MacOS ⌨️ Layout

US International w/o dead keys

📅 2018-04-03 · 2 min

I created a programmer- & umlaut-friendly US International keyboard layout for MacOS without dead keys. [Download Layout]

Please remember, I am from Germany, so the layout mostly fits my needs and probably those who want to write Spanish, Danish, Swedish or Finnish. “Teuto-Scandinavian vivo-programming layout” would probably be a more fitting name.

Preview of Keyboard Layout (opens in new
Preview of Keyboard Layout (opens in new tab)


I have the following requirements for a keyboard layout:

  1. US Layout for quick ([{}]) bracket access
  2. Quick umlaut (äöüß) access for writing German
  3. no dead keys (`~^), because those are annoying
  4. work properly on ANSI and ISO keyboards, as I use both

The standard MacOS US-International keyboard does not meet these requirements. It does contain dead keys. No quick access to umlauts is given, instead it exposes eccentric symbols like the sum sign . Furthermore on ISO-Keyboards (e.g. German Macs) the key left of 1 is mapped to §/± instead of `/~.

Implementation details

During the implementation I looked at the US-International keyboard layout on Wikipedia, but made some adjustments.

Normal / ⇧ plane
Normal / ⇧ plane

The only adjustment made in the normal plane is the key left to the 1. It is now properly mapped to `/~. Please note that the key left of Z has the same mapping. This is necessary for proper ANSI/ISO interoperability.

⌥ / ⌥⇧ plane
⌥ / ⌥⇧ plane

This is the plane that makes the Europeans happy. A lot of people should find their accented characters and umlauts. The main differences to the “official keyboard”:

  1. ⌥+⇧+X maps to the big eszett instead of the section sign
  2. ⌥+(⇧)+X maps to §/± instead of nothing
  3. ⌥+R maps to ë instead of ®
  4. ⌥+V maps to “the rights reserved” sign ® (memory hook: right of ©)
  5. ⌥+J and ⌥+K map to ï and œ
  6. ⌥+(⇧)+- maps to en-dash/em-dash (–/—) instead of the Yen sign


The only caveat I see so far is that accent circonflexe and accent grave are not supported, which does not hurt me, as I do not write that much French. If I ever need to type another character based on a vowel, I just press the vowel longer to open the MacOS “vowel selection”.

If you want me to adjust a mapping, write an issue, otherwise feel free to fine-tune the mapping yourself with the help of Ukulele.