When I downsized to a 65% keyboard I knew I was giving up function keys and a number pad but what caught me off-guard was the loss of my backtick (a.k.a. grave accent (
I write a lot of markdown for programming issues which involves using the backtick for
code and for fenced code blocks. By default on my new keyboard I would have to hit
Esc every time I wanted a backtick.
First Attempt – Remapping
My new 65% keyboard runs QMK firmware, which allows me to map things however I want. My first attempt was to swap the Esc and the backtick behavior.
Escresulted in a backtick (
This revealed to me that I use
Esc far more often than I realized (even though I prefer
Ctrl+[ in Vim).
Phase Two (Tap Dance)
QMK has a feature called Tap Dance, which allows you to change the behavior of a key based on how many times you hit it. In my case, I wanted the following behaviors based on how many times I tapped the
- Three times:
- Four times:
My GitHub PR Implementing this Change
I have my Drop Alt QMK keyboard configuration in my Git repository (salcode/salcode-drop-alt). There you can see the pull request which Adds QMK Tap Dance to ESC/Backtick key.
Phase Three (Caps Lock)
Eventually, I decided the Tap Dance (different behavior based on how many times you tap the key) is not a final solution for me. While I’m keeping the Tap Dance behavior in place, I’ve now also mapped my Caps Lock key to
Esc (when tapped) and to
Ctrl when held down.
I did this using the QMK Mod-Tap functionality. The actual change in my
keymap.c was to replace
I’m not sure I fore-see any further configuration changes around this problem but only time will tell (or perhaps I’ll buy a larger keyboard).
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