I am using a Mac after five years of Linux. I had remapped "Caps Lock" to "Ctrl" and swapped the "`" with Escape.

I was able to figure out how to convert Caps Lock to a Control, but can't figure out how to do the second. Please suggest a good tool so I don't have to undo many years of muscle memory.

(I use OSX Lion)

  • With Apple recently removing the Esc key from their keyboards, this is again quite topical. I found additional useful hints in apple.stackexchange.com/questions/283252/… which doesn't require a third-party application. For what it's worth, the key on the upper left has the glyph § on it on many Nordic keyboard layouts, rather than ` ` `. – tripleee Jan 23 '19 at 8:54
  • See also apple.stackexchange.com/questions/154188/… which informs us that KeyRemap4MacBook was renamed Karabiner and then was reborn as Karabiner Elements. – tripleee Jan 23 '19 at 11:48


A preference pane with currently about 1500 remapping options. Includes Backquote(`) to Escape and Escape to Backquote(`).


You could create a custom .keylayout like this:

Esc on the layout above worked with all of the things I tested:

  • OS X UI actions like canceling a dialog and exiting full screen
  • On some websites with keyboard navigation like Google Search
  • As a meta key in Terminal.app

Modifying special keys from a .keylayout usually results in some unexpected issues though.


The only way I know of doing this is by using a third party app; BetterTouchTool. Set it up to look like this : enter image description here

Create an applescript with tell application "System Events" to key code 53 and save it. Then add a new shortcut to BTT which runs the script.

  • Hey! This seems like overkill for this, but thanks for letting me know of such a neat tool. I can see a lot of other things I can do with this. – skyronic Oct 28 '11 at 6:53

The inconveniently named KeyRemap4Macbook should do that, without the need for an external applescript.

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