Suggestions on hitting ctrl and meta all day without life sucking?


i’ve just moved here from vim-land where i dwelled happily for a long time. my laptop’s caps lock is remapped to escape so it was simple for me to do things like delete words without contorting my hands an awful lot.

now i’m trying to understand how to navigate efficiently in atom (or any non-modal editor) and it seems like i have to hit control, alt and command an awful lot. joining lines, moving by characters, moving by words, etc.

how do people do this on laptop keyboards all day?

  • keyboard remapping (i can see my right command key turning into a control) and using your right hand on the modifier keys (thumb on command, pinky on alt)
  • left hand pinky all day all night (read: rsi)
  • moving your right hand to the arrow keys like a chump
  • bust out the emacs pedals and model m at the cafe

note: i’m aware of the vim-mode package, but am not interested in that. i want to know how people type on mac laptop keyboards and jam command control and alt a lot.

ps. whoever worked on the searchable keybindings page in settings: thank you, you are a great person and we should probably be friends.

i’ve made a little contribution to the world to force use of control and alt if anyone needs help with that:


I hit command with my left thumb, by bending it just slightly to the left of the spacebar. If I want to hit option as well, I bend it just a bit further and cover both of them.
If I have to hit ctrl, I use my pinky, and shift my hand left: I hit ctrl+a, for example, with my pinky and my ring finger.
I’ve never had any RSI pains from using the keyboard, and I’m a programmer. I also use Dvorak, though, so things like cmd+x don’t force me to make my hand into a contorted claw.



have you considered remapping caps lock to ctrl?
if you decided against it - why?


If you are using linux,

You’re welcome.


I actually use capslock from time to time…
Something that I’ve thought about doing but have never done is what’s described right here:
Seems like a really cool idea.


Looks like xcape does the same thing :stuck_out_tongue:


I use Steve Losh’s setup, and I like it.

You use capslock… why… :wink:

In all honesty, if you do use it, why not remap it somewhere else as well, it doesn’t deserve that sacred spot!

For your core question, I don’t really have an answer. I’m a vimmer as well, but I use Ctrl and Cmd all over the place in other programs so I just have gotten somewhat used to them. Caps Lock to Ctrl (or Ctrl/Esc) is the only thing I can think of to help. I’m constantly using that mapping.


I don’t know… I just got used to using capslock when I learned to type, and I feel like I’d miss it :stuck_out_tongue: I also generally program in C so I’ve got all these lovely CONSTANTS and MACROS that make great use of it.

I do think I would like having the hyper key, though. Maybe I should bite the bullet - especially because I could still use it as caps lock with a tap!

I could also say something about being set in my ways, but honestly I taught myself Dvorak so I don’t really think that’s an excuse :stuck_out_tongue:


You can swap capslock and ctrl. My left ctrl is actually capslock

setxkbmap -option -option 'ctrl:swapcaps'

first -option does reset previous option.


whoa! thanks for those steve losh links. very clever setups.

i’ve decided to go with a variation of the hyper key:

  • caps lock acts as escape on hit, control on hold
  • left control acts as option
  • left option acts as nothing yet, will consider setting up something with keyboard maestro like the linked hyper key post

i’m feeling pretty great about this. thanks a lot for sharing links and set ups.

once my muscle memory is figured out with this i’ll probably destroy it with norman or colemak.


Man, everybody’s making a keyboard layout these days. How come there’s no Norman for Dvorak users? I’m used to my zxcv being where they should be (on the right side of the keyboard!).


Kinda related: I use the 6-layer neo layout with the default quertz layout because I didn’t think retraining that would benefit me much. I’ll probably try switching completely in the future, but this is still so much better for programming than the standard qwertz and you get to type almost any character you’d ever want.


If you want to add another key to your modifier list (and you don’t need capslock), use AutoHotkey with the below line to disable the capslock state permanently.

SetCapsLockState, AlwaysOff

Atom will still detect that you hit the capslock key but it won’t be in a capslock state, which means you can add keybindings like

'capslock 0': 'pane:close'