Edit Keyboard Layout on Mac

Moving from several years of hardcore Ubuntu life to Mac is “a bit” challenging, but hey.. bring it on!

First thing that I needed to do is to be able to type.. Well yea, English is easy, since Mac does come with US keyboard that ironically comes with English letters. However what about people who are fortunate to know and love another language ( besides English )? Easy, you’d say: Mac has gazillions of different layouts ( a.k.a. “Input Sources” ) available:

mac keyboard input sources

Well, what if none of them suites me? Let’s take a look at the Russian Phonetic layout that comes with OS X:

russian phonetic layout mac

Maybe someone is ok with this layout, but many letters here are quite far from being “phonetic”. Leaving this be would result in many “typing in frustration” hours when you think you pressed “a”, but it was “b”, etc.. But don’t give up just yet, there is an awesome solution: Ukelete which is an excellent Unicode Keyboard Layout Editor for Mac OS X.

So switch to a “Russian Phonetic” layout:

Choosing Russian Phonetic Layout

Now start Ukelete, go to “File –> New From Current Input Source”:

New From Current Input Source

You should see the default layout in Ukelete window now:

Russian Phonetic Layout Ukelete

You are almost done.. Now just play a little “Swap Keys” game to get where you need to be:

Ukelete Swapping Keys

And get that final layout that you love:

Russian Phonetic Final Layout

Now save it as a “keyboard layout file”:

Save As Keyboard Layout File

to “/Library/Keyboard Layouts/”.

Now go to the “System Preferences –> Language & Text –> Input Sources”, and you should see a new “Russian – Phonetic” layout:

New Russian Phonetic Input Source

You are done 🙂

P.S. Another thing is to remap CapsLock to Option key via “System Preferences –> Keyboard –> Modifier Keys”:

Remap CapsLock

and change the shortcut to switch input sources ( keyboard layouts ) to “CapsLock + Tab”:

Remap CapsLock

Happy typing!