A dead key (a key that does not generate a complete character by itself but modifies the character generated by the key struck immediately after) is indicated with a yellow background to previous the final character.

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It's perfect when you write black on white, but not when you write white on black, like in some Terminal configurations.

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My question is: Where can I change that color?

  • What exactly are dead keys? Can you give an example of a dead key? When I press command, ctrl or any other modifying key there is no yellow background in my terminal. How do I activate 'dead' keys? Are they part of the text encoding? – CousinCocaine Feb 28 '15 at 17:55
  • @CousinCocaine I think they mean like accent marks. The way to write é if you don't want to hold down e and then select the character is to press Option-E and then press e. – user24601 Feb 28 '15 at 18:20
  • @user24601 yes it is (not for accent marks in my case, as I have a French swiss keyboard, but it for greek accent mark) – Maïeul Feb 28 '15 at 19:57
  • I noticed that this is a system wide issue, it is not bound to the Terminal only. Another thing is that this feature is already present in 10.6.8. – CousinCocaine Mar 1 '15 at 8:18
  • yes, it system wide issue. But the problem appears only on White to Black input... – Maïeul Mar 1 '15 at 8:54

This isn't a clean fix, but here's a work around:

Keep the Terminal as Black on White but then go to:

System Preferences > Accessibility > Display > Invert Colors

Doing this will change your Terminal (and everything else) to White on Black, but also change the yellow dead key to blue.

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You can also turn Invert Colors on and off using a keyboard shortcut if you turn it on in the keyboard preferences:

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  • 1
    indeed, that's not stupid, but as many time I use terminal in the same I use other software I want to be white on black... iterm2 is for now the better solution. – Maïeul Mar 13 '15 at 9:54

old: I don't know how to fix the dead keys, but there's a better solution (in my opinion), which avoids dead keys altogether. Check out my answer to the question: Accent popup in Terminal.app?.

If you don't like that approach, you might try to dig around in the file Library/Preferences/com.apple.Terminal.plist and see if you can find anything there that might be useful.

edit: Reading some of the comments on the original question, I see that this solution will not work for the OP, but I will still keep it as an answer in case anyone else might have this question and find the information useful.

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