If you are doing Polish genealogy and use a Mac, eventually you will want to type Polish characters. This could be for entering city names, such as Żyrardów or for transcribing documents. Your Mac can work fine for entering Polish, but setting it up is not intuitive. Here are the steps:
- Go to System Preferences
- Select Language & Text from the Personal section at the top.
- Select Input Sources.
- Scroll through the languages until you find Polish Pro. Check the box to the left to enable the keyboard.
- Close Language & Text.
- You should now have a flag on your menubar. This is where you will select which keyboard you want to use.
- When you are ready to enter Polish text in program such as Mail, Evernote, etc. click on the flag and select Polish Pro.
- You can now enter Polish text with all of the diacritics. The problem here is usually that nothing says how to enter them. The easy answer is that you hold down the Option or Alt key at the same time you type the letter that has a diacritic. Since only Z has more than one type of possible diacritic, for most everything else you will get the mark you want. If you do need one of the marks on the z, though, you can type Option-z to get ż and Option-x to get ź. Hold shift while typing these sequences for a capital letter with its diacritic.
- You may wonder how you would know all this. To find out what different keyboard sequences type, use the Keyboard Viewer from the flag menu where you selected Polish Pro. This provides an interactive keyboard that shows what the keys produce. When you first open it the keyboard looks normal. Hold down the Option key, either on your physical keyboard or the Viewer and you will see that the keys then produce different characters, including diacritics in the case of Polish.