TL,DR: How do I swap "<" and "²" on an AZERTY keyboard ?

I'm running macOS Ventura 13.0.1. I have an MS Natural Keyboard 4000 with an AZERTY layout. The physical key at the right of the left-most Shift has a "<" and a ">" sign printed on it. The physical key at the top of the left Tab key has a "²" printed on it. For some reason, pressing the key with a "<" displays a "²", and vice-versa. I would like to swap the keys.

Apparently, there is no built-in way to do that in macOS Ventura 13.0.1, so I installed Karabiner-Elements which advertises as an application to do just that.

I was hoping that following the Configure Simple Notification documentation would help; unfortunately, I cannot find any keys in the Add item list that matches the "<" key. (I was hoping for any "lower_than", "less_than", "left_xxxx" key but cannot find them in the list.)

I then switched to Configure Complex Modifications, which opens a browser to lookup a rule; however, none of the rules seem to match (and it does not seem like searching for "<" is supposed to help.)

Next steps ?
Am I just missing the name of the "<" key in plain sight? Do I need to configure Karabiner to expose keys for AZERTY keyboards? Is it a specific issue with this keyboard? Should I manually edit the ~/.config/karabiner/karabiner.json, and in which case, which section should I change, to which value?

  • Character Viewer calls it LESS-THAN SIGN Unicode U+003C. I can't help with Karabiner, but this might be an easy job for Ukelele
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Nov 18, 2022 at 10:12
  • Do you have instructions on how to do it with Ukelele ? So far i have not be able to do it (I can create a custom layout that should in theory swap the keys, and install it, but the keys are still not swapped.)
    – phtrivier
    Commented Nov 18, 2022 at 12:15
  • 1
    What does Karabinier-EventViewer show when the keys are pressed?
    – mmmmmm
    Commented Nov 18, 2022 at 12:39
  • non_us_backslash, which is not the key I want to rebind. (I have another key on my keyboard with a backslash on it, and I'm not using a US keyboard.) But for some reason, it works.
    – phtrivier
    Commented Nov 18, 2022 at 14:34
  • @phtrivier If Karabinier thinks it is non_us_backslash then it IS the key you want to rebind. I suspect the MS keyboard does not exactly match what macOS thinks is an AZERTY keyboard.
    – mmmmmm
    Commented Nov 18, 2022 at 18:08

2 Answers 2


I had a similar issue : I use an external azerty keyboard with French-PC layout + karabiner to switch left option and command keys but when I was using built-in macbook keyboard with French layout, "<" key printed "²".

This issue put me on track :

  • when karabiner was running, keyboard viewer was displaying ANSI layout
  • when karabiner wasn't running, ISO layout was displayed.

Setting Virtual keyboard to ISO in karabiner fixed my issue.

  • I had a similar issue with the top-left ` being mapped to the § key (right next to the left-shift key). I solved it by switching my Karabiner's Virtual keyboard from ISO to ANSI. Thank you for this tip.
    – dbatno
    Commented Sep 8, 2023 at 12:10

The name of the key that has a "<" sign on it, is, obviously, "non_us_backslash".

R.I.P Fred Brooks.

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