I'm running Mac OS X 10.6.3, and find myself switching between the Dvorak and U.S. Extended keyboard layout. Ideally I'd want a Dvorak layout with the international character support of the latter (e.g. Option-u for umlaut, Option-6 for circumflex, etc), but such a thing didn't turn up during some quick googling.

Can I download such a keyboard layout somewhere or, failing that, is there a tool to create such a layout?


Option-U does work under Dvorak -- but you have to use the Dvorak key-mappings, so really it becomes Option-F.

If you're still not happy with it, you might try this online tool to create your own custom keyboard layout: http://wordherd.com/keyboards/

It hasn't been updated in six years, so no guarantee it will work on the latest versions of OS X.

  • Thanks, that layout creator did the trick! I needed some extra characters for Esperanto, so in case someone needs that, here's how to do it: O6 ^ C:$108 c:$109 G:$11C g:$11D H:$124 h:$125 J:$134 j:$135 S:$15C s:$15D Ob $2D8 U:$16C u:$16D (on two lines) – legoscia May 7 '11 at 21:30
  • @legoscia Glad that worked for you, and thanks for the follow-up info! – Austin May 7 '11 at 21:43

The Dvorak keyboard layout on Macintosh already has international character support, the exact same support found in the US keyboard layout. There is no need to switch from one to the other if your primary language is English and you need to type occasional words or sentences in other Western European languages.

I have been using the Dvorak layout on Mac since about 1988, and for all the years since then, I have been using it to type in English, French, Spanish, Italian and German, without any modification or re-mapping of keys at all. The "dead-key" diacriticals are all available; it is only a matter of memorizing their locations.

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Dvorak with Option key held down to show "dead-key" diacritical combinations along with other characters needed in Western European languages

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U.S. layout

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U.S. layout with Option key held down to show "dead-key" diacritical combinations. Note that the exact same set of "dead-key" diacriticals are available on both the Dvorak and U.S. layouts, and they are assigned to the exact same keys although those keys are of course in different physically-mapped locations. The same goes for all the other characters used in other Western European languages.

If you need other characters that are not provided on either the U.S. or Dvorak keyboard layouts, then of course you should investigate other keyboard layouts specific to other countries, nationalities and languages.

[Just last week I had to use Adobe InDesign and WordPress to handle text from an orchestra concert program including two words in Czech with characters that I had not encountered before, and neither of these keyboard layouts provide support for that!]

  • The problem with this suggestion is that it assumes that the "dead-key" diacriticals are all available for use with ALL characters. This is not the case. For example, try putting the caret (option+i) over a c or a g. it won't let you do it, and yes, there are languages that do that. – masukomi Dec 25 '12 at 5:58
  • You are correct, but I did not imply that this would work with ALL characters. The US layout is designed to work with the Western European languages. It cannot handle Turkish or Croatian or Vietnamese, for example. The Apple Macintosh Dvorak implementation is based on the Apple Macintosh US layout. If you need to type in a "non-Western" language, you need a different layout, and they are available. – user9290 Dec 25 '12 at 19:17
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    Actually, I was thinking Esperanto, which is a European language, and does not have a Dvorak keyboard (officially). There is one community one, but it doesn't support the press and hold functionality. I suspect that there are a fair number of other languages with millions, or tens of thousands of speakers that don't have Dvorak layouts. – masukomi Dec 26 '12 at 13:55

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