I read here that "The standard U.S. layout has a few dead key stated under ". Does that mean that pressing Alt+that key would make that key act as a dead one?

I am looking for a layout that uses as dead keys the symbols that look like accents before the letters that one wants accented, like the "US-International" in Win7 and "English-US, with dead keys" in Ubuntu-Linux. In these layouts, the keys for ` , ' , ^ , " are dead. After them, Space key brings the character as such, while something like e will bring è, é, ê, ë respectively.

Are there such keyboard layouts for Mac? (I am very new to the system.)

(I am not looking for answers like "use this app and create your own layouts".)

  • Where do you get your definition of what dead keys "really" are?
    – Daniel
    Commented Nov 21, 2013 at 12:56
  • @DanielLawson - i have tried to edit the question to make it more suitable. please suggest edits instead of down-voting. i expect that a lot of visitors here are new mac users like me and a question like this may be useful. my confusion came from the fact that in the layouts i use with dead keys outside mac the dead key gives precisely nothing, while in mac, as i see after receiving the TomG's answer below, the dead-key symbol is visible into the document until replaced by the accented letter. because i was seeing a letter typed with that key i thought that the key wasnt "really" dead :)
    – user61618
    Commented Nov 21, 2013 at 13:40
  • Great. I couldn't tell if you had a real question or if you were ranting that Apple wasn't doing dead keys "right" according to your definition of dead keys. Now I see you're actually looking for something in particular, and not just saying "they're doing it wrong." +1
    – Daniel
    Commented Nov 21, 2013 at 14:35
  • @DanielLawson - on the contrary, they're doing it better !! -- indeed, the way things are in mac is helpful because one sees what "dead key" one has just pressed. but i was not expecting that key to still be called "dead"
    – user61618
    Commented Nov 21, 2013 at 14:55

2 Answers 2


The answer to your new question is the US International PC layout provided by Apple.

  • that is indeed the answer for me! i was not used with the fact that the dead key DOES display a character until the letter to be accented is pressed! so, i was convinced that it was not the "dead" key i was looking for. for example, i was expecting the key " to give nothing and then just to get the accented letter ë with the stroke of e, while in fact the dead letter gives the " symbol until e is typed
    – user61618
    Commented Nov 21, 2013 at 14:08
  • 2
    @cipricus That is why the character produced by pressing the dead key is displayed with a yellow background. Pressing space or moving the cursor will insert exactly that character. Commented Oct 13, 2014 at 11:25

They don't normally produce absolutely nothing. You will usually see the accent mark in yellow when you press the dead key. Here is a list of standard accent dead keys


That is:

For each accent, a certain different key has to be used along with the Option (Alt) key , before the letter that we want accented:

For example, for the accents with the letter O:

Acute accent (ó Ó) Option+E, o
Circumflex (ô Ô) Option+I, o
Grave (ò Ò) Option+`, o
Tilde (õ Õ) Option+N, o Only works with "n,o,a" Umlaut (ö Ö) Option+U, o

Example 1: To input the letter ó, hold down the Option key, then the E key. Release both keys then type lowercase o.

Example 2: To input the letter Ó, hold down the Option key, then the E key. Release both keys then type capital O.

  • This answer was helpful to me.
    – m0j0
    Commented May 13, 2022 at 21:21

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