Remapping the Caps Lock Key

Read any article on optimizing your workflow with Emacs and odds are the first recommendation is to remap 【caps lock】 to 【Ctrl】. For as long as I can remember, the first thing I've done when setting up a new machine is to remap the caps lock key. I did this long before I started using Emacs—not because I was worried about RSI issues but because I was tired of hitting 【caps lock】 instead of 【Tab】 and getting a bunch of unwanted capital letters in my text. For me, the remapping was simply a way of turning off the caps lock function. (Why are they still putting that key on the keyboard, anyway?)

Recently I decided to try actually using 【caps lock】 as 【Ctrl】. It hasn't been easy. After years of bending my pinkie down to the standard 【Ctrl】 key, it felt unnatural to use 【caps lock】 instead. After a few weeks, I'm finally getting used to it and except for occasionally mixing up 【Shift】 and 【caps lock】, I've pretty much retrained my muscle memory.

Actually, I've discovered that having two control keys is handy. For most key sequences modified with 【Ctrl】, I used the 【caps lock】 key but when the sequence is modified by both 【Ctrl】 and 【Meta】 (such as 【Ctrl+Meta+f】 to move forward by a sexr) it's convenient to use the standard 【Ctrl】 key.

If you've remapped 【caps lock】, what was your experience? Did you have a hard time getting used to it or did it seem natural to you right away? My difficulties may be the result of using the standard 【Ctrl】 key for so long. In any event, I'd be interested in hearing about other people's experiences.

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