I know how to re-map my modifier keys, so my caps lock can act as a ctrl key, for example.

I'm wondering if there's a way to re-map they dash/underscore key (next to +/=). Instead of it producing a dash or hyphen, I'd like it to produce an em dash. And pressing shift+opt+dash (the current shortcut for an em dash) key would produce a normal dash.

Based on Karl's answer, I tried using BetterTouchTool (as Global shortcuts and also TextEdit specifically), but remapped keypresses just seem to be ignored.

enter image description here


Install and launch Karabiner. In the menubar open the menulet Karabiner -> Preferences. Then hit the tab "Misc & Uninstall" and "Open private.xml"

Paste the following lines into the opened xml file:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
      <name>Swap Minus and Alt+Shift+Minus</name>
        KeyCode::MINUS, ModifierFlag::NONE,
        KeyCode::MINUS, ModifierFlag::SHIFT_L | ModifierFlag::OPTION_L
        KeyCode::MINUS, ModifierFlag::SHIFT_L | ModifierFlag::OPTION_L,

and save the file.

Return to the tab "Change Key", hit "ReloadXML" and enable "Swap Minus and Alt+Shift+Minus". It should be the first entry listed.

If you are left-handed you may replace _L by _R in the xml file.


BetterTouchTool ( http://blog.boastr.net ) can re-map arbitrary keys. Under preferences, select the "keyboard" tab, then "+add New Shortcut", click in the "Keyboard Shortcut" then type the key you want to change. Then select "Trigger Other Keyboard Shortcut" and type in shift-opt-dash.

There might be simpler ways just for keyboard remapping, but BTT can do lots of other things too.

Hope this helps,


  • great idea but unfortunately that didn't work. I posted a screenshot to my question. – djibouti33 Sep 18 '15 at 21:05

Caps lock key is a more special key and a lot of the key remapping program have trouble working with it. I personally use the app Seil (https://pqrs.org/osx/karabiner/seil.html.en), previously called PCKeyboardHack to remap my caps lock to backspace.

Here's a screenshot of the setting page in Seil. Seil setting page

Also, as shown in the description above, you also need to set caps lock to No Action in Mac OS System Preference. enter image description here

You should then be able to remap the caps lock to any key you prefer.

  • thanks, but i'm trying to map my dash to em dash. – djibouti33 Sep 18 '15 at 22:50
  • lol, sorry I totally misread your question. – Vic Jang Sep 20 '15 at 2:56

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