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I want to use Tab to switch to the previously-used input source, and ⇧ ShiftTab as the usual tab function.

As a Chinese language user, the key combination I use the most is ⌘ CommandSpace, which selects the previous input source. Since I only have two keyboards enabled, selecting the previous input source is the same thing as toggling between them. For every non-English user, this switch is frequent.

To make it easier, I want to use Tab to switch input sources. Following this, a Tab sounds like a good idea to perform the normal function of Tab.

However, System Preferences (as I tried it) only allows the user to set the switch as a combination starting with ⇧ Shift or ⌃ Control. Is my request unreasonable? Or can it be done?

  • Have you tried pqrs.org/osx/karabiner/index.html.en – Bowen Jan 3 '17 at 23:36
  • Thank you @timothymh, your edit is succinct. Btw, I think my reference to Vim is relevant, because it gets more cumbersome to toggle input source AND to leave/enter input mode --- But it's enough that I mention this in this comment. – Aminopterin Jan 4 '17 at 6:09
  • @Bowen Yes, I have heard Karabiner. A notice says Sierra is not supported on the very page you cited. – Aminopterin Jan 4 '17 at 10:31
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Oh, I found Karabiner Elements works for Sierra, and I am very satisfied now.

Previously, Karabiner is out of order in Sierra. Indeed, Sierra starts to offer custom remaps among those of ⇪Caps Lock, ^Control, ⌥Option, and ⌘Command, with System Preferences > Keyboard > Keyboard > Modifier keys. Still, I cannot use any of them to switch input source with System Preferences > Keyboard > Keyboard > Shortcuts > Input Sources.

There has been several months, and today I visited Karabiner's homepage again. They say they produced a Karabiner Elements for Sierra, but I cannot compile myself, though had not closely studied the error message. Besides, fortunately there is a latest compiled image. The link is not anywhere obvious on their homepage, but I found it in another forum discussion, so I hope more people seeing this (my post) can find this image.

Karabiner Elements works fine, as far as I see, for simple assignment of keys — i.e. to force the physical key X's signal to be interpreted as key Y's function. This is my setting. Physical ⇪Caps Lock now performs the function of Esc, and Esc that of `, and ` that of ↹Tab , and ↹ Tab that of F4 (or something else), and F4 that of ⇪Caps Lock. Then I set F4 to switch to the previously-used input source. I am proud of my setting. Vim users for non-Latin family language will save considerable effort with this!

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