NRSI: Computers & Writing Systems
Mac OS X Keyboard Layout Editor
Ukelele is a Unicode Keyboard Layout Editor for Mac OS X versions 10.2 and later. Version 2.0 and later are only for Mac OS X versions 10.4 and later.
Beginning with version 10.2 (Jaguar), Mac OS X supports an XML-based format for keyboard layouts (.keylayout files). These may be installed by copying them to the folder within or ; then they are enabled via the ( in 10.5 and earlier) tab of the ( in 10.5 and earlier) module within .
However, modifying keyboard layouts—let alone creating entirely new keyboard layouts, such as for a new script—by directly editing the XML text is tedious and error-prone.
Ukelele aims to simplify keyboard layout editing by providing a graphical interface to .keylayout files, where the desired characters can simply be dragged onto keys as needed. (The or , available in the Input menu if it has been enabled in , is a great place to find the characters.)
In addition to simple assignment of single character codes to keys, Ukelele can assign multiple-character strings and can create "dead keys", where a keystroke sets a new state that modifies the output of the following keystroke.
For more information about Mac OS X keyboard layouts, as well as existing layouts available for download, see Input Resources. For some types of layout, particularly with large numbers of dead-key sequences, creating a layout with the text-based tool KeyLayoutMaker may be a useful alternative.
Ukelele is written by John Brownie of SIL and is copyright ©2003-2014. This software is provided under SIL's standard freeware license.
8 March 2014 — Released version 2.2.8
Latest release (universal binary, for Mac OS X 10.4 and later):
Previous stable release (universal binary, 1.8.4, 15 September 2009, Mac OS X 10.2 and later):
Feedback about the Ukelele tool is invited (see the Read Me file for contact information). This software is provided in the hope that it may be useful, but with no warranty, expressed or implied, and with no guarantee of support or future upgrades.
There is also a user forum at Google Groups, the Ukelele Users group, available at http://groups.google.com/group/ukelele-users.
For support, either use the Ukelele Users Group ( http://groups.google.com/group/ukelele-users) or contact the author directly (contact details in the Read Me file on the Ukelele disk image).
9 January 2014 — Released version 2.2.7
18 November 2013 — Released version 2.2.6
9 November 2013 — Released version 2.2.5
14 December 2012 — Released version 2.2.4
1 October 2012 — Released version 2.2.3
29 September 2012 — Released version 2.2.2
20 June 2012 — Released version 2.2.1
31 May 2012 — Released version 2.2
By saving a keyboard layout in a bundle, it will become compatible with the “press and hold” mechanism for entering diacritics, introduced in OS X 10.7 (Lion). For this purpose, an “intended language” can be supplied (default is the system language), which will determine which possibilities are offered in the pop-up. However, such bundles may not work with OS X 10.4 (Tiger) and earlier.
Change the colour themes to allow more choices. For each category of key (normal, dead key, selected) and state (up or down), the gradient type, colours and text colour can be set individually.
Automatically repair missing key maps when opening a keyboard layout, putting empty key maps with only the special keys defined.
Detect and repair an invalid keyboard ID when opening a keyboard layout, automatically generating a valid keyboard ID for the script specified in the keyboard layout.
Open files now remember the colour theme, keyboard type and zoom level after quitting Ukelele and restarting, as long as files are automatically reopened (Lion and later).
When editing output of a special key, there is now a button to insert the standard output automatically.
Updated the manual extensively to reflect recent changes and newer versions of OS X.
14 February 2012 — Released version 2.1.10
Restore a missing file which caused the button to add a modifier set to be invisible.
Further fixed the behaviour of adding a creation comment (in 2.1.9 it was adding a comment every time the file was opened).
Fixed some situations where the selected colour theme was ignored and the default theme was used.
3 February 2012 — Released version 2.1.9
Restore a missing file which caused colour themes not to work for most people.
Fix the print dialog extension (PDE) so that the Ukelele options in the print dialog now appear and work again.
New keyboard layouts now get the appropriate creation comment added.
Fixed some problems with adding comments.
21 October 2011 — Released version 2.1.8
Reenable the “New From Current Input Source” command when running in Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion), as there is a new version of the helper utility.
Add a preference to allow the user to choose whether to reopen the documents that were open when Ukelele was last quit. This only applies to Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion), and allows the new default behaviour (resume) or the old behaviour (the user’s choice of creating a new document, opening an existing document, or doing nothing).
Update the Unicode tables to the current draft of the Unicode Character Database, version 6.1. Note that this is a beta version, with the formal 6.1 specification due in February 2012.
Minor updates to the manual to reflect changes with Lion.
3 August 2011 — Released version 2.1.7
Disable “New From Current Input Source” when running in Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion), as it uses some helper utilities that do not run on Lion (they are PPC-only). It is still available on earlier versions of OS X.
7 June 2011 — Released version 2.1.6
Fix a bug that could lead to a new keyboard ID being set to 0 instead of the value in the dialog.
Show the default output for special keys in the status bar when editing a key within the window.
12 March 2011 — Released version 2.1.5
Write characters outside the Basic Multilingual Plane as hexadecimal values, to get around an apparent bug in Apple’s XML parser.
Now using Cocoa versions of the Inspector and Toolbox.
17 December 2010 — Released version 2.1.4
When a new modifier combination was added, it did not affect the display in the Ukelele window immediately. This is fixed so that it shows up properly.
6 December 2010 — Released version 2.1.3
Fix a crash when trying opening a keyboard layout within a bundle when either the bundle did not contain any keyboard layouts, no keyboard layout was chosen, or the cancel button was pressed.
24 November 2010 — Released version 2.1.2
Made some changes to the property list which may help with the problem of Ukelele appearing to claim non-Ukelele documents, particularly bundles.
12 November 2010 — Released version 2.1.1
Change the line endings to Unix line endings in the XML output file.
Improved formatting for XML files with multi-line comments.
30 October 2010 — Released version 2.1
Added a new preference which enables the user to choose to use a sheet dialog for editing key output on double-click (the previous behaviour, and the default) or edit in the same window.
Updated the Unicode database to version 6.0.
11 August 2010 — Released version 2.0.1
22 July 2010 — Released version 2.0
10 June 2010 — Released version 2.0b8
26 April 2010 — Released version 2.0b7
1 April 2010 — Released version 2.0b6
9 February 2010 — Released version 2.0b5
27 January 2010 — Released version 2.0b4
25 January 2010 — Released version 2.0b3
20 January 2010 — Released version 2.0b2
15 January 2010 — Released version 2.0b1
Notes from earlier releases can be found here.