An Unresolvable Problem...?


First of all, I must say that I truly, truly love Scrivener (though I haven’t yet tried all of its features), and have no complaints about this beautiful programme (to date). And yes, I also love my MacBook… but I do have a problem. And although I know this is a Mac and not a Scrivener related issue, I just wondered if someone out there could help solve it, or at least confirm that it cannot possibly be resolved, so that I can finally put an end to my misery and learn how to live with it.

So here’s my problem. It’s the American keyboard layout (yes, I’m sorry but :blush: I’m British). You see, the fact that the @ and " keys are the opposite way around to the British keyboard is a real nuisance when you have hands like mine. The (boring) elaboration of this is that, although I have been typing for X amount of years on a UK keyboard, the arthritic fingers of my right hand have never been comfortable with creating a '@" - it’s quite an awkward movement (Shift and @ with unresponsive fingers!) However, it never mattered much as I only needed this character for email addresses. But now of course the @ has become " and is used frequently, and, I’m sure you’ll understand, simply getting used to the different layout is not an option.

Anyway, sorry it’s such a long-winded post just to ask a simple question: does anyone know a way of swapping these keys around? A programme I could download? A miracle… ?

Thank you for your time. I shall live in hope and fear while I wait for replies.

PS: In case you are wondering why on Earth I have posted such a remotely-associated issue with Scrivener, well, it’s purely because Scrivener’s icon is made up of quotation marks… and I thought it was a good omen.

I haven’t got an answer for you, I’m afraid, but I have to agree that it is annoying that even British Macs use the American keyboard layout in this regard. I struggled for ages in getting used to it, and now I find it difficult to use other keyboards as I always end up going for the @ character when I want a speechmark. Grr.

Thank you KB for your wonderfully quick reply.

Yes, I too make that irritating mistake when switching from Mac to PC (as I am OK with the @ key) - also with the ‘close’ icon which is on the opposite side of the screen. Grrr indeed! Only a fraction of a second wasted each time - but it all adds up.

Well, maybe I should now consider my hopes well and truly dashed and resign to live in fear. Or maybe I should write to Apple and beg them to provide people like me (who are past being taught new tricks) with a solution to this problem.

Thanks again for your reply.


If you are not opposed to using an exteranl keyboard you can always buy a UK format USB keyboard. If you get a M$ labeled unit jsut remember that the “window” key is the command key.

Now if you are REALLY adventuresome you CAN remap the keys in the OS. Problem is that the label will be wrong. If you want to look into that option there a few of us here that can tell you how to do it. I recommend against it as it might cause you problems later. If you really want to pursue this option let us know.

Mountains out of molehills, to my mind. Keycap symbols matter not a squirt as anyone who types a lot doesn’t look at the keys. Many, many moons ago, I taught myself to touch-type Russian in a weekend on an English keyboard. If you’re getting the US keyboard mapping it’s 'cos US English is set as the language in the system Preferences : International : Input Menu pane. This may be because when your system was set up it was done with US English rather than British English as the default.

If you go to that pane, I don’t know if you can disable the US and/or US Extended keyboard setting, but you can certainly turn on the British keyboard, then click the button for “Show input menu in menu bar”. Then just make sure you’re on British English with the Union Jack showing and you should be back to what you’re used to.

The long and more painful way to do it would be to re-install the system and make sure you choose British English from the outset.

The only possible issue that I can think of is that a US keyboard apparently has one less key than an “International” keyboard, but I’ve never used a US one, so I don’t know which it is. My MBP and MBA were both bought here in China and have the “International” keyboard, but not UK variety … so on Shift-3 it marks # not £ … but as I have it switched to British I get £ with Shift-3 and # with Opt-3 as on a proper UK International keyboard.



Geeze Mark. You are ruining the potential fun.

For those keeping track this is the difference between systems guys (me) and end users (Mark). End users just get things to work. Systems guys make things … harder than they need to be.


Sorry to have spoiled your fun Jaysen :blush:

I remember when I was still teaching at the university in London and I went into the typing office to get some stationery. Our systems guy was messing about with the typist’s PC. I asked him what was wrong and he said he was re-installing Windows (95, I think), 'cos a .dll had got corrupted and it was easier to do a complete re-install than to try and find out which one. So in a stage whisper, I said to the typist, “Next time they’re replacing your computer, say you want a Mac!”
Systems guy whipped round and said, “Don’t say that!”
“Why not?”
“Because if this place ran on Macs, I’d be out of a job!”

Systems guys do indeed like to make things more difficult than they have to be … it’s their raison d’être! :smiling_imp:


An old pratical joke we used to play on April Fools Day was replacing the US Keyboard layout with a custom one we made Named US Inferior which of course had a few key letters transposed.

Oh the fun watching our co-workers go nuts thinking they kept hitting the wrong keys…

te he hh eee eheheheh

I think I’d have quickly worked out that someone had been messing with my system, and then quickly learned the new assignments and watched the system guys getting riled 'cos their “joke” hadn’t worked with me!

Users of the world unite!


One of my all time favorites was putting the SHUTDOWN script in OS 9 in the Start Up Folder.

Other fun ones were stealing the mouse’s ball, Changing all the system Icons to the Trash Icon, Renaming the Trash after the HD, and having a very loud and long personal recording as the “system beep” and of course disconnecting the mouse and keyboard to simulate a “system freeze”

Practical Jokers Unite!


OK, from back when “system admins” were gods…

Reassign key strokes to various commands. This is particularly useful for workstations. Something like @ == “shutdown -h now” I dare you to send me an email now.

Reassign commands in the system wide profile. Add all “problem users” to a group “iHateU” then in /etc/profile add something like "if $GID == “iHateU” then alias ls = “logout” (this is psuedo code so don’t tell me it isn’t right. I know that). The list was quite long. It also made for fun tech calls:
u: can you remove me from a group?
t: which one?
u: ummm i hate you
t: not the right answer. Hope you didn’t need your home directory. Bye

There were some real doosies. BOFH really did happen in the early days…

An easy but rather fun one was when USB keyboards first hit the macs people didn’t realize that you could use the USB extender and another keyboard for some simplistic jokes. Just sit in the cubicle facing the mark and as they type you start typing as well (on the "other USB keyboard).

This would lead to rather fun moments especially if the mark was “chatting” in an IM.

You could also do this with another “mouse” as well. Drunken mice was the horror especially if the IT people worked together in telling many users of the Horror stories of “Ghost keyboards and Mice.” The story would go that visiting certain networking sites or chat rooms could infect the person’s computer with a “Hacker’s Backdoor” and the Hacker would hold the person hostage basically by screwing up their typing or mouse usage. The people were scared to say anything because this was a “known” problem of people that used work computers to surf personal sites and chat rooms…


heheheh oh the “old days” were so much fun

You two ‘Molette de chefs’, havent had anything to do with the CERN Large Hadron Collider, have y :open_mouth:

Maybe you SHOULD fear the black holes that are planned…

I do!! Y pillock! Thats why I asked the question!

I miss the old days of gaming online when I told young kids that there was a “God Mode” cheat code in the game. To test to see if you system was compatible you had to press CTRL+ALT+DEL.

Yes! And you can get op status in any IRC channel by pressing Alt-F4.

Tell some kid bragging about the 'sploits he’s just downloaded and looking for targets that he should try

… is, as they say, where the heart is. 8)

Tell them you downloaded the whole internet last night and then send them to a page like this for proof