How do I make a keyboard shortcut for the return key? For example, if I pressed ~ it would press return for me. I'd like to do this without applescript. Is this possible, or will I have to buy a functioning external keyboard because my return key doesn't work!

  • 1
    While there is an accepted answer below and this question was a pretty good academic exercise, I have to put on my "operations hat" on for a sec and say that in the name of productivity, you should get a new keyboard. This is like trying to go from Miami to New York by way of Alaska.
    – Allan
    May 3, 2016 at 15:53

2 Answers 2


Download, install and start Karabiner. In the menubar open (Karabiner icon)-> Preferences. Enter "Return" in the search field and choose one of the preconfigured key codes:


By editing the private.xml in Misc & Uninstall you may add any additional key or (not already used) key combination and choose this one instead.

  • Karabiner can't download without an admin username and password. Is there any way to just get the app, and not the DMG?
    – ALX
    Mar 12, 2016 at 18:46
  • @ALX You can't download it or you can't install it?
    – klanomath
    Mar 12, 2016 at 18:48
  • No, I'd need the ZIP, not the DMG to open it... forgot my admin password and don't want to go through the steps to retrieve or reset it.
    – ALX
    Mar 12, 2016 at 19:11
  • @ALX The admin password is obligatory because AFAIR you have to install a launch daemon and a launch agent.
    – klanomath
    Mar 12, 2016 at 19:21
  • Darn... Well, I guess I'll have to go back and retrieve my password
    – ALX
    Mar 12, 2016 at 19:22

You can do this without being admin on your Mac, and with a simple creation of a key binding file.

Create a file (on a standard install, the directory KeyBindings doesn't exist):

mkdir ~/Library/KeyBindings

containing the following remapping:

$ cat >~/Library/KeyBindings/DefaultKeyBinding.dict <<end_of_file
/* my keybindings */
        "\U007e" = ("insertNewline:") ;

\U007e means Unicode of the standard ~ character (== 0x7e). You can't use "~" in this dictionary because it means option.

(I suggest to avoid the use of the character ~ because it is used in command environnment to mean ${HOME}. For example if you want to use option+/, put "~/" in place of "\U007e".)

And restart your session.

To suppress this key binding, just remove this file:

rm ~/Library/KeyBindings/DefaultKeyBinding.dict

and if you dont need it, remove also the useless directory:

rmdir ~/Library/KeyBindings

and restart your session.

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