Keep the Accent On Productivity With USInternational


Having worked for a few organizations with global footprints and being in a position where I need to switch from Windows to OS X on a regular basis, I can tell you from first-hand experience that it is sometimes quite frustrating when I need to include accented characters in a document and wind up using Windows key sequences out of habit. Many switchers may be in this situation as well, having just entered the world of OS X after being longstanding Windows users.

OS X aficionado, Rainer Brockerhoff, feels this pain too and has released an new OS X Leopard-compatible key layout called USInternational which maps Windows key shortcuts while preserving most of the standard OS X option-key sequences.

Installation is a snap: just copy the “U.S. International” bundle from the install source disk image to /Library/Keyboard Layouts (HINT: Use Command-Shift-G while in the Finder and paste that path in the dialog for quick access to the destination folder). If such a folder does not exist, just create on in /Library. You can also install the layout bundle in your local ~/Library/Keyboard Layouts folder (again, create one if necessary) if you do not have administrative privileges or do not need to install it for “all users” on your system.

Once installed, you’ll need to head over to System Preferences > International > Input Menu and choose the new layout option:

If you have OS X Keyboard Shortcuts enabled, you may notice that this new layout conflicts with some of the default ones or ones you have modified:

If that is the case, you may have to either disable or re-work your shortcuts if the functionality of this new keyboard layout increases your productivity or reduces your frustration enough.

This layout bundle works on OS X 10.5 and should also work on OS X 10.4. Rainer has older versions that may be useful for those folks running OS X 10.1-10.3 as well. He offers them all for free but is open to donations if you do find USInternational useful.

If you’re a switcher or a frequent user of accented characters, what keyboard tricks do you have up your sleeve to maintain your productivity?

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