Given that I often type in Japanese or romanized Japanese, my default keyboard layout is the Romaji mode of Apple's Kotoeri input method. But I keep running into an inability to type e.g. ō without switching (using the mouse) to U.S. Extended.

My search skills both on Google and on this site have yielded no ways of typing the ¯ character anywhere within Kotoeri. Has the entire Internet missed this, or am I just so stupid that everyone's figured it out and it wasn't even complicated enough to warrant how-to articles? Or is it impossible?


3 Answers 3


While reading your question, I happened to stumble upon the (imho) easiest option:

Simply uncheck the "Romaji" checkbox under Input modes in your Japanese/Kotoeri pane in the System Preferences. Then you can choose an easy keyboard shortcut for switching exclusively between U.S.Extended (with the āēīōū capability) and the Hiragana Japanese mode.

Since I use a Japanese Apple Keyboard which includes the 英数 (Romaji) and かな (Kana) keys next to the space bar, this is ideal for me, but you could just use any other shortcut as well.

  • I like this idea. But I can't figure out where to assign the "easy keyboard shortcut" you're talking about. Is there a way to add keyboard shortcuts that I'm missing?
    – dgw
    Oct 25, 2014 at 21:28
  • System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts > Input Sources Oct 27, 2014 at 14:38
  • Oh, I see. That's where I was, but I misinterpreted your idea and thought you'd added a new keyboard shortcut to select another input source (U.S. Extended, for example) specifically. Cheers!
    – dgw
    Oct 27, 2014 at 16:33
  • Just as an update, there is now an option in the Japanese input source config to "Use the Caps Lock key to switch to and from last used Latin input source", which is nice if you're using a Japanese PC keyboard with your mac. Apr 18, 2021 at 6:39

I am sure you have discovered this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:Macrons

I too use the Romaji keyboard layout for several reasons and I have overcome this by using substitution I will add a different accent mark (eg. òóöôõ) and then later to do a Find and Replace to insert ō.

This seems impossible from all of my attempts through 10.4-10.9 Wish I had better news. Additionally you might feel the desire to request this feature, join me in asking them @ http://www.apple.com/feedback/macosx.html I suggested using alt/option and then - followed by the letter for macron so in this case opt + - then o.


  • For what it's worth, I just submitted feedback on this. Now to wait until its eventual inclusion in OS X 10.14…
    – dgw
    Jan 10, 2014 at 16:22

In 10.7 i've been able to create a custom US (Roman) keyboard layout with Ukelele that replaces a normal unused character with o-macron. I could select this layout in Kotoeri Preferences/Operation/Romaji keyboard layout and then type o-macron when in Kotoeri Romaji mode.

Another possibility is to enter o-macron as a dictionary entry for some Hiragana input. It will then appear as one of the choices for Kanji selection. But this requires switching away from Romaji.

The text substitution feature of the OS or the app could also be used to convert some character combo to o-macron. But normally this requires typing an extra space which may need to be deleted.

  • I'm giving Ukelele a try, since that's the most elegant solution suggested so far.
    – dgw
    Jan 10, 2014 at 16:26
  • If you have any problem, let me know, I can send you mine to try tom at bluesky dot org Jan 10, 2014 at 17:01

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