Tuesday 4 February 2014

Remapping Tilde

If you’re a hacker, developer or a sysadmin, and you work with a non-US keyboard layout, you’ve probably been annoyed a time or two that the tilde ~ character is so hard to hit. On a Finnish keyboard, it’s behind Alt + ¨ after which you need to press the space bar unless a the next character with a tilde on it doesn’t exist. So Alt+¨ Space a if you want to type ~a.

If you’re on a Mac, i’ve got help for you.

  • Download the Ukelele keyboard remapping app from Sil.org. Extract and optionally add to your Applications folder.
  • Choose File > New from Current Input Source
  • Click the paragraph § key, because that’s the one we’re going to re-map. Or pick another key you want begone.
  • Give your layout a name: Keyboard > Set Keyboard Name... to distinguish it from the original one.
  • Optional syntactic sugar: Keyboard > Attach Icon File. Re-purpose an icon from the Ukelele example keyboard layout folder.
  • Save the keyboard layout file to ~/Library/Keyboard Layouts/
  • Open System Preferences > Keyboard > Keyboard > Input Sources (OSX 10.8). Locate and tick your newly saved and named Layout.
  • Choose your new layout from the icon close to the clock at the top menu bar.
  • Profit!

There are several nice things about this method. You can share your keyboard layout with your peers. You can go wild and re-map any normal key that you like. And you can always go back to normality in case your re-mapping went a little too wild :)

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