Reassign the Caps Lock Key

If you don't use the Caps Lock key, you can disable it to prevent accidental use. You can also re-assign it as an optional Command, Control, Option or Esc key.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Reassign the Caps Lock Key.

Have you ever looked at your keyboard and wondered if there was something better you can do with the Caps Lock key? If you're like me you never use the Caps Lock key. At least not as caps lock. You can reassign it to be another modifier key or turn it off if you find yourself accidentally hitting it. It's easy to do. It's right in System Preferences.

You want to go to System Preferences and then in there go to Keyboard and then select Keyboard at the upper left here. Then click on the Modifier Keys button. You'll get a list of the four modifier key buttons. The Shift key isn't offered as one of the options even though that is technically a modifier key.

So you've got Control, Option, and Command here and you can actually reassign these. So, for instance, if you're a windows user and you're used to Command and Control being reversed on your keyboard you may want to reassign it so control is command and command is control.

But I recommend that you don't do that. Get used to the new Mac layout because if you reassign them and then you sit down at another Mac you're going to find yourself having a hard time using it. So I recommend keeping these three keys the same.

But Caps Lock key certainly you can change. You can see your options here are to use one of the existing modifier keys which could be useful. Much more useful than Caps Lock is. So, for instance, if you wanted to have an alternative to the Option key to use Caps Lock instead you can assign Option to Caps Lock.

You can also assign Escape, the Escape key, to Caps Lock. This is very useful especially if you have a new MacBook Pro with the Touch Bar at the top and the escape key is now in software. If you're a developer you may want to have a hardware Escape key, something you can physically hit, if the Touch Bar isn't working while let's say you're developing your app. So it is very useful to assign Escape to Caps Lock.

The other option, which you should probably choose if you decide you don't want any of this but you don't use Caps Lock at all, is No Action. Meaning that if you accidentally hit caps lock it's not going to turn on. Everybody has had the experience where they try to type a password and caps lock is accidentally on and the password is incorrect because everything is in uppercase and you can't see that. So for a lot of people just simply switching to No Action will actually improve your keyboard and for others you may want to choose a more useful function for Caps Lock.

Comments: One Response to “Reassign the Caps Lock Key”

    Ilan Aisic
    2 years ago

    I’m using a Magic Keyboard (BT), so I am able to select different action for each of the keyboards. There’s a “select keyboard” menu at the top of the Keyboard menu (which is not shown in your video). I have 2 options there: “Magic Keyboard” and “Apple Internal Keyboard / Trackpad”. I imagine that if I connect a third USB keyboard, it will also appear there.

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