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A better input source switcher for OS X
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kawa.xcodeproj Use Swift4.2 Oct 19, 2018
kawa Change the default value for showNotification to false Oct 19, 2018
resource Update Aug 6, 2015
.gitignore Removes previous notifications when switching input source Nov 10, 2017
.travis.yml Use new xcode image for Travis CI Oct 19, 2018 Release v1.1.0 Nov 10, 2017
Cartfile.resolved Deliver notification on input source change Jun 28, 2017
LICENSE Update license Sep 15, 2017


Kawa GitHub license GitHub release travis-ci

A better input source switcher for OS X


Kawa helps users to switch between keyboard input sources by user-defined shortcuts.

A little background

I use 3 input sources in my Mac, U.S., 2-Set Korean and Hiragana. When I used to use only 2 sources, it was just fine. I needed to just stroke Command+Space to switch between them. However, when the other was added, it became a mess.

In order to switch an input source to another, Command+Space should be stroked several times. It's mainly because it switches a source to a previously-selected source, and usually we don't always remember what it was. There's another built-in shortcut, Alt+Command+Space, which switch the input to a next language in system order. However, the order should be memorised to avoid always checking which language is current. Although we've memorised the order perfectly, we need to stroke the keys more than twice if the sources are not adjecent. In short, it's a hell.

I'd always thought I needed an app like Kawa before I accidently became into Swift and decided to implement this by myself. I hope others can be helped by Kawa and escape from the input switching hell.




For better quality, there is a video version of this demo on Vimeo.


Using Homebrew

brew update
brew cask install kawa


The prebuilt binaries can be found in Releases.

Unzip and move to Applications.

For CJKV input sources

There is a known bug in the TIS library of macOS that switching keyboard layouts doesn't work well when done programmatically, especially between complex input sources like CJKV.

Kawa workarounded this bug by programmatically doing the followings:

  • Select a target input source
  • If the source is CJKV
    • Switch to the first non-CJKV input source
    • Return to the target input source by sending Select the previous input source shortcut

Thus, to activate the workaround above, the following restrictions should meet.

  1. There is at least one non-CJKV input source in the input source list
  2. The Select the previous input source shortcut should be enabled and set to something
    • It can be set in System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts > Input Sources


Preferences can be found in a preference window. The window can be opened by clicking the menubar icon of Kawa or launching Kawa again.

Show menubar icon

Show the icon of Kawa in the OS X menubar. When you click the icon, a preference window will be opened. If this option is unset, the icon will be hidden and the preference window can be opened when launching Kawa again.

Launch Kawa on startup

Add Kawa to startup items.

Show notification on input source change

Show macOS notification on input source change.


We use Carthage as a dependency manager. You can find the latest releases of Carthage here, or just install it with Homebrew.

$ brew update
$ brew install carthage

To clone the Git repository of Kawa and install dependencies:

$ git clone
$ carthage bootstrap

After dependency installation, you can open and build the project with Xcode.


The application is quite simple and this README contains quite most of it. When you have a problem using Kawa, I would recommend reading this README again, carefully.

If there's still a problem, please upload it as an issue on Issues.


Kawa is released under the MIT License.

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