I need to work on an old iMac sporting High Sierra for some time.

The problem I have is that pressing the keys ' then e outputs é, when I would like it to simply print 'e. Same for ' then a.

I am mostly programming on this machine and do not need this behaviour.

My keyboard has a US QWERTY Tenkeyless Windows layout. The system's language is set to be English (U.S.), the input source is U.S. International - PC. This machine has a different user using a French AZERTY Apple keyboard layout with different localisation settings and I don't want any change to affect them.

I use the Compose key on Ubuntu and WinCompose on Windows to insert diacritics when I need them. Replicating this behaviour on this machine is not a requirement, but I would like my typing experience while programming to be the same.

What can I do to avoid this change when typing?


1 Answer 1


Don't use the "International PC" labelled layout unless you want an emulation of Microsoft behaviour for your 'dead keys' [which Microsoft doesn't actually have].

US International PC has unusual [for Mac] dead keys that emulate Windows International behaviour by not actually being 'dead' but permanently 'live'.

enter image description here

The two keys marked in orange will activate their 'dead key' equivalent of becoming accent keys rather than actual characters, unless you follow them with Space or punctuation - just like Windows International does.

The Mac's normal behaviour is to only activate these special use accents if intentionally invoked by pressing Opt [Alt] plus the dead key, followed by the letter you wish to add an accent to.

If you switch to the regular US keyboard, then plain keys are 'just keys'

enter image description here

and only when you hold Opt do you get the dead key accents [& there are more of them]

enter image description here

Whether the keyboard has a ten-key or not doesn't affect this behaviour.

  • 1
    My hero! I guess I was lead astray by the fact French keyboard layouts differ between Windows and Mac, so when I saw PC I thought I was selecting a subtle keyboard layout variant. Thanks
    – geoffrey
    Commented Jul 30, 2022 at 18:13

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .