I've got my mac two months ago and there is a problem that kinda bugs me to death. It is related to input languages and composite characters (those made up from more than one character, for example in Bulgarian Phonetic layout, the characters 'a(cyrillic a) produce ђ ).

I'm looking for a way to disable this behavior as I almost never (let's say never had to use them) and it gets in the way when I need to type ' followed by some other character - for example when I try to write python comments and I'm in Bulgarian Phonetic, when i type 3 ''' and then press enter for next line, a fourth ' is added and I have to delete it and press enter again.

Any ideas on how to disable this behavior. I couldn't find anything on the interwebs, but I believe it's because I can't formulate my search query right, as I don't even know how this feature is called.

  • 2
    Zdravei, try using Keyboard Layout editor like Ukelele.
    – mspasov
    Mar 24, 2011 at 12:24
  • FYI if it helps, it appears that the Bulgarian keyboard layout uses ` for the dead key instead of the single quote Bulgarian - Phonetic uses.
    – ghoppe
    Mar 25, 2011 at 17:49
  • @ghoppe - it could, but I am not at all used to Bulgarian standard layout, just the Bulgarian phonetic. Thanks though!
    – bisko
    Mar 26, 2011 at 13:34

2 Answers 2


According to similar questions in stackoverflow and superuser Ukelele is the tool to edit and eliminate dead keys.


Composite keys are bound to the 'Input Source' of your mac.

In your 'System Preferences', in 'Language & Text' you will see the option 'Input Source'.

If you have selected 'U.S. International - PC' for example, you will have the dead key problem. But if you change that to ordinary 'U.S.' you are fine and dead keys won't be a problem any longer.

  • 1
    The standard U.S. layout has a few dead keys under option as well. And most European layouts don't have (pre-installed) alternative versions that wouldn't have as many dead keys.
    – Lri
    Jul 18, 2012 at 18:06
  • I can confirm that dead keys persist on every English QWERTY layout
    – Alex l.
    Jul 12, 2023 at 9:17

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