I type a lot Unix commands and I need often "~" and "`" which in U.S. keyboards are on the key under the escape key.

I'm now using an Apple spanish keyboard set to U.S. layout, and this key is mapped to the characters "§" and "±" instead. I can't find "~" and "`" anywhere, and I need them exactly at their usual place anyway.

Is there an easy way to remap the key that doesn't affect other users? (they use the Spanish layout). I'd rather not use apps like Karabiner that ask to "control my computer" as I don't know what else it does, if possible. Thanks.

  • Spanish keyboards have one key more than us keyboards, and the ~` key gets moved to the one just left of Z (marked <>) when you use a us layout. Commented Jul 24, 2016 at 9:58
  • Thanks, it worked. I'd like to remap this key and swap its function with the other one though. Karabiner doesn't have this in the list of mapping. Any idea how to do it?
    – notuno
    Commented Jul 24, 2016 at 20:02
  • See the answer I posted below a few hours ago with the link Commented Jul 24, 2016 at 20:12

2 Answers 2


I solve a similar problem using the free public domain utility Karabiner. This allows for extremely extensive remapping of single or multiple key presses (including control keys) to any specifiable Unicode character, plus other operations. It is frequently updated, and photos has an older version for much older versions of OSX. You'll need to play a little bit with some examples to get what you want, but there's also pretty helpful documentation.


It would probably be only a couple minutes work to create a custom layout that does what you need with the graphic interface of Ukelele.


I made a quick one you can get at


(but I can't test it because I don't have the right keyboard).

To install, put the .keylayout file in Library/Keyboard Layouts, logout/login, then go to system prefs/keyboard/input sources and use the plus and add buttons to add it (look in both English and Other categories), then select it from the input ("flag") menu in the menu bar.

  • Thanks, I'll try this. Sorry I didn't notice your second post.
    – notuno
    Commented Jul 24, 2016 at 22:17

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