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Mac OS X: How to Implement a Korean Keyboard

(Catalina, Mojave, High Sierra and Earlier Versions)

If you landed on this page from a search engine, you can start at the beginning of this article by choosing Part I in the Table of Contents.

Mac OS X: Keyboard Implementation Steps

1) Click the apple icon (in the top left corner of your desktop) and select “System Preferences”.
Mac OS X Korean keyboard step 1

2) Select (double-click) “Keyboard”.
Mac OS X Korean keyboard step 2

3) Click “Input Sources”. At this point, you will see only the standard English keyboard. Click the “+” sign.
Mac OS X Korean keyboard step 3

4) In the left panel, scroll down and select “Korean”. Make sure that the “2-Set Korean” layout (the default option) is selected in the right panel. Click “Add”. The right panel shows a number of different keyboard layout styles (with the consonant and vowel keys arranged in different ways), which date back to the mechanical typewriter days. Nowadays, however, the option shown at the top (“2-Set”) is the essentially the only keyboard used in Korea, and virtually no one uses the other keyboards. There is a large picture of the “2-Set” layout in the first page of this article.
Mac OS X Korean keyboard step 4

5) You can now use the Korean keyboard. For detailed instructions, see below.
Parenthetically, the “2-Set Korean” button in the left panel leads to 3 deeper controls within the Korean option (“Input Format”, “Delete By”, etc.). You don't need to be concerned with them.
Mac OS X Korean keyboard step 5

How to Use the Korean Keyboard

With the Korean keyboard option implemented, you will see a tiny new icon in the top right corner of your desktop. The U.S. flag icon indicates that your keyboard is now in the English mode.
Mac OS X Korean keyboard step 6

By clicking the icon, you can choose between two keyboards: English (U.S. flag icon) and Korean (Korean mode indicator).
Mac OS X Korean keyboard step 7

When you select the Korean keyboard, the language icon changes to Korean mode indicator, and your keyboard is now ready to type Korean. You can move back and forth between English and Korean at any time by changing the language icon.
Mac OS X Korean keyboard step 8


There is a large picture of the Korean keyboard layout in Part I of this article. To view it in a new tab, click here.

Let’s type 하늘, which means “sky” in Korean. This word consists of two clusters: and . In Korean, each cluster (the box-shaped unit) is a syllable. In this word, the first cluster has 2 component sounds and . The second syllable has 3: ㄴ, ㅡ and .

If you were writing on paper, you would have to learn how to assemble the components into properly shaped clusters. When you type on a computer, however, you can simply type the consonants and vowels as a linear string, and your computer will assemble them into syllabic clusters for you.

So, for 하늘, type ㅎ ㅏ ㄴ ㅡ ㄹ as a simple string (with no space). You will notice that the first 2 components are grouped to form the first cluster, and the other 3 to form the second.

Let’s type another word 한글, which means the Korean alphabet (Hangul). In this word, the first and second clusters have 3 components each. Type ㅎㅏㄴㄱㅡㄹ as a simple string (with no space). You will notice that, this time, your computer incorporates the first 3 components into the first cluster and the other 3 into the second. If you wish to learn more about how the Korean consonants and vowels are put together into syllabic clusters, you may find our "Korean Alphabet Made Easy" article helpful.