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    Creating/Modifying keyboard layouts for Windows?

    • Started by benzi455
    • 3 Replies:
    • Reputation: 0
    • Registered: 29-Jan-2007
    • Posts: 3

    I've been using Dvorak for a couple of years, and although I find Colemak impressive, I don't want to take the time to switch to it.  I do, though, think that using the caps lock as a backspace is a great idea, and I remapped it as such on the Dvorak layouts of my X server and Linux console.  It feels very nice to have the backspace in a more convenient position.  But now I'd like to make a Windows XP keyboard layout with this modification.

    I assume the format of whatever files Windows stores keyboard layouts in is binary, just for the sake of obfuscation (after all, this is Microsoft we're dealing with), but I have no clue about the workings of Windows keyboard layout management.  Is there a keyboard layout editor that I can use (that lets me reassign the caps lock key)?  Could I edit it by hand?  How did you make the Colemak layout installer, Shai?

    Thanks
    Ben

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    • Shai
    • Administrator
    • Reputation: 7
    • Registered: 11-Dec-2005
    • Posts: 380

    The easiest way to remap Caps Lock to Backspace, is simply to use registry remapping. You just need to run the file I386\Caps to Backspace.reg included in the Colemak ZIP file, and restart.

    The easiest way to create a keyboard layout with Caps Lock mapped to Backspace would be first to install Colemak, and after the Colemak layout has been installed, to use Keyboard Layout Manager Medium to edit the Colemak layout and change the keys to Dvorak and that way you can keep Caps Lock into Backspace. Be sure to press "Resolve VKs" before pressing "OK" to save the layout. You then create an MSI using MSKLC, and replace the DLL file with the one from C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\Colemak.DLL

    The installer is an AutoIt script that doesn't do a lot more than run the .MSI file and shows a few messages to guide the user through the installation. Future versions of the installer will be created using NSIS.

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    • Registered: 29-Jan-2007
    • Posts: 3

    Very cool.  I personally find registry editing to be a bit unclean, so I try to avoid it.  Good idea, about editing Colemak with MSKLC.  Will do.  Just wondering, though, how did you originally create the keymap?

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    • Reputation: 114
    • From: Oslo, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
    • Posts: 4,742

    You shouldn't think of registry remapping as less tainted than running a compiled AutoIt script (which, had not Shai been honesty itself, could easily have contained a keylogger for instance!) that in turn runs a registry remapping... that most users won't even check out.

    I'm not saying anything is wrong with the installer package (that Shai hasn't already pointed out), just that you shouldn't think less of a reg hack.

    *** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
    *** Check out my Big Bag of Keyboard Tricks for Win/Linux/TMK... ***

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