Unless you spend too much time commenting on YouTube videos, you probably don't use your Caps Lock key all that often. Google has even replaced it with a dedicated search key on the Chromebook. The prominence of the Caps Lock key lends itself to something more than just INTERNET SHOUTING.
This tutorial will walk you through using a few free tools to remap your caps lock key to a function you'll use more often such as launching spotlight, activating an app launcher, like Alfred or LaunchBar, opening OmniFocus's quick entry dialogue or even as an additional Delete key.
In order to remap your caps lock key you need two free pieces of software from www.pqrs.org.
Installing the Software
Step 1: Downloading the Software
Step 2: Installing KeyRemap4Macbook
In Finder, go to your Downloads folder and open KeyRemap4Macbook.dmg.
Double click on KeyRemap4Macbook.pkg to start the installation.
Depending on your security settings, you may get a warning telling you that you can not install software from unidentified developers. If this is the case, close the notification window, then press the Control key and Click, together, the mouse cursor on the .pkg file and select Open to make a one time exception.
You will get a notification that KeyRemap4Macbook.pkg is from an unidentified developer and given the option to either Open it or Cancel. Click Open to proceed with the installation.
Follow the installation prompts that KeyRemap4Macbook provides. You will need to enter your password to allow it to install.
In order to complete the installation you must restart your computer. Do this now.
Step 3: Installing PCKeyboardHack
After your computer restarts, go to your Downloads folder and open PCKeyboardHack.dmg.
Double click on PCKeyboardHack.pkg to begin the installation. If you got a warning about your security settings when installing KeyRemap4MacBook you will need to Control Click when opening this .pkg file, too.
Click through the installation dialogue boxes as before, entering your password as required.
To finish the installation you will need to restart your computer again. Do this now.
Step 4: Remapping the Caps Lock Key
To remap the caps lock key open PCKeyboardHack from your Applications folder.
Under Caps Lock, check the Change Caps Lock checkbox. The default setting remaps the caps lock key to an additional delete key. If this is what you want, close the preference pane and you are now done!
To do this, double click on the 51 in the keycode column and enter "80", instead.
You've now remapped your Caps Lock key.
Spotlight is the file search program integrated in OS X.
To configure caps lock to launch Spotlight, open System Preferences and navigate to the Keyboard pane.
Click on Keyboard Shortcuts,
and then Spotlight.
Double click where it shows your previous keyboard shortcut and press your, now remapped, caps lock key. F19 will replace whatever was previously in the input box.
Exit system preferences and you're done.
Launching an App Launcher (Like Alfred)
To configure caps lock to launch Alfred, open Alfred's Preferences panel.
Navigate to the General tab and with the Alfred Hotkey dialogue box highlighted, press your remapped caps lock key.
Exit the preference menu and you will be able to trigger Alfred with your caps lock key.
The procedure is similar in both LaunchBar and Quicksilver.
Launching OmniFocus's Quick Entry Dialogue
OmniFocus is a powerful task manager. One of its main features is a quick entry dialogue that allows you to instantly enter tasks from anywhere on your mac.
To configure caps lock to launch OmniFocus's quick entry dialogue, open OmniFocus's Preferences.
Under the General tab, highlight the Quick Entry Shortcut input and press the remapped Caps Lock key.
Exit Preferences to finish.
With two lightweight pieces of software, KeyRemap4Macbook and PCKeyboardHack, I've successfully turned the caps lock key into a far more useful tool. If none of the applications above catch your interest, you can remap it to many functions in your favourite applications. Play around with it and comment below if you have any great ideas.