Use Caps Lock, Luke!
If you're an ordinary fellow human, chances are
that you're using
Caps Lock is just one button, it's big
enough on most keyboards, and you don't need
original Caps Lock functionality that much often
If you've used Vim for more than accidentaly making
your computer beep, then you know how good it feels
to do things with just one keypress. If you prefer Emacs, then you have a
mule-titude of other options that don't break
C-o M-b o s. System switching
doesn't do you any good, so think about
If you do not remap Caps Lock, then it's just a useless key. Remapping gives it a purpose, and a noble one. You'll feel like a Pro switching layouts. Speaking of pro...
As with all good things in life, Caps Lock switching comes with a few bad points:
- You'll miss it on other computers. You'll
press Caps Lock, expecting it to do the
thing, but it'll do THE THING. I think that
is a valid counterargument, but it doesn't
bite you as much as using Dvorak, for
example. And you already have this
inconvenience, because you can't tell if it's
- Other people would be surprised. It's the previous point, but with a twist. Same logic applies.
- Nope, I can't recall any other arguments.
It won't help you to exclude these situations when you typed a whole sentence in a wrong language. If it bothers you, check out Punto Switcher (Windows-only, and I'm not sure if it works with any other layout pairs aside from Winkeys-Winkeys Cyrillic)
How to switch
On Linux you can set xkb map with aptly named
$ setxkbmap -option grp:caps_toggle -option grp_led:caps
That will set
Caps Lock as a switch for
current session and use Caps Lock LED, if you
have one, to display current layout
(apparently, useful only if you use two
layouts). To preserve this behaviour, put it
~/.xsessionrc or what have you.
Original ALL [I WANT IS TO WRITE IN] CAPS is still available to you as
Shift-Caps Lock. But think twice before using it,
When I used Windows, I rolled with
lswitch.exe, which is available from
https://haali.su/winutils/. As far as I
remember, it makes original Caps Lock
Shift-Caps Lock as well. I've
seen recommendations about AutoHotKey and alike,
but didn't try it.
Mac OS X
It's a little bit sad that system praised for its usability doesn't allow you to do that natively, but hey, there is a way!
About this document
I've written this so the next time I got asked about why do I change layouts the way I do, I could just send 'em a link.
- v 1.3, 2016-10-21 — reformatted to Markdown
- v 1.2, 2016-08-16 — add Mac OS X section
- v 1.1, 2016-08-16 — fix few mistakes
- v 1.0, 2016-08-16 — initial release