Quick shoutout to Karabiner Elements

I donated to Karabiner Elements today.

Karabiner Elements is a keyboard customizer for macOS. I don’t use it much as I am mostly using the Apple Magic Keyboard but some months ago I purchased the Microsoft Sculpt Keyboard & Mouse and Karabiner Elements is useful when it comes to mapping the keys on that the way I want them. For example map the media keys so they work as expected; map the \ key (next to the z) and the ̀ key (next to 1) so they type what’s printed on the keycap than \ typing ̀ and ̀ typing \.¬† Maybe the latter is coz I selected the wrong keyboard type in macOS, but I don’t think so… I went over the various keyboard layouts and none of them fixed this mapping.

Some months ago when I switched to using Big Sur beta Karabiner Elements broke as Apple had changed the underlying architecture that Karabiner was using (no more kernel extensions). Not a big deal, I simply stopped using the Sculpt Keyboard and wen’t back to the Magic Keyboard. I was subscribed to their GitHub issue thread however where they were discussing development of the new version of Karabiner which works with Big Sur, and some weeks ago I saw that they had the new version out and it worked successfully. I didn’t switch over to it then but last week I felt like using the Sculpt Keyboard again and switched to that and also installed Karabiner Elements 13.1.0 (the latest version, which works on Big Sur).

I felt it was important to support a project like this. It is free, and I imagine a great deal of work and testing has had to go into making it work with Big Sur. It’s not something I used much or gave a thought about, but when it broke it did limit some of my use cases; so I figure I should do my bit to support the project and make a donation.

Here’s a screenshot of the modifications I have. Like I said, nothing too fancy.

In addition to this I also have some complex modifications for RDP. I imported these from the official rules site; the link for the ones I imported is this one. These apply within an RDP session, and I don’t remember why I imported them in the first place. Am sure I noticed something as broken in RDP when using the Magic Keyboard

One thing I noticed yesterday is that when in an RDP session the ̀ and \ mappings don’t work. I think the Microsoft RDP client was trying to do some manipulations of its own, or maybe Karabiner was ignoring it for some reason. No problemo, I figured it was time to make a complex modification of my own. I poked around with the rules on the official website and the ones that were already imported into Karabiner (you can find these at ~/.config/karabiner/karabiner.json). To this file, in the rules: [] section I added the following:

There’s three rules here. Two of them are same as the simple modifications- they swap the keys. The third one is because I noticed the | key wasn’t working as expected (this is shift+\) so I added a fix for that. I have set these rules to only trigger when in RDP and when it is from the Sculpt Keyboard. I didn’t test if they don’t trigger if I use a different keyboard, so I am not a 100% if that works or not. They do work currently with the Sculpt, and am ok with that. :)

Anyhoo, that’s all! Thought I’d give a shoutout to the creators of Karabiner Elements for their good work and also show the rules I have in place for the Sculpt Keyboard.