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This is the normal UK PC Keyboard Layout:

enter image description here

We can see the backslash is on the left-bottom corner (right of shift).

But the mac configuration for UK PC layout, the backslash is on the left-top corner (left of the number 1), see the setting as follow:

enter image description here

So when I use both mac and windows together, this key always confuse me with different output!

UK layout keyboard is ISO standard and the Mac also detects ISO. The only issue is the key on the left of z is switched with the key on the left of 1.

The layout of the UK keyboard:

  1. the key on the left of z should be:\ and |
  2. the key on the left of 1 should be: ` and ¬

But mac switches them.

  • Hello Xin, welcome to Ask Different. Yes, the Mac "British - PC" and UK PC keyboard layouts are indeed different, it is described in Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…, but we can only guess "why" that's the case (only Apple has the answer). I'd recommend that you rewrite your question, otherwise it will probably be flagged as "primarily opinion-based" and eventually be closed. – jaume Sep 2 '18 at 11:09
  • What keyboard do you actually have connected? - that makes a difference. Is it an Apple kbd, or a 'windows' one. – Tetsujin Sep 2 '18 at 11:23
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    @jaume ok got it. So I will modify the question to how to switch these two keys on Mac to make it same with normal UK PC layout. – Xin Meng Sep 2 '18 at 11:24
  • I use Ukelele to make custom keyboard layouts. – theonlygusti Sep 2 '18 at 11:48
  • After further experimenting, we need to know not only exactly what keyboard you have connected, but also what OS you're using [& precisely what Mac would be useful additional info] – Tetsujin Sep 2 '18 at 12:01
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It appears to be controlled by what you actually have connected... but there is something else going on I'm still trying to hone down.
The best conclusion I can come to at the moment is "it's a bug" but one that seems to be at least partially fixed in High Sierra & Mojave.

This is a UK Apple Keyboard on Mojave [confirmed identical on High Sierrs]

When you first open the panel, it shows as ANSI.

enter image description here

Press Shift [which I discovered by accident trying to take screenshots] & it changes to ISO.

enter image description here

Then add British PC & it seems to retain that information...

enter image description here

Now I've persuaded it to show like that I can't 'break' it again, it seems to stick so far.


However, testing on El Capitan, I can't persuade it to flip to ISO, no matter what I do - it stays as ANSI...

enter image description here

Test on the El Cap machine, swapping a TextEdit document from British to British PC - even though the control panel still claims it's ANSI & after clearing all keyboard prefs & re-detecting the keyboard...

enter image description here

The Mac 'knows' it's ISO, but won't display as that in the Keyboard Input Sources control panel.

  • You have a keyboard with the extra key next to z that El Capitan will not recognize as ISO, even when you use the various remedies in m10lmac.blogspot.com/2009/12/fixing-keyboard-type-problems.html ? – Tom Gewecke Sep 2 '18 at 12:14
  • Only a tiny number of users have problems with ISO keyboards, so I don't see how this would be a "bug". – Tom Gewecke Sep 2 '18 at 12:21
  • I've tried 2 different kbds on the El Cap Mac - which is a 10-year-old Mac Pro 3,1. This issue has been there since new & doesn't affect how the connected keyboard actually types, just how it appears in that CP. I've tested it today with its current Logitech UK PC keyboard & also its original Apple wired UK extended. I've tried trashing the kbd plist & regenerating from the setup assistant. No change. In all other respects the machine appears to behave as it ought. Same issue occurs on both High Sierra or Mojave, until you tap the Shift key. I still say 'bug'. Answer edited. – Tetsujin Sep 2 '18 at 12:42
  • @Tetsujin my mac version macOS High Sierra version 10.13.4. what's your mac version? I think you got a right British PC layout with backslash next to Z. But I still cannot find it – Xin Meng Sep 2 '18 at 13:01
  • @Tetsujin Thanks for clarifying that you do not have a typing problem, just a problem with the display in the preference pane. But Xin Meng has a typing problem, which is a different animal I think. – Tom Gewecke Sep 2 '18 at 13:04
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You seem to have a US (ANSI) keyboard, where there is no letter key to the left of the Z. Is that correct? For a "normal" UK layout, you must have a European (ISO) keyboard which has this extra key.

If you do have an ISO keyboard with extra key, then you have a keyboard type problem.

  • 1
    Nope, I have the ISO keyboard definitely. Because UK layout keyboard is ISO standard and the Mac also detects ISO. The only issue is the key on the left of z is switched with the key on the left of 1. The layout of the UK keyboard : 1. the key on the left of z should be:` and |` 2. the key on the left of 1 should be: ``` and ¬ But mac is switched them. – Xin Meng Sep 2 '18 at 10:07
  • @TomGewecke - I think we found a bug with a partial workaround. See my answer; though I'm still experimenting... – Tetsujin Sep 2 '18 at 11:47
  • @xin meng Your settings screenshot is clearly NOT ISO, but ANSI. So your machine is NOT recognizing the keyboard type correctlly, if your keyboard in fact has the extra key. – Tom Gewecke Sep 2 '18 at 12:16
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Make sure you have configured the Keyboard settings under Keyboard > Change Keyboard Type... first.

Once you have configured the Mac in ISO mode the right settings should be applied, you may need to remove and add the input device (British -PC) afterwards.

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In the end, installing the Karabiner app fixed the issue.

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