Many Esperantists use Ek, by Jurij Finkel. Instructions on how to downloaded it can be found on the Ek download page. It is described as suitable for Windows up to and including Vista. Please let us know whether it works on more modern versions.
Once it is downloaded, run the install program. Just use the default settings to start with. A button labelled Ek will appear in the toolbar. When you want to type some text with Esperanto characters, hover the mouse cursor over this button and left click it. It will make a sound and the button will appear depressed. To enter ĉ into your text, type c followed by h or x. For aŭ and eŭ, the breve will appear automatically when you type au or eu.
The only small difficulty is when typing words in English or another language within Esperanto text with the Ek button depressed. For example, Christchurch will appear as Ĉristĉurĉ because the Ek programme will automatically convert ch to ĉ. To avoid this, turn off the Ek button when typing words like Christchurch. Also when using Ek with Google Apps such as gmail or Google Documents hitting the enter key does not give a newline. You have to switch Ek off for the enter key to work as normal.
This program adds the accented Esperanto letters to your current keyboard layout, so to type ĉ you press Alt + C, etc.The program is proprietary software, so there is a small cost for using it. For further information please go to: TypeIt.
Another QWERTY keyboard for Windows
Another QWERTY keyboard for Windows can be found here: https://skotlando.org/index.php/links/14-about-esperanto. Once installed, you should be able to select it using the normal Windows method for choosing layouts for different languages (you might possibly have to reboot your computer to complete installation). A language icon will appear in your toolbar and you can then switch between it and whatever other language(s) you normally use.
Some esperantists have recommended the Canadian Multilingual Standard layout. It is pre-installed in Windows. To find out how to select an alternative keyboard layout go to:
or for Windows 7:
Use the menu steps given to change to the Canadian Multilingual Standard layout, or some other “international” or “extended” layout.
Once the layout has been activated you can press the first key to the right of P and then c/g/h/j/s for ĉ/ĝ/ĥ/ĵ/ŝ, and press (at the same time as the right Ctrl key and right Alt key) the third key to the right of L and then press u for ŭ. Note that keyboards vary. On a US keyboard that key is the 3rd to the right of P.
Tajpi is a versatile program by which one can type by various methods. It is described at and available from: www.zz9pza.net/tajpi/en/ It says:
“With Tajpi running you can enter combinations like like sx, gh, ^u and others, and they will be automatically replaced by the appropriate Esperanto letter. You can also configure your keyboard so that an Esperanto letter appears immediately when pressing a certain key, simulating a keyboard remap. It’s also possible to use Alt Gr or simulate the “dead keys” which exist in many standard keyboard layouts. Tajpi also has a basic scripting language providing more advanced configuration, as well as utilities to convert to and from the so-called X-system or input any Unicode character upon pressing a configured keystroke.”
Some users find that their anti-virus program prevents them from installing Tajpi, so it may be necessary to disable the antivirus program for Tajpi or create an exception for it.
The default way to (de)activate Tajpi is to press Ctrl + spacebar. This can easily be reconfigured. See www.zz9pza.net/tajpi/en/configuration
Ideas about how to type extra characters abound. With the predominance of Free and Open Source Software, there are now many ways to create or modify keyboard layouts, e.g. AutoHotKey.
Microsoft has a Keyboard Layout toolkit which users may find useful.
Insert special characters
MS Office, various email programs, and many others, have menus which allow the user to insert special characters. In MS Office go to menu item Insert and select Symbol and you will be able to choose the Esperanto characters there and assign a key combination if required.
Various open source programs are available for setting up a compose key. Refer to Wikipedia for details.