I'm the owner of a MacBook Air I bought just a few days ago. I live in Italy, so for the sake of being able to sell the machine when its time will come, I bought it with an Italian keyboard layout. For programming I'm trying to get used to US layout, I just wanted to know a few things:

  1. what is the current US keyboard layout on Macs? I still can't find an "official" one.
  2. Through Preferences > Languages > Input I selected USA keyboard layout, but what I get is this layout:

my US layout

I'm pretty sure it's quite uncommon to have that odd glyph in the upper left corner, actually I don't even know its meaning.

Do you know how to access standard US keyboard?

Note I have this theory: since my keyboard has a different number of keys than the US one, maybe that's the reason why \ and | characters are on the extreme right rather than on the upper left corner.

Note 2 I'm aware of solutions like keyremap4macbook, I just wanted to know if this is possible without that.


This should be the layout I'm looking for.

  • 1
    You are correct in your theory. Keyboards sold in Europe are the ISO type with an extra key next to the z. Keyboards sold in the US are the ANSI type you are looking for. It's not possible to have what you want without remapping the keys one way or another, with the app you mention or with Ukelele. The odd glyph is also found at option + 6 on the ANSI layout, called Section Sign. Commented Mar 30, 2013 at 23:34

2 Answers 2


I think this might be due to the fact that some European keyboards have a different arrangement of the keys. For example, compare the enter keys and the number of keys in each row.

So my (American) keyboard layout looks like this:

enter image description here

What I noticed is that on your screenshot, the layout is called "USA", and on mine it is "U.S.", maybe this helps to find the correct layout.

  • Nice answer - I might be even more explicit about how the physical keys are different. Yes, there is a US mapping of keys on the EU keyboard's physical keys, but that still doesn't address the fact that the hardware itself is modified. Just like we can't get a true Italian layout with our keys being different, but we can have the US layout interpreted to behave more like the Italian mapping using software.
    – bmike
    Commented Apr 6, 2013 at 16:29

You're using the standard U.S. layout, but it seems to be called USA if the OS language is Italian.

In ISO keyboards the key next to the left shift outputs the key code used for backtick in the U.S. layout (50). ISO keyboards also have one more key. The extra keycode (10) outputs a section sign in the U.S. layout.

You can use KeyRemap4MacBook to move the backtick key and reassign the key next to shift:

<autogen>__KeyToKey__ KeyCode::UK_SECTION, KeyCode::BACKQUOTE</autogen>
<autogen>__KeyToKey__ KeyCode::BACKQUOTE, KeyCode::F13</autogen>

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