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    CAP Lock

    • Started by perfectwater08
    • 18 Replies:
    • Reputation: 0
    • Registered: 30-May-2006
    • Posts: 2

    Dear Shai,

          I'm currently learning the colemak layout, and I am very pleased with it. However, I don't think I can live without the CAP locks for AIM and MSN. And although there are other ways to express anger or enthusiasm, I still want to use the CAP lock. So will you please teach me how to make the backspace on the right side into a CAP lock? By the way, I really like your idea of moving the backspace to the left side of the keyboard. It's so much faster to delete! Thanks for reading and have a great day!


    Sincerely,
    Patrick

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    • Shai
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    • Registered: 11-Dec-2005
    • Posts: 375

    There are many workarounds: using bold, bigger font, holding the shift key, not writing in caps that much, using emoticons, using expletives, using many exclamation marks, etc.

    The easiest way to do what you want is to use the registry mapping.
    This requires administrative privileges and affects all users.

    Mapping through the registry affects all applications, including applications that read the keys directly (some games, VMware, etc.). This method doesn't support the multilingual features of the Colemak layout and doesn't allow switching to other layouts.

    * Make sure that the US QWERTY layout is the default keyboard layout, and the only keyboard layout installed. Remove all other keyboard layouts. Warning: failing to do so will cause a scrambled key layout, which will make the keyboard very difficult to use. You'll have to discover by trial and error the output of every key.
    * Download the KMapper utility (https://colemak.com/Registry_remapping)
    * Run the KMapper utility; File > Open > Choose the "colemak.kmp" file
    * Map the Backspace key to Caps Lock.
    * File > Save to Registry > Per Machine
    * Reboot

    * To remove the remappings: Run the I386\Clear remapping.reg file

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    • Registered: 30-May-2006
    • Posts: 2

    Dear Shai,

         After remapping the keyboard, I'm very satisfied; however, I can't switch to other keyboards, so my brother, parents, friends, etc. will not be able to use the qwerty layout when they're on my computer. But, I have an idea: I make a new layout exactly like colemak except with the backspace changed into a caps lock. and then install it into the computer just like I install the colemak layout. So please teach me how to make a new layout without having to remap the keys in the registry. Thanks a lot! (my purpose is to have the colemak layout with the backspace on the right turned into a caps lock and still have the ability to switch to the qwerty layout.)

    Thanks!
    Patrick
    P.S.- if it's too difficult to teach me how to make the new layout, then could you just please change that one backspace on the right into a caps lock and let me download it from this website? Thanks a bunch!

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    • Shai
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    • Registered: 11-Dec-2005
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    It's actually quite a lot of work to change it, because it requires several manual hacks to modify the special key Caps Lock, repackaging the installer, testing, etc. There's a program called "Keyboard Layout Manager" that can also do that, but it's not free. For this type of change you need the 2000 edition (costs 50€). I'm really busy these days, so I probably won't have time to create for you a modified layout.

    Another solution is to switch to the standard Colemak layout, and install AutoHotKey (https://www.autohotkey.com/). Create a text file using Notepad (or any other text editor) named CapsLock.ahk containing the following line:

    ScrollLock::CapsLock

    Then double-click the file to run it. This will map Scroll Lock to Caps Lock. You can add it to your startup. If you want to change it to some other hotkey, take a look at the "Hotkey basics" section in the AutoHotKey help.

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    • From: Horsham, West Sussex, UK
    • Registered: 11-Jun-2007
    • Posts: 86

    No caps lock key is a nasty problem when you are programming in a case sensitive language with code conventions that mandate all upper case for constants and other insane things. It can be very frustrating when you have to type things such as E_ALL_ACCESS and LPTSTR all over the place.

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    • From: Köln, Germany
    • Registered: 01-Apr-2007
    • Posts: 264

    Yeah, I would suggest that colemak remaps CAPSlock to backspace or that there is a CAPSlock version of Colemak. Since I only use the new backspace, the old one is a free key now and I'd be happy to have CAPSlock, which I do need sometimes.

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    • From: Bærum, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
    • Posts: 3,978

    I think the Backspace functionality deserves to be reachable by both hands. Maybe you haven't discovered how it can be used as a shortcut key for both Explorer and Internet Explorer in the new Windows versions? It's a useful key for sure, and when working flexibly I use both of mine.

    Therefore I've remapped the CapsLock functionality to my right-hand Win key, since I never ever used that. The only problem with that is when I fumble and hit it instead of AltGr, but this happens very rarely indeed.

    Turns out I don't have that file uploaded anymore, but it's really easy to reproduce with KMapper. I'd recommend this or something similar instead of losing the old Backspace - and I certainly wouldn't recommend that we start putting out a bunch of different Colemak installs as that will be both confusing and error-prone.

    One minor advantage with doing this my way, will be that if you share the computer with non-Colemak users (using a system layout setup, and reg for the CapsLock/Backspace only) they'll still have their Backspace key. Chances are they'll never really miss the old CapsLock position nor the right-hand Win key.

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    • From: Switzerland
    • Registered: 10-Nov-2007
    • Posts: 16

    I agree absolutely that the upper case should not be used, maybe except for short abbreviations which can be typed with repeated Shift. Most of the time there are other means which are better overall. But if liked or not, there are too many occasions where one has to type words not invented by himself like "UNESCO", keywords in programming languages like SQL or Fortran, "LD_LIBRARY_PATH", "MAXHOSTNAMELEN" and much more.

    These are my thoughts about the pros (+) and cons (-) for some solutions:

    1) No Caps Lock at all:
    - People without patience or being too skeptical may stop exploring on Colemak only because of this if they did not come across all the Colemak pros yet.
    + Weakens the usage of upper case.

    2) Caps Lock with a rarely used special key like Scroll Lock or Windows keys left/right:
    - Many special keys can not be found on many keyboards.
    - Using such a key weakens the work of people to get rid of it.

    3) Caps Lock with AltGr+Shift:
    + simply similar to the existing AltGr extensions of Colemak.
    + simply similar to Shift itself to which the Caps Lock is related to.
    + Similar to using Shift as a release of Caps Lock like it can be configured in some operating systems.
    + Similar to Left-Alt+Shift used to change the keyboard layout on the fly in some operating systems.
    Left-Alt+Shift shows that at least in some operating systems it is possible to do something with a combination of modifier keys without an additional key which produces a glyph when used solely. If AltGr+Shift is too disadvantageous, a key which produces a glyph when used solely, together with AltGr could be used at least. Then a left hand key would be preferred because AltGr is right hand. Another alternative would be Shift+Backspace like in Asset keyboard layout where Backspace is the old Caps Lock key too.

    Now which one to favor? The most important thing in my opinion is to have as many people as possible changing to Colemak as soon as possible. With that point of view the current state 1) is not the solution. A Colemak not widely used but without Caps Lock does not considerably weaken the usage of upper case.

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    • From: Houston, Texas
    • Registered: 03-Jan-2007
    • Posts: 358

    On my Macbook, at first I used the sticky keys function to make the shift key function like Caps Lock, but as I got better and faster at Colemak and found I needed it less and less in normal typing to now I just use the shift key and don't miss the Caps Lock key at all. 
    Programming may be another story but the way I format it's not needed.

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    • Registered: 07-Aug-2007
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    I guess the layout I'm using is a mod of rather than the True Colemak, because I've never used nor can I foresee using the single most touted feature of Colemak, namely the use of the QWERTY Caps Lock for Backspace.   The thing is, I prefer to have that key be Control (Unix users will empathize).  Luckily, this feature seems to be technically slightly more difficult to enable than the rest of Colemak, and that's just fine with me.

    (Also, the hair-shirt-wearer in me likes the fact that there should be some penalty to reaching for the Backspace key.  Hitting Backspace shouldn't be too easy -- at least for me!)

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    • From: Köln, Germany
    • Registered: 01-Apr-2007
    • Posts: 264

    Although I must agree that my Colemak accuracy is rubbish because of the caps lock backspace, I am really missing it on my mac at the moment. [The Double Command thingy is really annoying, as I have to press caps lock a few times for it to understand that I'd like to backspace delete something. Also, the flashing light puts me off.] It was a really convenient way of quickly correcting mistakes, without doing a finger pilgrimage across the keyboard.

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    • Registered: 07-Aug-2007
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    Exactly.   I started using Colemak cold turkey on July 4, 2007, a holiday here (I essentially sucked in the difficulty of being a laughably slow typist on two workdays until the weekend, when I got to practise some more). 

    I did not have the skill to change CapsLock to Backspace on the Mac OS.  I also couldn't get the offered Solaris software to work on my work Sun machine -- so I wrote a very easy and naive xmodmap myself looking at 'man xmodmap', but didn't deal with CapsLock, because (a) I was too lazy to add the slightly more clever entries for it, and (b) the CapsLock on my Sun keyboard was not all that desirable a location to begin with (Sun keyboards, sensibly enough, have their only Control key where you might expect CapsLock; they don't have symmetrical Left and Right Controls).  I like the Sun setup so much that I have CapsLock mapped to Control on the Mac -- which is an easy change that Mac OS X allows without external software.

    From hindsight, my inability to change CapsLock was a boon.  I kept using Backspace as in QWERTY whenever I needed to, and since it was a dreaded trip to keyboard Siberia (instead of keyboard Hawaii as Colemak mandates), my fingers learned to make less mistakes.  I can now do 67wpm without frightening the horses. 

    Still, the CapsLock-to-Backspace was a good publicity hook, even if in my case that's the one thing in Colemak that I didn't end up adopting.  There is obviously a large groundswell of antipathy toward CapsLock, which I share from having had to deal with non-Sun keyboards, and my eyes wouldn't have been open to Colemak if it weren't for its feisty anti-CapsLock stance.  Mere rearrangement of the letter keys would not have registered on me as something I could possibly learn to use.

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    • Registered: 23-Dec-2007
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    Shai said:

    It's actually quite a lot of work to change it, because it requires several manual hacks to modify the special key Caps Lock, repackaging the installer, testing, etc.

    So how did you do it? I figured that the functionality of the Caps-remapping must be in the DLL rather than a registry hack. Did you have to write + compile the Colemak.dll yourself then?

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    • Registered: 18-Mar-2008
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    I enabled sticky keys (with lock) on my computer. It only affects hotkeys that rely on modifier keys only, and I rarely have an accident because of it.

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    • From: New York, New York
    • Registered: 22-Nov-2008
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    But otherwise I just use CapsLock and Backspace in their regular positions and enjoy all of the other advantages of Colemak. I think it should be fine considering all of the stuff that Dvorak did and he never changed it, so I should be satisfied with that compromise since I want my Caps Key.

    I use ColemakDH. Colemak's okay though.

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    • Registered: 02-Jul-2010
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    It'd be nice to see how to map backspace to caps lock using the layout.ini file in pkl. it'd also be nice to see how to map the right win key to caps lock using pkl-style layout.ini syntax.

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    • Registered: 12-Nov-2007
    • Posts: 29

    Hi everyone,

    I'm a bit confused. When installing Colemak yesterday, I noticed that it said the CapsLock key was no longer mapped to Backspace. Is this so? Was this by user request? CapsLock/Backspace was one of my favorite features of Colemak.

    I generally use the portable version of Colemak (as the ALT/ALT combination is handy for turning it off), and it didn't map the CapsLock/Backspace either. Yet I have installed this same portable version on another computer and it did!

    I guess I'm just confused and hoping someone can give me some insight as to why this might be.

    Kind regards,
    wussboy

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    • Registered: 13-Dec-2011
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    Chromebooks do not have a caps lock key by default, and instead have the "search key" (basically, it opens a new tab). To get caps lock (without changing the settings for the search key), you press shift-shift. A similar approach would probably work for Colemak, as long as you are able to map shift-shift.

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    • From: Bærum, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
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    Shai hasn't changed his mind about anything that I know of if that's what you're wondering about Wussboy. However, not all installs have implemented the Caps Lock remapping - mostly for technical reasons. In Linux the Caps Lock and the main layout have been kept separate issues which is what I'd recommend. Then, you can choose what you want to do with your Caps Lock key and what layout you want separately.

    Not sure which portable version you're using. In PKL you can remap the Caps Lock if you want to. I use it as the PKL Extend key (recommended!).

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