Keyboard Mapping Tool For Mac

Here's a guide of keyboard shortcut and automations tools for the Mac. I created a Dvorak Keyboard Layout using ResEdit on Mac back in 1992, and been using QuicKeys back then, it was the best automation tool. Also many app launchers and keyboard tools over the decades that came and went. Ukelele is a Unicode Keyboard Layout Editor for the macOS. The macOS supports an XML-based format for keyboard layouts (.keylayout files). However, modifying keyboard layouts—let alone creating entirely new keyboard layouts, such as for a new script—by directly editing the XML text is tedious and error-prone.

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Table of Contents


Limitation: AutoHotkey's remapping feature described below is generally not as pure and effective as remapping directly via the Windows registry. For the advantages and disadvantages of each approach, see registry remapping.

Remapping the Keyboard and Mouse

The syntax for the built-in remapping feature is OriginKey::DestinationKey. For example, a script consisting only of the following line would make the A key behave like the B key:

The above example does not alter the B key itself. The B key would continue to send the 'b' keystroke unless you remap it to something else as shown in the following example:

The examples above use lowercase, which is recommended for most purposes because it also remaps the corresponding uppercase letters (that is, it will send uppercase when CapsLock is 'on' or the Shift key is held down). By contrast, specifying an uppercase letter on the right side forces uppercase. For example, the following line would produce an uppercase B when you type either 'a' or 'A' (as long as CapsLock is off):

However, a remapping opposite to the one above would not work as one might expect, as a remapping never 'releases' the modifier keys which are used to trigger it. For example, A::b is typically equivalent to A::B and ^a::b is equivalent to ^a::^b. This is because each remapping internally uses {Blind} to allow the key or key combination to be combined with other modifiers.

Mouse Remapping

To remap the mouse instead of the keyboard, use the same approach. For example:

MButton::ShiftMakes the middle button behave like the Shift key.
XButton1::LButtonMakes the fourth mouse button behave like the left mouse button.
RAlt::RButtonMakes the right Alt key behave like the right mouse button.

Other Useful Remappings

CapsLock::CtrlMakes CapsLock become a Ctrl key. To retain the ability to turn CapsLock on and off, add the remapping +CapsLock::CapsLock first. This toggles CapsLock on and off when you hold down the Shift key and press CapsLock. Because both remappings allow additional modifier keys to be held down, the more specific +CapsLock::CapsLock remapping must be placed first for it to work.
XButton2::^LButtonMakes the fifth mouse button (XButton2) produce a control-click.
RAlt::AppsKeyMakes the right Alt key become the Menu key (which is the key that opens the context menu).
RCtrl::RWinMakes the right Ctrl key become the right Win key.
Ctrl::AltMakes both Ctrl keys behave like an Alt key. However, see alt-tab issues.
^x::^cMakes Ctrl+X produce Ctrl+C. It also makes Ctrl+Alt+X produce Ctrl+Alt+C, etc.
RWin::ReturnDisables the right Win key by having it simply return.

You can try out any of these examples by copying them into a new text file such as 'Remap.ahk', then launching the file.

See the Key List for a complete list of key and mouse button names.


The directives #IfWinActive/Exist can be used to make selected remappings active only in the windows you specify. For example:

Remapping a key or button is 'complete' in the following respects:

  • Holding down a modifier such as Ctrl or Shift while typing the origin key will put that modifier into effect for the destination key. For example, b::a would produce Ctrl+A if you press Ctrl+B.
  • CapsLock generally affects remapped keys in the same way as normal keys.
  • The destination key or button is held down for as long as you continue to hold down the origin key. However, some games do not support remapping; in such cases, the keyboard and mouse will behave as though not remapped.
  • Remapped keys will auto-repeat while being held down (except keys remapped to become mouse buttons).

Although a remapped key can trigger normal hotkeys, by default it cannot trigger mouse hotkeys or hook hotkeys (use ListHotkeys to discover which hotkeys are 'hook'). For example, if the remapping a::b is in effect, pressing Ctrl+Alt+A would trigger the ^!b hotkey only if ^!b is not a hook hotkey. If ^!b is a hook hotkey, you can define ^!a as a hotkey if you want Ctrl+Alt+A to perform the same action as Ctrl+Alt+B. For example:

Alternatively, in [v1.1.06] and later, #InputLevel can be used to override the default behaviour. For example:

If SendMode is used in the auto-execute section (top part of the script), it affects all remappings. However, since remapping uses Send {Blind} and since the SendPlay mode does not fully support {Blind}, some remappings might not function properly in SendPlay mode (especially Ctrl, Shift, Alt, and Win). To work around this, avoid SendPlay in auto-execute section when you have remappings; then use the command SendPlay vs. Send in other places throughout the script. Alternatively, you could translate your remappings into hotkeys (as described below) that explicitly call SendEvent vs. Send.

When a script is launched, each remapping is translated into a pair of hotkeys. For example, a script containing a::b actually contains the following two hotkeys instead:

However, the above hotkeys vary under the following circumstances:

  1. When the source key is the left Ctrl key and the destination key is an Alt key, the line Send {Blind}{LAlt DownR} is replaced by Send {Blind}{LCtrl up}{LAlt DownR}. The same is true if the source is the right Ctrl key, except that {RCtrl up} is used.
  2. When a keyboard key is being remapped to become a mouse button (e.g. RCtrl::RButton), the hotkeys above use SetMouseDelay in place of SetKeyDelay. In addition, the first hotkey above is replaced by the following, which prevents the keyboard's auto-repeat feature from generating repeated mouse clicks:
  3. When the source is a custom combination in [v1.1.27.01+], the wildcard modifier (*) is omitted to allow the hotkeys to work.

Prior to [v1.1.27], DownTemp was used instead of DownR.

Keyboard mapping tool for mac osMapping

Note that SetKeyDelay's second parameter (press duration) is omitted in the hotkeys above. This is because press-duration does not apply to down-only or up-only events such as {b down} and {b up}. However, it does apply to changes in the state of the Shift/Ctrl/Alt/Win keys, which affects remappings such as a::B or a::^b. Consequently, any press-duration a script puts into effect via its auto-execute section will apply to all such remappings.

Since remappings are translated into hotkeys as described above, the Suspend command affects them. Similarly, the Hotkey command can disable or modify a remapping. For example, the following two commands would disable the remapping a::b.

Alt-tab issues: If you remap a key or mouse button to become an Alt key, that key will probably not be able to alt-tab properly. A possible work-around is to add the hotkey *Tab::Send {Blind}{Tab} -- but be aware that it will likely interfere with using the real Alt key to alt-tab. Therefore, it should be used only when you alt-tab solely by means of remapped keys and/or alt-tab hotkeys.

In addition to the keys and mouse buttons on the Key List page, the source key may also be a virtual key (VKnn) or scan code (SCnnn) as described on the special keys page. The same is true for the destination key except that it may optionally specify a scan code after the virtual key. For example, sc01e::vk42sc030 is equivalent to a::b on most keyboard layouts.

To disable a key rather than remapping it, make it a hotkey that simply returns. For example, F1::return would disable the F1 key.

The following keys are not supported by the built-in remapping method:

  • The mouse wheel (WheelUp/Down/Left/Right).
  • Pause and Break as destination key names (since they match the names of commands). [v1.1.32+]:vk13 or the corresponding scan code can be used instead.
  • Curly braces {} as destination keys. Instead use the VK/SC method; e.g. x::+sc01A and y::+sc01B.
  • A percent sign (%) as a destination key. Instead use the VK/SC method.
  • 'Return' as a destination key. Instead use 'Enter'.

Moving the Mouse Cursor via the Keyboard

The keyboard can be used to move the mouse cursor as demonstrated by the fully-featured Keyboard-To-Mouse script. Since that script offers smooth cursor movement, acceleration, and other features, it is the recommended approach if you plan to do a lot of mousing with the keyboard. By contrast, the following example is a simpler demonstration:

Remapping via the Registry's 'Scancode Map'


  • Registry remapping is generally more pure and effective than AutoHotkey's remapping. For example, it works in a broader variety of games, it has no known alt-tab issues, and it is capable of firing AutoHotkey's hook hotkeys (whereas AutoHotkey's remapping requires a workaround).
  • If you choose to make the registry entries manually (explained below), absolutely no external software is needed to remap your keyboard. Even if you use KeyTweak to make the registry entries for you, KeyTweak does not need to stay running all the time (unlike AutoHotkey).


  • Registry remapping is relatively permanent: a reboot is required to undo the changes or put new ones into effect.
  • Its effect is global: it cannot create remappings specific to a particular user, application, or locale.
  • It cannot send keystrokes that are modified by Shift, Ctrl, Alt, or AltGr. For example, it cannot remap a lowercase character to an uppercase one.
  • It supports only the keyboard (AutoHotkey has mouse remapping and some limited joystick remapping).

How to Apply Changes to the Registry: There are at least two methods to remap keys via the registry:

  1. Use a program like KeyTweak (freeware) to visually remap your keys. It will change the registry for you.
  2. Remap keys manually by creating a .reg file (plain text) and loading it into the registry. This is demonstrated at

Related Topics

List of keys and mouse buttons
Remapping a joystick


Ukelele is a Unicode Keyboard Layout Editor for the macOS.

The macOS supports an XML-based format for keyboard layouts (.keylayout files). However, modifying keyboard layouts—let alone creating entirely new keyboard layouts, such as for a new script—by directly editing the XML text is tedious and error-prone.

Ukelele aims to simplify keyboard layout editing by providing a graphical interface to .keylayout files, where the desired characters can simply be dragged onto keys as needed. (The Character Viewer or Character Palette, available in the Input menu if it has been enabled in System Preferences, and shown with Show Emoji & Symbols, is a great place to find the characters.)

In addition to simple assignment of single character codes to keys, Ukelele can assign multiple-character strings and can create “dead keys”, where a keystroke sets a new state that modifies the output of the following keystroke.

A more flexible, cross-plaform keyboard utility for macOS 10.7 (Lion) and later is Keyman. However, Keyman does not use the same .keylayout files as Ukelele and requires additional software to use.

Ukelele is written by John Brownie of SIL and is copyright ©2003-2019. This software is currently provided under a freeware license, but future versions will be released under an open source license.


Download the software using the links below. The .keylayout files may be installed by copying them to the Keyboard Layouts folder within /Library or ~/Library; then they are enabled via the Input Sources (Input in 10.5 and earlier) tab of the Keyboard (Language & Text in 10.9 and earlier, International in 10.5 and earlier) module within System Preferences.

Versions 3.3 and later require macOS 10.9 (Mavericks) or above. Version 3.2.7 requires macOS 10.8 (Mountain Lion) or above. Version 2.2.8 requires macOS 10.4 (Tiger) or above.

Ukelele 3.5.0for Mac
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Ukelele 3.3.0for Mac
Ukelele 3.2.7for Mac
Ukelele 2.2.8for Mac
Ukelele 1.8.4for Mac
Keyboard Juggler 1.0for Mac

A companion application to Ukelele is Keyboard Juggler, available for macOS 10.10 (Yosemite) and later. This is a simple application that allows you to move keyboard layouts in and out of the installation folders without having to use the Finder. It is not needed for Ukelele version 3.3 or later, as its functionality has been incorporated into Ukelele.

Keyboard Mapping Tool For Macbook Pro

Detailed version history is provided on a separate page.

Itool For Mac


Feedback about the Ukelele tool is invited (see the Read Me file for contact information). This software is provided in the hope that it may be useful, but with no warranty, expressed or implied, and with no guarantee of support or future upgrades.

There is also a user forum at Google Groups, the Ukelele Users group, available at

Keyboard Mapping Tool For Mac Os


Keyboard Mapping Tool For Mac Download

If you are unable to obtain support through the Google group, please contact us.