I've recently seen several mentions of "the popup menu of accented characters produced by press/hold" that seem to say it exists in macOS.

It doesn't work with some input methods, unfortunately. My favorite is "Unicode Hex Input" and it doesn't work there.

I have in the past successfully changed input methods, but that was before this feature existed. Is there a way to dump an input method to a human-editable format and copy/imitate how this pop-up trick is done?

  • 2
    Have a look at: Custom Characters in macOS Accent Popup Feb 11, 2020 at 16:46
  • Thanks. I'll have to study that a bit. At first glance, it tells how to ADD characters to a pop-up. I want to add a pop-up to an IM that doesn't have any.
    – WGroleau
    Feb 11, 2020 at 17:02
  • Because I use a lot of symbols and characters and it is easier to remember the hex codes than to switch between input methods (and then have extra editing because I forget to switch back). If I could add pop-ups to it and customize them, I'd have the best of both worlds. Some of them, I haven't found on another IM.
    – WGroleau
    Feb 11, 2020 at 19:08
  • I had that app long ago. Had some bugs that kept me from using it, but I was able to edit the XML directly. I'll have to check whether Ukelele supports the new hold-for-popup feature.
    – WGroleau
    Feb 11, 2020 at 20:30
  • Ukulele apparently doesn't support the pop-up, just the older dead-key approach. I'm still looking at the "Custom Characters" suggestion.
    – WGroleau
    Feb 12, 2020 at 2:08

1 Answer 1


With Ukelele I was able to make a copy of the Unicode Hex input source and add the "en" language to the bundle format. This seems to have created a version of Unicode Hex with a working popup, as shown below. Modifying the popup would be a separate operation with the pressandhold.app.

The image shows the input source used both for Option 1234 (= U+1234, Ethiopic SEE) and the press/hold letter a. I have not tested it in more detail. A copy can be obtained here .

enter image description here

  • That sounds like the direction I was fiddling with. Ukelele has a merging feature? I’m still reading the very large manual …
    – WGroleau
    Feb 12, 2020 at 17:18
  • I don't know what you mean by merging. It has feature to duplicate existing keyboards. The popup menu contained inside the pressandhold.app can apparently be accessed by using the bundle format and giving the keyboard an appropriate language parameter. Ukelele manual section 5.6 Feb 12, 2020 at 17:40
  • I see that page fourteen in the manual has “support for press-and-hold” which wasn’t mentioned in the tutorial.
    – WGroleau
    Feb 12, 2020 at 17:52
  • Taking this as the answer, though I intend to finish reading the manual and trying to do it myself.
    – WGroleau
    Feb 12, 2020 at 18:01
  • If anyone else is interested, the Ukelele manual has an appendix with links to a lot of related stuff. Valuable for this question is belkadan.com/blog/2012/04/Keyboard-Adventures
    – WGroleau
    Feb 12, 2020 at 19:02

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