I'm a Linux user, using Ubuntu for few years. Recently I bought a Macbook and I'm trying to understand how to set up my Romanian language layout.

My mac has a Romanian keyboard, but since I am a programmer I want to use all the characters (including [, ], {etc). Currently if I set up the keyboard layout to be Romanian on my macbook, if I press [ I get ă, which is expected, but it's not something I'm used to.

I would like to use AltGr + a to get the Romanian diacritic letter that looks like a, but is ă and when pressing [ to get [.

In fact, I need the following combinations:

  • AltGr + a => ă
  • AltGr + q => â
  • AltGr + i => î
  • AltGr + s => ș
  • AltGr + t => ț
  • AltGr + Shift + a => Ă
  • AltGr + Shift + - => long dash

How to set up this?

On Ubuntu this was activated as default thing. I read a little bit how to do it on OS X and found that Ukelele could help. Isn't there a more native way (e.g. just importing a preset keyboard layout)?


The "native" way in OS X would be to use the US (ABC) Extended layout provided by Apple. It lets you make the necessary characters via alt/option shortcuts. For a list see


For the shortcut set you specified, Ukelele or Karabiner is what would normally be used.

Some alternative Romanian layouts made with Ukelele can be found at


  • How can I do that using Ukelele? I'm not really happy with the ABC Extended layout (for ş, I have to press alt + c, s instead of alt + s). – Ionică Bizău May 9 '16 at 15:15
  • @IonicăBizău Have you checked the Manual/Help that comes with Ukelele? It is very easy with its graphic interface to modify any existing keyboard layout. There's a help group which includes a Romanian at groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/ukelele-users – Tom Gewecke May 9 '16 at 16:32
  • @IonicăBizău PS I added a link in my answer to some alternative Romanian layouts – Tom Gewecke May 9 '16 at 16:44
  • Oh, glad to see somebody did this before. :) Thanks a lot. This answer helped too. – Ionică Bizău May 9 '16 at 17:15

Bit of a shameless plug: https://github.com/SaltwaterC/romanian-programmers-mac

I've created this keyboard layout as none I could find were actually following the standard for Romanian Pro. I may jump across platforms during a normal day, therefore the layout was an important thing for my use case. Works without changes since 10.8. Now I'm on 10.11.

Bear in mind there's no AltGr on Apple's keyboard. Both Alt/Option keys produce the same keycode. Using the right Option key on Apple's hardware is a matter of convention rather than a necessity.

  • Still works on 10.15, thanks! – Andrei Nistor Oct 8 '19 at 8:05
  • Created an account just to let you know that it still works and I've been using this layout for the past 3 years. Thanks a lot. – Advicer May 15 at 4:40

I don't think is possible by regular preferences of El Capitan, what you want is a new keyboard layout. In Brazil we have two for the same keyboard: the original and the "International PC" that make the special chars as IBM-PC.

However you can use the text tab of Keyboard Preferences to make replacements when you type a combination of chars as &a' = á. You will make up your own like &a" = ă (you will have to use the Symbols option of Edit menu to find the character since will not be available in the current keyboard).

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