I start to look for a MacBook, I’m French but want to get a QWERTY keyboard for development purposes.

On Windows and Linux, using an American QWERTY keyboard allows a user to write accents with a dead key (no need for combination with another key) like this:

´ then e = é
´ then c = ç
ˋ then e = è
ˋ then a = à
" then e = ë
" then space = "

By pressing the first one (only that key, not using Option or other key) then pressing the letter, then we have the accent. If we want the apostrophe we need to do ´, then space.

Apparently on normal US layout on a Mac (same on Windows and Linux without the US international layout), we need to use combination of Option + ´ then the letter:

 Option + ´ then e = é
 Option + ´ then c = ç
 Option + ˋ then e = è
 Option + ˋ then a = à
 Option + " then e = ë

But after searching on the internet, this behaviour appears to be reserved to the English International keyboard.

The question is could we do the same on a US Keyboard?

  • Open System Preferences > Keyboard > Input Sources
  • Add U.S. International PC

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In that image we can see that select the US International PC layout that permit it represent an ISO QWERTY Intl and not an ANSI QWERTY US.

QWERTY US (ANSI) enter image description here

QWERTY Intl (ISO) enter image description here

The question is witch keyboard should I choose when I order my Mac, to have the expected behaviour?

1 Answer 1


You can choose whichever you prefer…

Adding US International PC as your input method will apply to either an ANSI or ISO keyboard, with almost the same results.

I would choose based on where you expect keys such as ` ~ § ± to be, as they move between the two physical layouts - ANSI has a 'missing' key left of Z compared to ISO, which will force your grave accent up to the very top left key, rather than next to Z.

enter image description here

So, the input source will adapt to whichever physical keyboard you use. This is British & US International on a UK English keyboard…

enter image description here

enter image description here

Both input methods also contain the standard Mac dead-keys on Opt ⌥

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  • Thanks for your answer, just to think about ISO vs ANSI. Just another question, do you know if the laptop layout is ANSI based, we can plug and use correctly an ISO one ? Or it accept for full functionality only same type: ANSI in this case.
    – mpiot
    Commented Aug 29, 2021 at 18:31
  • 1
    If you plug in a new keyboard, it will treat each separately depending on what type it is, though the input language will be the same for each, the actual key locations will match the letters printed on the keyboard.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Aug 29, 2021 at 18:37

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