February 22, 2009

Keyboard remapping on Mac OS X

The Danish Keyboard mappings for the Mac are insane. The hack-necessary { and } keys are hidden away under a double modifier and various other keys have gone missing. Fortunately you can use Ukulele to remap the keyboard. Even this however is slightly insane, so here's how.
Btw: This is not the good way to do "functional remapping" (i.e. map this key to PageUp) other tools do that.

  1. Install and open Ukulele (this may not be bizarre to the mac savvy, but the app does not grab focus when you start it)

  2. File|New

  3. Choose 'copy from other layout'

  4. In the Ukulele distribution are copies of all the standard layouts. Danish is under the 'Roman' layouts

  5. Remember to give your layout a name in the Keyboard menu

  6. Here's the slightly insane part: The layout is organized by modifiers. The entire layout, that is, e.g. "here's how the keyboard looks when option key is down". You can't use a modifier combination that isn't already in the layout. (You can add new ones through an interface so lacking in intuititiveness that I didn't figure it out). I had little luck mapping cmd-single key to a new character as an example. Mapping stuff to alt-something however works fine, as there is already an alt- keyboard.

  7. Chose a modifier. Double click a key. Choose a value. Repeat

  8. Save the file in your ~/Library/Keyboard Layouts

  9. Go to System Preferences|International|Input Menu and enable your layout there. This is where you'll be sorry if you didn't rename distinctively.

  10. Log out and then in again

  11. You should now be done

This is just an intermediate fix so typing is actually possible. Now all I need is proper universal page down and up and other things the non-Mac world is used to.

Posted by Claus at February 22, 2009 10:37 AM
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