Roswell Studios

139 Fulton Street, Ste 132
New York, NY 10038

Karabiner script for Dvorak left hand

— August 6, 2018

My primary keyboard’s cord is unable to move without dropping the connection, so I switched to an even older Apple Pro Keyboard. The keys are the same, but there’s a plastic stand dealy on the back that, given that it sits on my lap, is likely to break and leaves sizable divots in my legs. I have a similar vintage dell keyboard for the PC, but also the wireless keyboard that came with the iMac. I don’t really want a wireless keyboard sitting on my lap, so if I get used to it, I might buy the similar wired version.

Back to the point: it has tiny laptop arrow keys and no forward delete key. While it can type a forward delete with the fn-delete, those are on opposite sides of they keyboard. Similarly, ctl-arrow to switch spaces: if my right hand is on the mouse, I can’t use the keyboard to switch spaces because there is no right control key. My spider-paw is big enough to just barely reach the control and left arrow.

One might have been able to fix this by editing a custom keymap. However, the fn key is not an actual modifier key, like shift. I already use ctl-a and -e all the time, so not that. Caps-lock might have worked for some things.

I’m not really sure about this keyboard. It is great that I could move the keycaps around, but it trades divots for sharp metal edges, and the keys are slightly clacky. (I hate mechanical keyboards, though I also put up with the world’s loudest mousewheel, so who am I to complain.) Still, I did fix the key problems with a Karabiner script. It can see the fn key, and turns the ,aoe keys (WASD, for normies) into arrow keys, and while I was in there, turns the ‘ (Q) into a forward delete, and ;qj (ZXV) into cvz (cut being copy and delete). (I’ll accept that the order is extremely idiosyncratic.) It also did the left option into control as a simple modification. It is now much easier to use this keyboard and the Dvorak layout in general with the right hand on the mouse.

You’ll need to edit the “to” codes if you do not have a Dvorak keymap selected, such as if you have a Dvorak keyboard via Karabiner.

Here’s the rules for your ~/.config/karabiner/karabiner.json:

Back to all