Caps Lock is Dumb; Make it Useful

I’ve long thought that Caps Lock was quite dumb. Yes, I’m sure there is some archaic reason it exists, but the truth is I don’t care. I don’t find it useful and am annoyed that it’s taking up valuable room on my Home Row. The more I use Vim the more angry I get at the Caps Lock key.

Making Caps Lock Useful, on The Mac

I long ago remapped Caps Lock to Esc on my Mac - which worked great for TextMate. However, these days I spend the majority of my time in Vim or Zsh (in Vim mode) where I’d much prefer to have Ctrl on my Home Row. Remapping Caps Lock to Ctrl is trivial on OS X; it’s baked in via System Preferences > Keyboard Preferences > Modifier Keys.

Making Caps Lock Useful, on The Windows

To my knowledge, there is nothing baked into the OS that makes this easy, but there are a handful of utilities that will let you remap most keys. I opted for the Lo-Fi route - hacking the registry to remap Caps Lock to Ctrl.

 [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Keyboard Layout]
 "Scancode Map"=hex:00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,02,00,00,00,1d,00,3a,00,00,00,00,00

To use it, just download/save the raw .reg file to your Windows box, and the run (double-click, whatever) it.

And there you have it. Good bye, annoying Caps Lock. Hello, useful stuff!