Killing Caps Lock

Today I’d like to share a productivity secret with you.  This is nothing mind-blowing, just a simple tweak I make on my systems to speed up my typing.

In nearly all OS’s and major applications the Control key plays a large roll.  Whether it’s CTRL-C to copy, CTRL-L to enter a URL or CTRL-x CTRL-s to save - the Control key get’s a lot of use.  Unfortunately on most standard keyboards it’s in a fairly awkward position, causing you to use your weakest finger to stretch away from the home-row to somewhere very uncomfortable.  We all know the more uncomfortable or unnatural something is the more likely it will be abandoned.

The thought here is simple - get rid of a really annoying and arguably useless key (Caps-Lock) and replace it with the more commonly used Control key.  At first getting used to reaching to the left instead of down will be a difficult habit to break, but I guarantee you after a few days it will becoming totally natural and you will never look back.  Having a larger “target” to hit will your pinky will help with accuracy!


The solution for Windows is actually rather straight-forward.  Sysinternals has a nice piece of software called Ctrl2cap.  As promised it moves your Control key to the Caps-lock position.  Since it works as a kernel mode device driver you will not have any issues with compatibility between apps, video games, virtual environments, etc.  They all will see the CapsLock as the true Control key.

Download Ctrl2cap


In recently modern versions of OS X (> 10.4) swapping the caps lock is relatively simple.  Just go to System Preferences, then to Keyboard, select Modifier Keys and change the drop-down by Caps Lock.


The Linux Philosophy makes swapping Caps Lock and Control a little different.  Unlike Windows and Mac who grew out of a single user environment (one dedicated mouse and keyboard for one user) Linux has a multi-user heritage.  Owing to this there is the possibility of having local and global keymaps for both text-mode and X Windows.  In addition many Window Managers will let you customize your key layout as well.

Rather than list all of the different possibilities for Linux I’ll point you to a RemapCapsLock on the venerable c2 wiki