Mac OS X: French Canada vs. France

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
April 23rd, 2003 • 12:39 am

There is a simple, yet very annoying problem with Apple’s default settings for French-language installations of Mac OS X (Jaguar, any version).

When you install Mac OS X, one of the first things that the system asks you is what kind of keyboard layout you want to use. If you’ve selected “French” as your main language of operation, the choice includes the “French” keyboard layout, the “Canadian – CSA” keyboard layout, and a few other French-language layouts.

It seems to me that, once you’ve indicated that you are using a “Canadian – CSA” keyboard layout, it’s pretty clear that you are using a Canadian computer in Canada. (There could be exceptions, of course, but that must be the default, by an overwhelming majority.)

This means that, in all likelihood, you will be using your computer with printers made and sold in the US and Canada, i.e. printers for which the default paper size is “US Letter”/”Lettre US”.

Why on earth, then, does Mac OS X default to “A4” as the default paper size?

Part of my job is to help other people with their Macs, and I regularly have to install new Macs or install Mac OS X on older Macs. In most cases, I install the French-Canadian version. And every time I forget that, by default, the paper size is going to be set to “A4”, and every time I get a phone call about the computer not printing properly, etc.


[This item was submitted to Apple through the Bug Reporter page.]

7 Responses to “Mac OS X: French Canada vs. France”

  1. Jean-Pierre Dupuy says:

    To Pierre Igot and others


    I have just realized that Mac OS X Panther doesn’t have a keyboard layout for French-Canadian. I am a french citizen accustomed to typing on a QWERTY keyboard, and the French-Canadian layout is much more comfortable than the Canadian-CSA.

    Am I mistaken? Is there a way out?

    Thanks for your consideration.

    Jean-Pierre Dupuy

  2. Pierre Igot says:

    Jean-Pierre: I am assuming that you are referring to the older French Canadian keyboard layout that used to be available in the classic Mac OS. I don’t think it ever made it into Mac OS X. However, the main Library folder in Mac OS X does have a subfolder called “Keyboard Layouts”, so it looks like OS X supports the addition of third-party keyboard layouts. Maybe someone somewhere has come up with a layout for OS X? Good luck… (As a French citizen, I find the Canadian CSA layout very comfortable myself :) — much more so than the standard French AZERTY!)

  3. Jean-Pierre Dupuy says:

    Merci beaucoup, Pierre, that’s very useful. Jean-Pierre.

  4. Pierre Igot says:

    Jean-Pierre: See also this page on Apple’s web site, as well as this page, in the Mac OS X section, under “Other Keyboards”, which has references to several apparently useful pages.

    Let us know when you’ve found what you need!

  5. Pierre Igot says:

    Lower down in the Apple tech note, you’ll see a paragraph that says “To use a Mac OS 9 keyboard suitcase, append the file extension .rsrc.” So it looks like you can just take your Canadian-French layout out of the system suitcase in Mac OS 9, add the extension and then move it to the “Keyboard Layouts” in OS X.

  6. Pierre Igot says:

    Even easier: They seem to have just what you need on this site. :-)

  7. Jean-Pierre Dupuy says:

    Thanks a lot, Pierre, that was indeed so easy! I am very grateful. Best, JP

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