What methods or programs are available for typing the characters with accents using Mac OS and iOS? Are there different versions for different Apple products?

I have read there is more for Apple than Windows. (Maybe this is an argument to switch to Apple?)


6 Answers 6


On Mac OS X 10.5+ you can type the accented letters of Esperanto without downloading anything.

  1. Open “System Preferences…” from the Apple menu.
  2. Click on “Language & Text”, or “International” (depending on your version of OS X).
  3. Click the tab “Input Sources”, or “Input menu”. You will see a long list of languages ​​(keyboard layouts, in fact). If you live in Australia, chances are “Australian” is already selected.
  4. Scroll down to “U.S. Extended” and select it (called U.S. Extended in newer versions of MacOS)
  5. Scroll up again and deselect “Australian” (or whichever keyboard layout was selected before)*.
  6. Close the window.

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Then, to type the accented letters, do the following: For ĉ, ĝ, ĥ, ĵ or ŝ, press option-6, and then c, g, h, j or s. (This also works for the capital letters.) For ŭ: press option-B, and then u. (This also works for Ŭ.)

(The reason for “option-6” is not surprising, because above “6” on the keyboard is “^”. “B” is obviously from the word “breve”, which is what the ˘ symbol is called.)

  • You can keep your original keyboard layout selected if you like; but if you do, you will need to switch between that and “U.S. Extended” as needed, by typing ⌘-space.
  • 1
    I think that, in fact, you meant to say "On OS X 10.5+...". You'll have to edit it in, because I can't propose any edits shorter than 6 characters.
    – grooveplex
    Commented Feb 1, 2017 at 16:26
  • 2
    For more recent versions of Mac OS, select the ABC Extended Input source, as the US Extended does not appear. Everything else is the same. Commented Dec 23, 2020 at 6:03

An alternative option for MacOS creatives is to ”hack” your own keyboard layout. Programs such as Ukelele makes this relatively easy.

(In Ukelele you can duplicate your existing layout, then make small changes to the copy through an on-screen ”keyboard” where every key can be mouse-clicked and edited to your heart’s content. I use the option key for Esperanto letters, so pressing option+C produces Ĉ etc.)


On iOS, you can download the Esperanto keyboard app. For early versions of iOS you had to use an app where you can type and then copy from there, in the latest versions of iOS you can install real keyboards, and there is an Esperanto keyboard in the App Store.

On MacOS several extended keyboard variants (US/UK extended) already have Esperanto support, usually using the right alt key to type the combining diacritic with then the letter the diacritic belongs to. Some people also created a keyboard layout variation for several base layouts to type Esperanto using the x-system, but you have to install this first.

I also once contributed Esperanto input support to OpenVanilla, a Taiwanese input method, but never tried it, so it might have problems.


For MacOS Ukulele is a decent option. If you are more geeky there is a plist (XML file) you can edit to add the Esperanto press-and-hold characters alongside all the ones you currently have. Unfortunately, editing that file requires temporarily disabling system integrity protection and thus four restarts (one to turn it off, one to get back into your account and edit it, one to turn it back on, one to get back into your account).

The location of the file sometimes changes with OS updates, but in High Sierra, and Catalina it is located at

/System/Library/Input\ Methods/PressAndHold.app/Contents/PlugIns/PAH_Extension.appex/Contents/Resources/Keyboard-en.plist

To add the Ŭ character, for example, you would edit the Roman-Accent-U section to have the additional Ŭ as shown below.

        <string>U Û Ü Ù Ú Ū Ŭ</string>
        <string>U Û Ü Ù Ú Ū Ŭ</string>

You would add that character via the "Show Emoji And Symbols" menu item you can have displayed under the list of keyboards in the menu bar, which is enabled via the keyboards system preference.

Full step by step instructions can be found here .


Switching between keyboards can be inconvenient, especially if you write mixed texts. However there is a built-in solution for text substitution in Macs.

Go to System preferences, open the Keyboard panel and select the Text pane. Click the plus button at the bottom to add a new substitution item.

It is up to you to choose the character combination to invoke ,say, ŝ. Some prefer the h-system, some the x-system, but these might collide with your native language, since these substitutions are always on. For that reason some have opted for comma + character, i.e. ,s produces ŝ.

Pros and cons:

+ built-in
+ freely customisable
+/- always on
- in order to work in an application the application must use Apple's keyboard routines (most do but a notable exception is the email application Thunderbird)


I was looking for a keyboard to type Esperanto, just like you. By reading your posts, and by trial and error, ( Select English language ABC Extended) realized that the option , along with the Option key and 6, I found the "ˆ" pattern closed and I could type Esperanto letters easily. By the way, my computer is iMac with High Sierra operating system. Version 10.13.6

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