Is there a way to switch the shift key with the capslock key?

I have a problem with the shift keys, and I would like to use the caps lock keys, instead of the left shift key. Mac OS X settings allow to modify the keys used for some modifiers, but it doesnt't allow to change the key used for the shift key, nor to select the shift keys as alternative key for another modifier.

  • I'm slowly starting to hate MacOS. The hardware is great, but the OS sucks. The Caps-Lock key is utterly useless and since it's right next to Shift, a key I use a lot, I often end up pressing the wrong one. For some reason keyboard manufacturers STILL have not figured out that Caps-Lock is useless and should not be BIGGER than shift.... So i thought I would re-map the key but of course MacOS allows me to remap it to things like Control or Globe (??) but not Shift. That would be too easy I guess.... Sigh. Windows, for all its faults, does allow me to do this. Sep 26, 2022 at 13:05

4 Answers 4


Karabiner-Elements is excellent and I'm using it for a few months after it fixed my issue. Follow the basic instructions listed for installing it on their repo page. As of Aug 2023, it supports macOS 11 Big Sur and above.

Karabiner-Elements view of the Simple Modifications section

Remapping is as simple as heading over to "Simple Modifications"->"For all devices"->"Add item". Both Caps Lock and left Shift as listed under "Modifier keys" in the dropdown menu. In my screenshot, I swapped them.

I had the need to remap my Caps Lock to left Shift after it stopped working. Unfortunately, left Shift isn't listed as per the conventional way, the other keys are. See it at System Preferences->Keyboard, then select the "Modifier Keys" button.

conventional way in settings show other keys of remapping, not shift


You might try "DoubleCommand". I needed to use it for something similar; I'm not sure if it supports remapping the shift and capslock keys.

  • DoubleCommand allows a lot of re-mappings, but strangely it doesn't allow to swap shift keys and caps lock.
    – apaderno
    Jun 20, 2010 at 23:15

I found KeyRemap4MacBook that allows, for example, to swap the fn key with the left shift.

KeyRemap4MacBook is a powerful utility for keyboard customization.

  • Change the key. (For example, "Change Right Option to Enter")
  • Accelerate speed of the key repeat.
  • The revival of a lost NumPad key (Fn+jkluio789…)
  • Features for more efficient operations. (Emacs Mode, Vi Mode, Mouse Keys Mode, …)

I've never used it but perhaps Ukelele could work for this. Excerpt:

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 Palette, available in the Input menu if it has been enabled in System Preferences, 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.

  • I already tried it, but it doesn't seem to work for the modifier keys. I tried the function "Swap Keys", but it doesn't work, even when I try with keys like A, and C.
    – apaderno
    Jun 20, 2010 at 17:49

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