Ukelele is Unicode Keyboard Layout Editor for macOS

Ukelele is a macOS application that can be used to assign different unicode symbols to any key on the keyboard. It is very useful when you have to enter some special characters again and again. Instead of using shortcut keys to enter the unicode characters, we can just assign them to some keys through Ukelele.

Visual presentation of keyboard layout

When launched Ukelele displays a virtual keyboard on your screen. Some of the keys on this keyboard are already assigned special functions or characters and cannot be modified. We can click on the available keys and change the characters that they they are assigned.


Drag-n-drop assignment of characters

There are two ways of assigning unicode characters to any key using Ukelele. We can drag-n-drop a unicode character that is being displayed somewhere on your screen on to an available key in Ukelele.  We can also manually type in the unicode character using the edit feature for a key. Character Palette or Character Viewer utility of macOS is one place to find such unicode characters.

Creation of dead keys

Ukelele can also create what they call “dead keys”. These keys used to multiple character strings. Such “dead” keys do not generate any character when pressed but the outcome depends on the keys that are pressed after them. Such dead keys are useful when you have to type in long strings or canned speeches in your everyday life.



On a Mac, we can edit the  keyboard layout XML file manually but editing it using Ukelele is much easier. We can see the keyboard layout on our screen and assign unicode characters very quickly. The program works very well even on older macOS versions. We tried it on Macbook Air running macOS Catalina and it worked flawlessly.

You can download Ukelele from