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Ditch Caps Lock on Your Mac (brooksreview.net)
16 points by showngo on Dec 11, 2010 | hide | past | web | favorite | 37 comments



Switch Caps Lock and Ctrl - it'll drive you crazy for a week or two, then you'll never go back; Caps Lock is far more ergonomically placed than Ctrl considering how often you hit the latter vs. the former


The famous Happy Hacking (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Happy_Hacking_Keyboard) uses this layout by default.


Ah, forgot to mention - on Mac and Linux it's easy, on Windows there's Ctrl2Cap from Sysinternals that'll make the Caps Lock also act as Ctrl


On Windows it's simpler than that.

Just import this registry settings file if you want Caps to behave as Ctrl: http://ftp.gnu.org/old-gnu/emacs/windows/docs/ntemacs/contri...

Or this one if you want to switch Caps and Ctrl (although I never miss CapsLock personally): http://ftp.gnu.org/old-gnu/emacs/windows/docs/ntemacs/contri...


Ah, don't do that, weird things happen when you're using TS, if the host machine also has the same Ctrl-Caps switch.


How do you do it on Linux?


If you use ubuntu, it's an option in the "Keyboard" preferences pane.

There are several other ways, but the one I've found most reliable is xmodmap:

https://github.com/jemfinch/config/blob/master/.xmodmap (first three lines)

Put that in ~/.xmodmap and run "xmodmap ~/.xmodmap" from your .xsession or similar.


In Ubuntu (I think it works in Gnome in general):

System Menu -> Preferences -> Keyboard -> Layouts -> Options -> Ctrl Key Position -> Make Caps Lock an additional Ctrl


Ah, there's also a "swap ctrl and caps lock" option, thanks!


For a long time I toyed with idea of repurposing old Apple Enhanced II Keyboard that I got somewhere for free to use with my desktop, as it is quite well built. And there was one giant problem with that: I use capslock as another control key (almost everywhere, including Windows) and this is simply impossible to do with that keyboard, because capslock latches mechanically...


I switched CapsLock for delete, rather than control. It's an ergonomic lifeline; I can draft as much as I want, without developing shooting pain from the 'pinky shoot'.

Tip: disable CapsLock first, or there will be system lag when you use it as the delete key. Also, consider temporarily disabling the hardware backspace key until you learn to use the new one.


Does it still exhibit that ridiculous "protection" where it requires you to press it for half a second or so before it activates? It drives me mad, I have to press it two or three times before I remember where I'm typing and hold it down for the ages it requires.


OS X has no such feature. Some particular keyboards have built-in protection against accidental CAPS LOCK, though, so that may be what you are seeing.

If you are using an Apple keyboard and it has that behavior, check for a firmware update. They issued an update a long time ago that turns off that behavior on that key when it is being used for something other than CAPS LOCK.


Yeah, I guess you're right, since I run Ubuntu and still can't turn the damn thing off...


Always a problem for fast typists… Is there anyway to disable the stupid feature?


Never noticed that before, but yeah, it still does.


I used mine as an extra control for awhile. Currently I use it to switch to Japanese input mode.

It's unfortunate that you can't set it to Escape (without some dodgy hack at least), would be great for vim.


XKB keyboard maps recently got option to swap esc and capslock, but for long time that required dodgy hacks with xmodmap or writing your own keymap. On the other hand swaping capslock and esc (or for that matter any other keys) is trivial in windows (althought it requires writing obscure binary blocks into keyboard driver's configuration).


I love changing caps lock to ctrl, because it's just like the old Sun Microsystems keyboards I used to use in my university computer lab.

Does anyone know if the Sun keyboard introduced this layout, or if it dates back even further?

Edit: While I was looking for info on the Sun keyboards, I came across this article, about why it's a bad idea to switch caps lock and ctrl. I don't agree, but it's interesting: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1996002


That link doesn't work btw. Also, I recommend ditching Caps Lock altogether, not just switching.


It is very old. Control was next to A on the Teletype Model 33, the first ASCII keyboard.


Whenever I have activated it, it has always been by accident. I have been in the habit, for a long time, of holding the shift key with my left pinky whenever I need all caps. I can still type an A with my ring finger, and it feels completely natural to do so.

Despite this, it never once occurred to me to turn the blasted thing off. I just mapped it as a Ctrl key. I feel so old school. I may even learn Emacs now.


I use caps lock while programming quite a bit for some reason, mainly in C. It might just be habit, but when I want to type something like CONSTANT or MACRO, it's easier for me to do a quick caps-on, constant, caps-off than to hold shift while typing it.

I imagine this isn't a particularly common use case among the general public, though.


In emacs you can press C-Space, start typing, then use C-x C-u to capitalize what you just typed.


I use caps lock whenever I want to type more than two letters in upper case. Quite a few of my passwords have upper case strings in them and I get used to the motion of hitting caps-lock for a few characters then hitting it again to turn it off.

Needless to say the absolutely moronic "fix" for accidental caps lock in OSX (just used caps lock there) which delays activation for a fraction of a second makes this far less accurate and is mind blowingly frustrating. I almost returned my laptop because of it (but the suspend/resume on the macbooks is so good I had to take the good with the bad).


Same here, I do use caps lock pretty often while programming (C++) especially when defining enums. I do think however it wouldn't be a big deal if keyboards didn't have it.


My Ctrl key is on Caps Lock Ctrl is still ctrl though, I like having two. When in Windows via VMWare fusion it is much more comfortable to use the standard ctrl key when doing ctrl + shift + right/left arrow.


I changed Caps Lock to Control, which is extremely helpful. Especially since on the Macbook keyboard, it's tough to reach down and hit the Control button without accidentally hitting Function instead.


Super annoying. Very first thing I did when I got my MacBook was install KeyRemap4MacBook (http://pqrs.org/macosx/keyremap4macbook) to switch Control and Fn.


I do the same, in addition I also use it to map caps lock to an unused key (F14 or something) and use it for changing input sources.


Caps -> Meta (alt/option on Mac)

Works a charm for me. I've used this for years. I don't feel that using it as Ctrl is useful.


switching for Control would be nice. but even nicer would be switching for the right-arrow key. reaching across with my right hand every time i want to traverse a closed bracket in an IDE is ergonomically absurd


wow, i just noticed that Control-F does that on most Mac applications (control-B moves the cursor back). Control-D deletes forwards, Control-E moves cursor to end of line, and Control-A to start of line.

in nearly 20 years of Mac usage i've failed to realize that


This behavior came with OS X, a carry-forward from NEXTSTEP where these emacs-inspired key bindings worked in all text input boxes. I do not believe that Mac OS 9 and earlier had this.


Nice tip. Just disabled it. Will see how well this works out.


Did anyone with a mac NOT know that you could re-map keys from the keyboard syspref?


Yes.




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