Is there a way to configure a MacBook Air running Lion (10.7.1) to recognize the internal keyboard as QWERTY, but to attach an external keyboard configured to use the Dvorak configuration?

2 Answers 2


No, only a single keyboard layout can be active at one time and it will apply to all keyboards. But switching layouts is very simple: Apple/Command + space. Or you can no doubt make it even simpler if you want.

Update 2016: It's possible now to do this with Karabiner, as described at

Different key-maps/bindings for in-built keyboard and Bluetooth keyboard


The common solution to this problem is to have the external keyboard emulate a standard layout (e.g. if you have an external Dvorak keyboard, it is seen as a Qwerty layout by the host OS). In the mechanical keyboard hobby community where keyboards are often programmable, this is the norm.

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