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Backslash on Mac OS X

Stefan Tilkov,

I don’t know what imbecile at Apple created the German keymap for a PowerBook running Mac OS X, but after just having wasted about half an hour of my life with trying to find a way to enter a backslash (‘') on this damn thing, I found out that it’s Shift-Alt-7. Should’ve been obvious? Right.

On December 23, 2003 11:18 PM, Volker Weber said:

The character map is fine. Not printing it on the keys is not.

Alt-7 is pipe, so Shift-Alt-7 may even make sense. :-)

On December 23, 2003 11:32 PM, Volker Weber said:

Do you happen to know Keyboard Viewer? >

On December 24, 2003 12:30 AM, Stefan Tilkov said:

Thank you so much - no, I didn’t know about this. And I managed to find out how to activate it in less than three minutes ;-)

On December 24, 2003 12:43 AM, Stefan Tilkov said:

BTW, thinking about it some more I guess that whoever decided to require a key combination like that for a character like backslash never considered that somebody might use these babies for programming tasks …

On December 24, 2003 6:22 AM, brad said:

well duh, its an apple. they gotta do everything different, which usually means the hard way

On December 24, 2003 1:04 PM, Stefan Tilkov said:

If this remains the most annoying ‘problem’ I have with this machine, it compares pretty well to all the Wintel boxes I’ve use before ;-)

On July 20, 2005 11:19 PM, chucker said:

As someone pointed out, the reason backslash is on option-shift-7 is that all three vertical line symbols are on the 7 — slash on shift-7, pipe on option-7, and backslash (a combination of the two, so to speak) on option-shift-7.

As for programming, the German layout — be it the Mac variant or the typical IBM PC one — has never been efficient for that. Use a US English keyboard, it has the tilde, backslash, semicolon and whatnot much more accessible. On a Mac, the US English keyboard also makes it somewhat easy to access umlauts — option-U+(a|o|u) — , the sz — option-S — , etc.

On October 29, 2005 2:29 PM, Chris F. said:

Thanks you very much for the back slash tip. Yes, desing is ok, but with the Keyboard, Apple went to far.

I was lucky to find your article. I would have never found out.

Thanks man.

On June 27, 2006 9:45 PM, Mikko said:

Thanks a lot! Works also with the Finnish keymap. Still needed two and a half years after posting the entry :D

On July 8, 2006 10:37 PM, XIII said:

Thank god for search engines, that saved me a lot grey hairs. Thanks!

On August 22, 2006 3:39 PM, Michael Lund said:


On October 8, 2006 1:31 PM, Sekander Rao Gasca said:

Muchas gracias, took me also quite some time to find your solution to the \\\\\

On November 22, 2006 3:19 PM, Alex Finck said:

Thanks. This is 1000x better than changing the input mehtod… I knew and used the keyboard viewer to try to find out where the backslash could be but could not think about alt shift…

On January 12, 2007 9:25 PM, yvonney said:

ohhh yes,damm . glad that I got to the point and searched in the internet for. glad I am not the only one. After having used my knowledge in vain, I started to test different combination by chance. with the result that I broke down my beloved ibook twice…

On January 18, 2007 9:56 PM, Marc M said:

aaaaaah thank you .. damn i hate that layout… but the rest hmmm niiice thnx man

On February 25, 2007 10:03 PM, Markus Kleinen said:

Schön zu sehen, dass ich hier auch ein paar Tips für meine anfänglichen Mac-Probleme finde. Dachte schon, es gäbe gar keine Möglichkeit Sonderzeichen zu entwerten :-)


PS: Der USB-Stick im Freitags-Ruby-Kurs auf der OOP 2007 war wohl doch USB 2.0 - die Post hat bei den SOA-Days doch nicht am falschen Ende gespart. InstantRails ht einfach zu viele kleine Dateien…

On September 2, 2008 4:02 PM, David Auerbach said:

Thank you!!!

On October 31, 2008 1:46 PM, Satu said:

Thanks, this saved my day!

On December 9, 2008 10:15 PM, Christian said:

Thank god for search engines. Just got my first macbook (switched from linux) and tried to find backslash.


On June 12, 2009 8:32 PM, TYPO3 Programmierer said:

Thanks !

i was searching a long time too!

it takes time to get used to the keyboard of my new mac book pro!

On September 17, 2009 10:11 PM, Stefan said:


Seems obvious in hindsight. Your post was the top google result. Thanks :)

On November 10, 2009 3:36 PM, Ritchie Flick said:

Thank god! I also just had this problem, thank you very much for this blog post!

On March 15, 2010 2:42 PM, Fred said:

Thanks, I was searching for this too!