The Right ALT Key and the US-International Keyboard Layout

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Article ID: 82202 - View products that this article applies to.
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When you run Microsoft Windows in real (3.0 only), standard, or 386 enhanced mode with the US-International keyboard layout, the right ALT key functions differently or not at all.

With the US-International keyboard layout, the right ALT key is remapped for international functionality. The left ALT key can (and should) be used for Windows commands.


To check the Windows keyboard layout, do the following:

  1. From the Main group, choose the Control Panel icon.
  2. Choose the International icon.
The international settings are displayed. In the Keyboard Layout box, check for the US-International setting.

Problems with the right ALT key in Windows and the US-International keyboard layout include:

  • Pressing ALT does not highlight the first menu on the menu bar.
  • Pressing ALT+SPACEBAR does not open the Control menu.
  • Press ALT+F4 does not bring up the Exit Windows dialog box.
  • Pressing ALT+ESC brings up the Task List instead of cycling through the open application windows and icons.
  • Pressing ALT+ENTER (in 386 enhanced mode only) switches an MS-DOS application between full screen and a window but does not switch the application from a window to full screen. Also, after you press the right ALT key and then press ENTER, the left ALT key and ENTER do not work.
If the US-International keyboard layout is used, the left ALT key functions normally and can be used for Windows commands.


Article ID: 82202 - Last Review: July 7, 2005 - Revision: 2.1
  • Microsoft Windows 3.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 3.0a
  • Microsoft Windows 3.1 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 3.11 Standard Edition

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