MacOS Keyboard Shortcuts on non-US-keyboards (ISO)

I keep bumping into non-working keyboard shortcuts and I believe that this is due to the fact that I don’t use an ANSI keyboard layout but rather an ISO layout, more specifically a Nordic layout (but I’d expect to see similar issues on German, French and other layouts.

Here’s the thing: whenever a shortcut includes a character that requires a modifier key on my layout, it will fail because the modifier key is not part of the shortcut. But I need it to produce another part of the shortcut. A catch-22 situation, in other words. (Alternatively, as in the example below, the required modifier is also part of the shortcut but it is already “used up” for producing part of the shortcut so that the shortcut remains incomplete.)

Example: MacOS has the predefined Shortcut Shift-CMD-/ to access the Help menu in any application. On my keyboard, I need to press Shift-7 to produce a /. But pressing Shift-CMD-7 is seen by MacOS as just that, not as Shift-CMD-/

I’m sure I’m not the first one to experience this issue, but strangely, I cannot find any discussion on this here on the forum or elsewhere. I’m probably searching for the wrong terms, so I’m asking this question instead: what is the best way to solve this?

My adhoc modification was to change the shortcut to Shift-CMD-7 but I’m not sure if I’m overwriting some other shortcut in doing so (will MacOS tell me if I do?). I’m not to worried about this specific shortcut, but in others the solution might be more difficult.

Also, as a new Mac user, I’m puzzled by the fact that Apple delivers an operating system with default shortcuts that are impossible to type on the keyboard I have specified in the setup. Is this really so or am I missing something? (Yes, the problem with shortcuts not working on all keyboard layouts is not specific to MacOS and I do recall bumping into this on windows, but I don’t think that was at the OS level but some application that I wrote off as simply being US-centric (which probably didn’t allow me to use 24h time or set Monday as the first day of the week either).

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Just tried it using my Norwegian keyboard layout and it read shift-cmd-7 as shift-cmd-/ and accessed the help menu.
Hope that wasn’t a fluke that might change randomly…

I never noticed that. When my Thai keyboard is in English mode, it works fine.
But, switching to Thai mode moves the ? to a different key, but does not move the shortcut (so I am pressing CMD-Shift-ฝ).

This is actually my preferred behaviour due to muscle memory, but there could be an option somewhere, I suppose.

Curious: in the Nordic version of shortcuts on Apple’s site, what do they list as the shortcut combo?

This weirdness applies to other non-US key layouts too, and is sometimes application specific.
For example, when I switch from Dvorak to US, all the letters for my keyboard maestro shortcuts change. The shortcut is tied to a particular key code. So the KM shortcut remains on the same key but the letter designated by that key may no longer make sense to me.
So to connect to my school’s vpn, I use Hyper-G (G being the first letter of the school’s name). Now when I switch to Dvorak, it is Hyper-I.1

Other things like Cmd-C to copy use whichever key is assigned to C.

My workaround is to program my keyboard to a Dvorak layout, and leave macOS set for US.

For your Shift-Cmd-/ key, it could be tied to whatever key is immediately to the left of your right shift key (which is where / would be on a US keyboard).

  1. Hyper is Cmd-Shift-Ctrl-Option

It does not appear even though the short cut works.

That is weird:)

Hm, now I’m puzzled. So the reason why I’m not finding anything on this issue is that I’m apparently the only one experiencing it (at the OS level, applications is another thing).

But just to clarify, I’m using the Swedish Keyboard layout. I said “Nordic” because the actual keyboard is Nordic (i.e. used in Sweden, Denmark, and Norway), but what counts here is obviously (or not?) the keyboard layout (which is called “Swedish - Pro” in my case. Sorry about the confusion.

Could you check what you get in System Settings if you create a new keyboard shortcut and press those same keys? Does it register as shift-cmd-/ ?

So just to clarify: you are saying that the Norwegian Apple support page doesn’t mention shift-cmd-/ but it nevertheless works on your Norwegian keyboard, right?

This is indeed weird.

What else might play a role here? I am on a Mac mini M1 with Big Sur.

Yes indeed, I use a Norwegian Magic Keyboard 2 with Norwegian Keyboard layout.

In system preferences it shows it as Shift-Command-7, so it should work:)

Oh, so there we have it. Your system preferences are already adjusted to the keyboard. This is indeed what I would have expected and so the reason why it doesn’t work for me must have to do with my initial setup. There are three settings that may interfere with this: Region, Language, and Keyboard Layout. I know that I had the Swedish keyboard selected from the start but I don’t recall whether I had Sweden as a region, I do think so, however. And English was my language from the start. Currently, my settings look like this:

To me, it wouldn’t make sense if the primary language would have an effect on how the shortcuts are rendered, but the above would suggest that this is the case. Alternatively, my initial region was not Sweden and that caused the divergence. Doesn’t make so much sense either, if you ask me, but I don’t see any explanation apart from these two.

Anyway, at least I know now that I have non-Swedish keyboard shortcuts (for whatever reason), which will help me deal with what’s going on.

I think it’ because you have English as primary language so it thinks English. I have Norwegian as primary language.


Change that and it should work:)

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