Currently I have a challenging keyboard setup. My MacBook Pro has a fr_FR (French AZERTY) keyboard, but the layout is currently set to fr_CA (Canadian QWERTY). Even if the keys are not labelled right, it works perfectly fine for me who's used to a French Canadian keyboard.

enter image description here

Now, I recently bought an external Mac keyboard that turns out to be en_US (American QWERTY). I would like it to also have the fr_CA "feel", but it seems to behave differently – seems like it simply applies the locale from my physical keyboard without "assigning" the keys based on the different layout that en_US is compared to fr_FR.

How could I make sure that the location of the keys on the en_US honours the layout of a fr_CA, different from the physical fr_FR keyboard?

  • Your external keyboard should have the same mapping as French Canadian CSA, except that it might not have the extra key next to Z, in which case identical behavior is not possible. Are you saying that the external keyboard produces none of the accented characters shown in your graphic at the right edge? Apr 5, 2017 at 15:57
  • 1
    It is normally really difficult to have an external keyboard use a different mapping than the internal one. There are various questions here from people who actually want to do that, and it requires some effort using the Karabiner app. Do you have that on your machine by chance? Apr 5, 2017 at 16:06
  • See also: superuser.com/q/1143990
    – David J.
    Dec 20, 2020 at 1:03

3 Answers 3


At this time, macOS does not support having different layouts on internal and external keyboards. Source: Me. I've dug around on the System Preferences in macOS Big Sur (11.1).

However, you may find value in Autokbisw, an "automatic keyboard input source switcher". Source: I heard about Autokbisw from https://superuser.com/a/1150616.


The mapping of the input source you have selected in the "flag" menu should always apply to both the internal and external keyboards. The standard US keyboard has one less key, so it will be slightly different:

enter image description here

If yours does not behave that way, something is wrong.


Go into Apple preferences, open Keyboard. Once your macbook has recognised your external keyboard it will not tell you again. There are two drop down menus from which you can add any nationality of keyboard on those menus. This choice will appear in between volume and battery icons, which drops down when clicked.

  • 1
    The original poster has already done all that, but says the two keyboards are using different mappings, which is normally not possible. Dec 9, 2017 at 12:49

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