How to assign Caps lock on Backspace key on Colemak?

OS: Debian GNU/Linux Wheezy

Colemak keyboard layout doesn’t have CapsLock key. The ‘CapsLock’ key is replaced by Backspace to have two Backspace keys. When you have to type series of uppercase character it’s inconvenient to use a upper and lower character conversion function or menu whichever program you use.

Debian uses Xorg for GUI. This instruction explains how to assign CapsLock on Backspace key in Colemak.

Open a terminal then type xev. It will show a tiny white window. Moving the mouse cursor or press a key print out text on the terminal. Here is my key values from xev. In my keyboard the CapsLock key has 66 of keycode. In Qwerty keyboard layout it produces Caps_Lock. The Backspace is located at the end of second row in my keyboard.


keycode keysym Name
-----------------------
22 0xff08 BackSpace
66 0xff08 BackSpace

Close xev or open a terminal. Assign Caps_Lock on the Backspace key.

$ xmodmap -e "keycode 22 = Caps_Lock"

Check the Backspace key turning on and off lower and upper case character. If it works, create .Xmodmap file.

$ xmodmap -pke > .Xmodmap

Xorg reads .xinitrc file when it starts. To make above change permanently, add the codes in $HOME/.xinitrc file. For example the full path of .xinitrc file in my Wheezy box is /home/penguin/.xinitrc.


# load custom key maps
usermodmap=$HOME/.Xmodmap

if [ -f $usermodmap ]; then
echo $usermodmap
/usr/bin/xmodmap $usermodmap
fi

$ ls -l ~/.xinitrc
-rw-r--r-- 1 penguin penguin 1206 Sep 10 12:25 /home/penguin/.xinitrc

My mechanical keyboard has two LED lights on CapsLock and ScrollLock keys. When I activated ScollLock, the CapsLock key strangely did Backspace and Caps_Lock at the same time, which wasn’t expected. I do not know how to solve this bug yet.

Below is my .Xmodmap for reference: xmodmap skips line starting with ‘!’.

keycode 8 =
keycode 9 = Escape NoSymbol Escape
keycode 10 = 1 exclam 1 exclam exclamdown onesuperior exclamdown
keycode 11 = 2 at 2 at masculine twosuperior masculine
keycode 12 = 3 numbersign 3 numbersign ordfeminine threesuperior ordfeminine
keycode 13 = 4 dollar 4 dollar cent sterling cent
keycode 14 = 5 percent 5 percent EuroSign yen EuroSign
keycode 15 = 6 asciicircum 6 asciicircum hstroke Hstroke hstroke
keycode 16 = 7 ampersand 7 ampersand eth ETH eth
keycode 17 = 8 asterisk 8 asterisk thorn THORN thorn
keycode 18 = 9 parenleft 9 parenleft leftsinglequotemark leftdoublequotemark leftsinglequotemark
keycode 19 = 0 parenright 0 parenright rightsinglequotemark rightdoublequotemark rightsinglequotemark
keycode 20 = minus underscore minus underscore endash emdash endash
keycode 21 = equal plus equal plus multiply division multiply
keycode 22 = Caps_Lock NoSymbol Caps_Lock
keycode 23 = Tab ISO_Left_Tab Tab ISO_Left_Tab
keycode 24 = q Q q Q adiaeresis Adiaeresis adiaeresis
keycode 25 = w W w W aring Aring aring
keycode 26 = f F f F atilde Atilde atilde
keycode 27 = p P p P oslash Oslash oslash
keycode 28 = g G g G dead_ogonek asciitilde dead_ogonek
keycode 29 = j J j J dstroke Dstroke dstroke
keycode 30 = l L l L lstroke Lstroke lstroke
keycode 31 = u U u U uacute Uacute uacute
keycode 32 = y Y y Y udiaeresis Udiaeresis udiaeresis
keycode 33 = semicolon colon semicolon colon odiaeresis Odiaeresis odiaeresis
keycode 34 = bracketleft braceleft bracketleft braceleft guillemotleft U2039 guillemotleft
keycode 35 = bracketright braceright bracketright braceright guillemotright U203A guillemotright
keycode 36 = Return NoSymbol Return
keycode 37 = Control_L NoSymbol Control_L
keycode 38 = a A a A aacute Aacute aacute
keycode 39 = r R r R dead_grave asciitilde dead_grave
keycode 40 = s S s S ssharp asciitilde ssharp
keycode 41 = t T t T dead_acute dead_doubleacute dead_acute
keycode 42 = d D d D dead_diaeresis asciitilde dead_diaeresis
keycode 43 = h H h H dead_caron asciitilde dead_caron
keycode 44 = n N n N ntilde Ntilde ntilde
keycode 45 = e E e E eacute Eacute eacute
keycode 46 = i I i I iacute Iacute iacute
keycode 47 = o O o O oacute Oacute oacute
keycode 48 = apostrophe quotedbl apostrophe quotedbl otilde Otilde otilde
keycode 49 = grave asciitilde grave asciitilde dead_tilde asciitilde dead_tilde
keycode 50 = Shift_L NoSymbol Shift_L
keycode 51 = backslash bar backslash bar asciitilde asciitilde asciitilde
keycode 52 = z Z z Z ae AE ae
keycode 53 = x X x X dead_circumflex asciitilde dead_circumflex
keycode 54 = c C c C ccedilla Ccedilla ccedilla
keycode 55 = v V v V oe OE oe
keycode 56 = b B b B dead_breve asciitilde dead_breve
keycode 57 = k K k K dead_abovering asciitilde dead_abovering
keycode 58 = m M m M dead_macron asciitilde dead_macron
keycode 59 = comma less comma less dead_cedilla asciitilde dead_cedilla
keycode 60 = period greater period greater dead_abovedot asciitilde dead_abovedot
keycode 61 = slash question slash question questiondown asciitilde questiondown
keycode 62 = Shift_R NoSymbol Shift_R
keycode 63 = KP_Multiply KP_Multiply KP_Multiply KP_Multiply KP_Multiply KP_Multiply XF86ClearGrab
keycode 64 = Alt_L Meta_L Alt_L Meta_L
keycode 65 = space space space space space nobreakspace space
keycode 66 = BackSpace BackSpace BackSpace BackSpace BackSpace BackSpace BackSpace
! keycode 66 = BackSpace NoSymbol
keycode 67 = F1 F1 F1 F1 F1 F1 XF86Switch_VT_1
keycode 68 = F2 F2 F2 F2 F2 F2 XF86Switch_VT_2
keycode 69 = F3 F3 F3 F3 F3 F3 XF86Switch_VT_3
keycode 70 = F4 F4 F4 F4 F4 F4 XF86Switch_VT_4
keycode 71 = F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 XF86Switch_VT_5
keycode 72 = F6 F6 F6 F6 F6 F6 XF86Switch_VT_6
keycode 73 = F7 F7 F7 F7 F7 F7 XF86Switch_VT_7
keycode 74 = F8 F8 F8 F8 F8 F8 XF86Switch_VT_8
keycode 75 = F9 F9 F9 F9 F9 F9 XF86Switch_VT_9
keycode 76 = F10 F10 F10 F10 F10 F10 XF86Switch_VT_10
keycode 77 = Num_Lock NoSymbol Num_Lock
keycode 78 = Scroll_Lock NoSymbol Scroll_Lock
keycode 79 = KP_Home KP_7 KP_Home KP_7
keycode 80 = KP_Up KP_8 KP_Up KP_8
keycode 81 = KP_Prior KP_9 KP_Prior KP_9
keycode 82 = KP_Subtract KP_Subtract KP_Subtract KP_Subtract KP_Subtract KP_Subtract XF86Prev_VMode
keycode 83 = KP_Left KP_4 KP_Left KP_4
keycode 84 = KP_Begin KP_5 KP_Begin KP_5
keycode 85 = KP_Right KP_6 KP_Right KP_6
keycode 86 = KP_Add KP_Add KP_Add KP_Add KP_Add KP_Add XF86Next_VMode
keycode 87 = KP_End KP_1 KP_End KP_1
keycode 88 = KP_Down KP_2 KP_Down KP_2
keycode 89 = KP_Next KP_3 KP_Next KP_3
keycode 90 = KP_Insert KP_0 KP_Insert KP_0
keycode 91 = KP_Delete KP_Decimal KP_Delete KP_Decimal
keycode 92 = ISO_Level3_Shift NoSymbol ISO_Level3_Shift
keycode 93 =
keycode 94 = minus underscore minus underscore endash emdash endash
keycode 95 = F11 F11 F11 F11 F11 F11 XF86Switch_VT_11
keycode 96 = F12 F12 F12 F12 F12 F12 XF86Switch_VT_12
keycode 97 =
keycode 98 = Katakana NoSymbol Katakana
keycode 99 = Hiragana NoSymbol Hiragana
keycode 100 = Henkan_Mode NoSymbol Henkan_Mode
keycode 101 = Hiragana_Katakana NoSymbol Hiragana_Katakana
keycode 102 = Muhenkan NoSymbol Muhenkan
keycode 103 =
keycode 104 = KP_Enter NoSymbol KP_Enter
keycode 105 = Control_R NoSymbol Control_R
keycode 106 = KP_Divide KP_Divide KP_Divide KP_Divide KP_Divide KP_Divide XF86Ungrab
keycode 107 = Print Sys_Req Print Sys_Req
keycode 108 = ISO_Level3_Shift NoSymbol ISO_Level3_Shift
keycode 109 = Linefeed NoSymbol Linefeed
keycode 110 = Home NoSymbol Home
keycode 111 = Up NoSymbol Up
keycode 112 = Prior NoSymbol Prior
keycode 113 = Left NoSymbol Left
keycode 114 = Right NoSymbol Right
keycode 115 = End NoSymbol End
keycode 116 = Down NoSymbol Down
keycode 117 = Next NoSymbol Next
keycode 118 = Insert NoSymbol Insert
keycode 119 = Delete NoSymbol Delete
keycode 120 =
keycode 121 = XF86AudioMute NoSymbol XF86AudioMute
keycode 122 = XF86AudioLowerVolume NoSymbol XF86AudioLowerVolume
keycode 123 = XF86AudioRaiseVolume NoSymbol XF86AudioRaiseVolume
keycode 124 = XF86PowerOff NoSymbol XF86PowerOff
keycode 125 = KP_Equal NoSymbol KP_Equal
keycode 126 = plusminus NoSymbol plusminus
keycode 127 = Pause Break Pause Break
keycode 128 = XF86LaunchA NoSymbol XF86LaunchA
keycode 129 = KP_Decimal KP_Decimal KP_Decimal KP_Decimal
keycode 130 = Hangul NoSymbol Hangul
keycode 131 = Hangul_Hanja NoSymbol Hangul_Hanja
keycode 132 =
keycode 133 = Super_L NoSymbol Super_L
keycode 134 = Super_R NoSymbol Super_R
keycode 135 = Menu NoSymbol Menu
keycode 136 = Cancel NoSymbol Cancel
keycode 137 = Redo NoSymbol Redo
keycode 138 = SunProps NoSymbol SunProps
keycode 139 = Undo NoSymbol Undo
keycode 140 = SunFront NoSymbol SunFront
keycode 141 = XF86Copy NoSymbol XF86Copy
keycode 142 = SunOpen NoSymbol SunOpen
keycode 143 = XF86Paste NoSymbol XF86Paste
keycode 144 = Find NoSymbol Find
keycode 145 = XF86Cut NoSymbol XF86Cut
keycode 146 = Help NoSymbol Help
keycode 147 = XF86MenuKB NoSymbol XF86MenuKB
keycode 148 = XF86Calculator NoSymbol XF86Calculator
keycode 149 =
keycode 150 = XF86Sleep NoSymbol XF86Sleep
keycode 151 = XF86WakeUp NoSymbol XF86WakeUp
keycode 152 = XF86Explorer NoSymbol XF86Explorer
keycode 153 = XF86Send NoSymbol XF86Send
keycode 154 =
keycode 155 = XF86Xfer NoSymbol XF86Xfer
keycode 156 = XF86Launch1 NoSymbol XF86Launch1
keycode 157 = XF86Launch2 NoSymbol XF86Launch2
keycode 158 = XF86WWW NoSymbol XF86WWW
keycode 159 = XF86DOS NoSymbol XF86DOS
keycode 160 = XF86ScreenSaver NoSymbol XF86ScreenSaver
keycode 161 =
keycode 162 = XF86RotateWindows NoSymbol XF86RotateWindows
keycode 163 = XF86Mail NoSymbol XF86Mail
keycode 164 = XF86Favorites NoSymbol XF86Favorites
keycode 165 = XF86MyComputer NoSymbol XF86MyComputer
keycode 166 = XF86Back NoSymbol XF86Back
keycode 167 = XF86Forward NoSymbol XF86Forward
keycode 168 =
keycode 169 = XF86Eject NoSymbol XF86Eject
keycode 170 = XF86Eject XF86Eject XF86Eject XF86Eject
keycode 171 = XF86AudioNext NoSymbol XF86AudioNext
keycode 172 = XF86AudioPlay XF86AudioPause XF86AudioPlay XF86AudioPause
keycode 173 = XF86AudioPrev NoSymbol XF86AudioPrev
keycode 174 = XF86AudioStop XF86Eject XF86AudioStop XF86Eject
keycode 175 = XF86AudioRecord NoSymbol XF86AudioRecord
keycode 176 = XF86AudioRewind NoSymbol XF86AudioRewind
keycode 177 = XF86Phone NoSymbol XF86Phone
keycode 178 =
keycode 179 = XF86Tools NoSymbol XF86Tools
keycode 180 = XF86HomePage NoSymbol XF86HomePage
keycode 181 = XF86Reload NoSymbol XF86Reload
keycode 182 = XF86Close NoSymbol XF86Close
keycode 183 =
keycode 184 =
keycode 185 = XF86ScrollUp NoSymbol XF86ScrollUp
keycode 186 = XF86ScrollDown NoSymbol XF86ScrollDown
keycode 187 = parenleft NoSymbol parenleft
keycode 188 = parenright NoSymbol parenright
keycode 189 = XF86New NoSymbol XF86New
keycode 190 = Redo NoSymbol Redo
keycode 191 = XF86Tools NoSymbol XF86Tools
keycode 192 = XF86Launch5 NoSymbol XF86Launch5
keycode 193 = XF86Launch6 NoSymbol XF86Launch6
keycode 194 = XF86Launch7 NoSymbol XF86Launch7
keycode 195 = XF86Launch8 NoSymbol XF86Launch8
keycode 196 = XF86Launch9 NoSymbol XF86Launch9
keycode 197 =
keycode 198 =
keycode 199 = XF86TouchpadToggle NoSymbol XF86TouchpadToggle
keycode 200 = XF86TouchpadOn NoSymbol XF86TouchpadOn
keycode 201 = XF86TouchpadOff NoSymbol XF86TouchpadOff
keycode 202 =
keycode 203 = Mode_switch NoSymbol Mode_switch
keycode 204 = NoSymbol Alt_L NoSymbol Alt_L
keycode 205 = NoSymbol Meta_L NoSymbol Meta_L
keycode 206 = NoSymbol Super_L NoSymbol Super_L
keycode 207 = NoSymbol Hyper_L NoSymbol Hyper_L
keycode 208 = XF86AudioPlay NoSymbol XF86AudioPlay
keycode 209 = XF86AudioPause NoSymbol XF86AudioPause
keycode 210 = XF86Launch3 NoSymbol XF86Launch3
keycode 211 = XF86Launch4 NoSymbol XF86Launch4
keycode 212 = XF86LaunchB NoSymbol XF86LaunchB
keycode 213 = XF86Suspend NoSymbol XF86Suspend
keycode 214 = XF86Close NoSymbol XF86Close
keycode 215 = XF86AudioPlay NoSymbol XF86AudioPlay
keycode 216 = XF86AudioForward NoSymbol XF86AudioForward
keycode 217 =
keycode 218 = Print NoSymbol Print
keycode 219 =
keycode 220 = XF86WebCam NoSymbol XF86WebCam
keycode 221 =
keycode 222 =
keycode 223 = XF86Mail NoSymbol XF86Mail
keycode 224 = XF86Messenger NoSymbol XF86Messenger
keycode 225 = XF86Search NoSymbol XF86Search
keycode 226 = XF86Go NoSymbol XF86Go
keycode 227 = XF86Finance NoSymbol XF86Finance
keycode 228 = XF86Game NoSymbol XF86Game
keycode 229 = XF86Shop NoSymbol XF86Shop
keycode 230 =
keycode 231 = Cancel NoSymbol Cancel
keycode 232 = XF86MonBrightnessDown NoSymbol XF86MonBrightnessDown
keycode 233 = XF86MonBrightnessUp NoSymbol XF86MonBrightnessUp
keycode 234 = XF86AudioMedia NoSymbol XF86AudioMedia
keycode 235 = XF86Display NoSymbol XF86Display
keycode 236 = XF86KbdLightOnOff NoSymbol XF86KbdLightOnOff
keycode 237 = XF86KbdBrightnessDown NoSymbol XF86KbdBrightnessDown
keycode 238 = XF86KbdBrightnessUp NoSymbol XF86KbdBrightnessUp
keycode 239 = XF86Send NoSymbol XF86Send
keycode 240 = XF86Reply NoSymbol XF86Reply
keycode 241 = XF86MailForward NoSymbol XF86MailForward
keycode 242 = XF86Save NoSymbol XF86Save
keycode 243 = XF86Documents NoSymbol XF86Documents
keycode 244 = XF86Battery NoSymbol XF86Battery
keycode 245 = XF86Bluetooth NoSymbol XF86Bluetooth
keycode 246 = XF86WLAN NoSymbol XF86WLAN
keycode 247 =
keycode 248 =
keycode 249 =
keycode 250 =
keycode 251 =
keycode 252 =

keycode 253 =
keycode 254 =
keycode 255 =
!add mod3 = Scroll_Lock

About janpenguin

Email: k2.mountain [at] gmail [dot] com Every content on the blog is made by Free and Open Source Software in GNU/Linux.
This entry was posted in GNU/Linux and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to How to assign Caps lock on Backspace key on Colemak?

  1. Thank you!

    I’m actually using your instructions to assign caps lock back to it’s original form as THE FREAKING CAPS LOCK KEY. I love the colemak layout but hate that they insist on removing caps lock. As someone who uses SQL and other programming languages regularly, life without caps lock becomes irritating quickly.

    • kostarchild says:

      @Charles Bland

      I’m glad you like the Colemak with CapsLock. I got stuck how to turn on CapsLock on Colemak months ago. I couldn’t find a solution how to activate CapsLock permanently in Xorg. I tried sticky key feature which I hardly used due to weird bug whenever I switch from English to Korean vice verse.

  2. DreymaR says:

    To fix the Caps Lock takeover in Colemak, find its definition in the symbols/us file and edit away the caps lock line (it starts with ). The correct XKB way is to set one of the symbols/capslock options which can be done by the GUI settings under Ubuntu at least. The layout itself really shouldn’t mess with the modifier keys unless absolutely necessary under Linux/XKB where modularity is strongly preferred. Fight the bloat. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. Pingback: Ubuntu HowTo: How do I remap the caps lock key to the backspace key? - TECHPRPR

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s