Enabling “keyboards” for other languages

Screenshot of enabling Polytonic Greek Input

Input methods and the Input Menu

To type in a language using a character set that is not the same as your system’s default, you need to enable an input method, aka “keyboard” (not to be confused with the physical object under your fingers). The input method controls what glyph is produced when you type a key or combination/sequence of keys.Many input methods are included with OS X, but only one is enabled when you first set up a new Mac. You need to tell the computer which other ones you want available. Once you enable a second one, the Input Menu will be added to your menubar near the date/time.

Even if you do not plan to type Greek, I recommend changing your English keyboard to ABC Extended (or US Extended on older systems), so that you have access to macrons, breves, and other characters outside the old pre-Unicode western roman character set. In the instructions below, choose “English” for the language and check “ABC Extended”; you can then uncheck the regular one.

Adding input methods to your Input Menu

Yosemite (and probably el Capitan)
  1. Go to System Preferences (from your Apple Menu or Dock).
  2. Click Keyboard.
  3. Select the tab labeled “Input Sources.”
  4. Click the + (plus sign).
  5. First select the language (or “Other”) from the left.
    1. Then on the right select the specific input you want for that language (e.g., when you select “Greek” on the left, you will see on the right “Greek” [for modern] and “Greek Polytonic” [for ancient]).
    2. Click the “Add” button at the bottom.
  6. Then you can quit the System Prefs.
  7. Look for the Input Menu in your menubar to see all the input methods that are enabled.
  8. If you don’t see the input method you just enabled, log out and back in (or restart).
Screenshot of System Preferences > Keyboard > Input Sources
System Preferences > Keyboard > Input Sources

 

OS X 10.4 (and thereabouts)
  1. Go to System Preferences (from your Apple Menu or Dock).
  2. Click International.
  3. Select the tab labeled “Input Menu.”
  4. Check the box(es) for the inputs you want to use. I recommend using Unicode (as listed under the heading “Script”) where at all possible. For example, use the US Extended (Unicode) “keyboard” instead of the plain US (Roman) one.
  5. Then you can quit the System Prefs.
  6. Look for the Input Menu  in your menubar to see all the input methods that are enabled.
  7. If you don’t see the input method you just enabled, log out and back in (or restart).

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