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I have a MacBook computer with Japanese keyboard.

The only realistic way to use the keyboard is to change the input source to either British or Australian. So I changed it to Australian.

On doing so, I cannot write some characters I need on a daily basis. An example would be backtick (`) or tilde (~).

There is an option in Settings to replace the text with some other text. So I replaced OptionN with "~".

But the thing is it only works with some default Apple apps. I cannot use it on any text editor (and not even Terminal). Is there is any fix for this?

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  • Use the keyboard viewer, menu bar or system prefs>keyboard>input sources. See if you can find it by pressing combinations of shift & opt. JIS keyboards it's top right, Aus is left of z… which you don't have
    – Tetsujin
    Jul 21, 2020 at 13:04

3 Answers 3

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An alternative is to use a text replacement or text expander. I’m guessing you used a “Keyboard Shortcut” to assign OptionN as the tilde.

However, this statement is key to the problem you’re experiencing:

But the thing is it only works with some default Apple apps

The built in text replacement only works with Cocoa based apps. For instance, it works in Pages, but not in Microsoft Word. The way around it is to use a 3rd party text expander.

  • TextExpander is the market leader and works really well, but it’s very expensive at $40USD /year subscription.

  • aText isn’t as fancy but works exceptionally well (I personally use this) and is priced at only $5USD; one time purchase.

The way they work is you can type a shortcut and it will replace it with the text you’ve defined for that shortcut. For example you can create a shortcut called “tildesymbol” (too long for practical use, but it’s just an example and it will replace it with “~”. I use it for my email addresses. I assigned @1 to my primary address, @2 to my personal I only give to family and close friends and @3 is my “spam” address that I use when having to “register” for accounts.

This is completely different than switching inputs, but it may give you an alternate way of getting the symbols you need without having to remap keys or remember unicode shortcuts.

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if you go to

system preference>keyboarder>input source

then click on >> option key (alt)

you are going to see all even in Japanese

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  • I know but the key I want does not exist on the English keyboard. I don't want to be switching between keyboards just to type tilde or backtick. Jul 21, 2020 at 10:01
  • just "alt" would do the trick
    – j.c
    Jul 21, 2020 at 13:59
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I think the characters you need are already there if you use the US or ABC layouts. Using what is printed on the keys of a Japanese keyboard,

Tilde can be had by typing Shift ^ . ~

Backtick can be had by typing Shift @. `

Both of these are actually printed on the keys.

If there are others, let us know. If you really need to use the British or Australian layouts instead, this won't work and you should probably make a custom layout based on one of them with Ukelele, which has a template for the JIS Japanese physical arrangement.

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