Jack Franklin

Remapping Keys on Windows 10 with Power Toys

Since moving to Windows 10 something I've always struggled with is how to remap keys on a keyboard. I don't remap much, but one remapping that I've used now for about ten years is that I remap Caps Lock to ESC. This started when I was learning Vim, and has become so commited to muscle memory that I can't go back from it and I'm rendered useless on any machine that doesn't have this mapped!

On Mac OS this remapping was easy; the keyboard settings lets you remap certain keys, and tools like Karabiner Elements offered far more control. On Windows however, I could never find a solution. I used uncap and that did the job, but it was a bit manual, and only (by design) offered limited functionality. I really wanted a tool I could install, configure and forget about, that also gave me the ability to remap multiple keys should I need.

Power Toys

I then discovered Power Toys, a free set of programs for Windows 10 "power users" that provide a bunch of additional functionality. I'm surprised some of these aren't built into Windows by default (maybe one day they will), but one of the utilities that Power Toys provided is Keyboard Manager.

Keyboard Manager lets you define mappings intuitively; you hit the key you want to remap, then press the key ou want to remap it to. In my case, I hit Caps Lock, then ESC, and it was done! It also provides a visible list of mappings, and makes it easy to remove them if you make a mistake or change your mind.

I highly recommend checking out Power Toys, it has much to offer including a Window layout manager and a OS X Spotlight-esque launcher. I'll definitely be exploring these further!

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