HOW TO: Install Malayalam Keyboards for OS X High Sierra with KeyMagic

The biggest thing I missed when I became a full-time Mac user was the ability to freely type Malayalam anywhere I wanted. Back in the younger days of language blogging on Internet, Unicode and the Varamozhi project was a huge boost for the craving minds. That project from Cibu (Cibu Johny)  and the Anjaly Old Lipi font by Kevin brought the Malayalam typing from the well trained inscript typewriter users to the common public, who lived with Manglish typing and  Modified ASCII Fonts.

The Mozhi scheme that was introduced by the Varamozhi project was adopted into multiple tools and open source projects as a standard for Malayalam typing format over inscript. Tools like Keyman, Keymagic and ibus layouts are available for everyone to use. However, Macs still were not on the front-line in the usage among Malayalam users, and never really got the attention and tools to help with this. I was VERY excited to finally see efforts like Rachana for Mac.

Junaid and Faisal were kind enough to solve the problem by producing the  phonetic keymap for Keymagic and getting it packaged for the OSX. I was happily on it for for a while, until the Keymagic version that was used to package it was no longer supported by the newer versions of OS X. I kind of lived without it for a while, but eventually got tired of not being able to type freely as I am used to.

So, here is my step by step guide to get the Keymagic working in OS X High Sierra for Malayalam (and potentially other languages as needed as well).

Step 1: Install KeyMagic – Download the current version of KeyMagic (as of writing this, it is 1.5.1) and install the same. It will ask you to logout and re-login.

Step 2: Add the Keymagic as the input source.

  • Open System Preferences
  • Click on Keyboard
  • Select Input Sources Tab, Click on the + Sign and add the Keymagic as an Input Source.

Step 3: Get the Layouts – Download the Malayalam Layouts that was originally added in the package made by Faisal from here.

Alternatively, if you still have the Snow Leopard package from Faisal, right click that, select the Show Package Contents. This should open up that directory in the Finder

Now, Navigate to the Resources folder to find the two files. Keep them handy, as we need that in the next step.

Step 4: Install the Keyboard layouts – Unlike in the older version, the Keyboard layouts are stored in ~/.keymagic directory now. We need to add the files we got for Malayalam into that folder.

  • Open a Finder window and select Go -> Go to Folder (or press Command + Shift +G ) to bring up the Go window.
  • Enter ~/.keymagic and press Go
  • We should see all the default keyboard layouts in the folder now. Since I didn’t need any of them, I deleted all of them.
  • Now, Copy the two layout files we saved in the earlier step into the folder.  This will prompt you that you need the Administrator privileges. Select Authenticate and use the Touch ID or password to do the copy.
  • Now, you should have the files in that directory.
  • Next, from taskbar, switch the keyboard to KeyMagic

Step 5: Set the Layout – Once the KeyMagic is active, keep the window with ~/.keymagic highlighted and select the input Sources from task bar. Now you should be able to select the preferred scheme of input.

If all went well, you should be good to rock and roll with your new typing skill!. You can switch Back and forth between English and Malayalam using the Control + Space keyboard shortcut.


Now, Onward! – ഹരിശ്രീ ഗണപതയേ നമ:



2 thoughts on “HOW TO: Install Malayalam Keyboards for OS X High Sierra with KeyMagic

  1. വളരെ നന്ദി സുഹൃത്തെ. ഈയൊരു സമയം മാറ്റിവച്ചതിന്…ഒരു സംശയം ഇൻപുട്ട് സ്വിച്ച് ചെയ്യാതെ കീബോർഡിൽ തന്നെ പെട്ടെന്ന് ഇംഗ്ലീഷിലേക്കു മാറാൻ പറ്റുമൊ? ചില വാക്കുകൾ ടൈപ്പ് ചെയ്യണമെങ്കിൽ?

    1. ആ സൗകര്യം കീമാജിക്കിൽ കണ്ടിട്ടില്ല – പക്ഷേ, മാക്ക് ഓഎസിൽ നമുക്കു കീബോർഡ് ഷോട്ട്ക്കട്ട് വഴി എളുപ്പം ഇൻപുട്ട് മാറ്റാവുന്നതാണ്. System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts > Input Sources – ഇവിടെ പോയി നോക്കൂ. Control-Space ആണ് സാധാരണ ഉപയോഗിക്കാറ്.

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