" key as it is on the Harikrishna font. It's a very often used key and there were keys lacking for this one. I moved the િ to Shift+8, right above the little "i". Both ઉ and ઊ are rarely used. As the "W" has no equivalent in Gujarati, this seemed to be a natural fit.

There are two other accents worth noting. The first is the key that allows us to write conjuncts with "Ru" as in કૃષ્ણ (Krushna) and વૃન્દાવન (Vrundavan). That key is for the VOCALIC RR (ૃ) and is assigned the uppercase Z just as in the Harikrishna font.


The ANUSVARA that is used to form conjuncts with "N" or "M" is the other notable punctuation. The alternate way of writing Vrundavan would be with an anusvara for the half ન: વૃંદાવન. The anusvara key is placed as Shift+Period just as in the Harikrishan font. It can be used alone or in conjunction with other punctuations.

  • સંસ્થા = sanstha; used alone to form N
  • સંપ્રદાય = sampraday; used alone to form M
  • ચરણાર્વિંદ = charanarvind; used with other punctuations

The anusvara is also used for Gujarati verbs. The English combination of [to + verbs] such as "to drink," "to eat," and "to play" are translated as ખાવું, પીવું, and રમવું. When verbs are written this way, the anusvara is added at the end. Seemingly silent, it's pronunciation is the nasal "n". રમવું would be pronounced "ramavun".

Candra Vowels and Vowel Signs

There are 2 special vowels, called the CANDRA vowels, that are often used in Gujarati. Shown in Table 4 on the Unicode page, these are used for pronunciations that do not fit the "E" or "O" quite perfectly. For example, if we were to write the English word "magazine" in Gujarati, we would have to account for the difference in pronunciation of "ma" and "ga." મેગેઝીન does not quite fit the pronunciation as it's not really મે. The correct way would be મૅગેઝીન. Similarly, doctor is not written ડોક્ટર, but as ડૉક્ટર. ઍ and ઑ are the candra vowels and their accents are the vowel signs, respectively. These keys are found in the Shift state and Ctrl+Alt state as the less than sign and back slash.


The Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator also lets us assign multiple keystrokes to a key. Hence, "J" is actually a combination of જ + ી = જી. This follows the Harikrishna font. The other keys that are shared with Harikrishna font are M, H, x, X, V, and #, which are

  • હ્મ = હ + ્ + મ
  • હ્ય = હ + ્ + ય
  • ક્ષ = ક + ્ + ષ
  • જ્ઞ = જ + ્ + ઞ
  • શ્વ = શ + ્ + વ
  • ત્ર = ત + ્ + ર

Order Matters

Aside from what you have learned, there is nothing more to typing Gujarati. One only needs to know which individual characters form the conjuncts and the order in which they are pronounced. The order is easily discernible in most cases. For consonants, the one that is pronounced first is written first. For punctuations, they always go last. Here are some more examples (not showing the virama):

  • ઈર્ષ્યા --> ર then ષ then ય
  • પ્રમુખ --> પ then ર
  • ભક્તિ --> ક then ત then punctuation િ
  • સમર્પીત --> ર then પ then ી
  • માહાત્મ્ય --> ત then મ then ય

And that should conclude the methods of typing in Gujarati. Next, I'll show you how to install Gujarati language support in Windows. You can also download my Gujarati Phonetic keyboard layout.