Customizing Keyboard Layout on Mac

Because I’m still reading a lot about keyboards and keyboard layouts I have started experimenting with ways to improve the layout I use.

For example:

  1. I never use the Caps-Lock key
  2. I use right Alt a lot (for typing Polish letters)

I have found two interesting projects that might help me make those two more useful.

1. Caps-Lock

I have found really interesting advice in Colemak FAQ to remap CapsLock to Backspace — it’s intended to be so useful to convince you to switch to Colemak. Is it true?

Fortunately I was using for a while so I can check that for myself. Turns out my most used keys are Space and Backspace.

I use Backspace a lot

But how to do that?

You can remap “Modifier Keys” in “System Preferences”, but there is unfortunately no option for Backspace.

Changing modifier keys on Mac

Fortunately the is hope. You need to install: Seil. It’s a little low level but you can remap your keys however you want and it supports CapsLock.

So my plan is:

  1. Remap Caps-Lock to Backspace
  2. Remap Backspace to anything else to force myself to use it’s new position
51 means Delete
49 means Space (it’s intended to be annoying)

With those two changes I’m trying to learn this more efficient way of typing and fixing typos.

Disclaimer I have installed Karabiner (mentioned later) before installing Sail so if you have any problems try to do that as well.


Actually I found this one by accident while looking at options in Karabiner in the section called “For Polish”:

Easier Polish letters

The thing is that I use Left Command as everyone else for Cmd-C, Cmd-V etc. but I almost never use right Command. Polish letters require me to use Right Option(Alt) a lot so moving it closer to Space is going to make it easier to type with my left thumb.

The nice thing about Karabiner is that it has lots of useful mappings. There are lots of included sections with much more radical (and useful) changes.

Changing individual keys, or using keybindings form Vi or Emacs is really easy to to

As of me I want to stick to those two changes mentioned earlier just to keep my sanity at a manageable levels :)