Supports all versions of Windows from XP on. All of the materials are provided AS IS. Please read the caveats. I’m not responsible for any damage to your system or inconvenience caused by using these layouts.
Included in the download are:
- Portable Key Layout - Recommended for learning Minimak
- Registry Mappings - for system-level installation
Again, please read the page on caveats if this is the first time you are using an alternative layout.
Mac bindings are included in the zip. Do the following:
osxdirectory in the repository to
/Library/Keyboard Layouts. You will need to enter your password.
- Open System Preferences > Keyboard > Input Sources
- Turn on the layouts you wish to use
For information on Backslock on the Mac, see the Colemak Mac page.
At the moment, mappings are only available for graphics mode logins via xmodmap.
These are brand new mappings and untested since I don’t have a machine with X to test on. The mappings are simple enough that I’m confident most will work with the possible exception of the P and semicolon mappings, since I’m not sure whether the semicolon keysym is spelled out.
To try the keymappings for the length of your login session, run the command:
where filename is the name of the mapping you’ve chosen.
To install one for your login, first copy the file to
add the following to
if [ -f $HOME/.Xmodmap ]; then /usr/bin/xmodmap $HOME/.Xmodmap fi
There are no Backslock mappings since many Linux systems have Backslock as a possible configuraion choice in their keyboard settings.
Portable Key Layout
PKL is the recommended tool while you’re learning Minimak. PKL shows you a keyboard image with the new layout, so you can consult it while you learn. It also supports suspending Minimak by hitting both Alt keys.
The keyboard graphic that is shown by PKL can be moved to one of two predetermined positions by floating your mouse over it. It can also be removed from view by the hotkey combination Windows+F1.
There is no installation program for PKL, so you just unzip it and run it. If you decide you want to keep it, you can use a tool like ZipInstaller to install it in your Program Files directory for you, along with an uninstaller.
You may also want to add a shortcut to the PKL executable to your Start menu’s Startup folder.
You can find more information on the PKL website.
PKL is by FARKAS Máté and is distributed under GPL 3.
The advantage to using the registry mapping approach is that it remaps the keys at boot time, and you only need to do it once. Once it’s been done, you don’t need to run any additional software from then on, unlike PKL.
However, there are two drawbacks to this approach. The first is that it doesn’t work if you want anyone else to be able to use your machine. The mappings apply to all users and take effect at boot time. This is usually unworkable on machines that are shared between users, and prevents you from doing things like handing the keyboard to someone else so they can put in a password, for example. If you are using XP, read about user mappings below for a way to allow other users to logon without losing their regular QWERTY layout.
The second drawback is that you can’t undo the mappings, even temporarily, without rebooting your machine. The only way to temporarily undo the registry mappings would be to use another mapping tool like PKL with an inverse-Minimak mapping, but currently PKL has no such mapping.
That’s why I only recommend using registry mappings after you’ve fully learned Minimak.
There are two modes of mappings, boot mappings and user mappings. User mappings only take effect after you’ve logged in. However, they only work for XP since user mapping functionality was removed with Vista. I recommend using boot mappings anyway since it allows you to type your password the same when you’re logging in as any other time.
Before you download any of the mappings, remember that they are provided AS IS. I am not responsible for any damage or inconvenience incurred by using them. If there is an issue with the download or how it is loaded into your system, it may result in a non-working system or a system you are locked out of. Since these are boot mappings, you cannot get around them by trying to log into another account. What you load is what you get, for all users.
If you do have a problem logging in after installing them, you can still log in on Windows 7 with the on-screen keyboard. Click on the Ease of Access button in the lower left-hand corner of the login screen, then click Type without the keyboard (On Screen Keyboard) and click Ok. I don’t have directions for XP, but if you figure them out, please let us know so I can post them.
If you want to avoid this possibility altogether, you may want to do the mappings yourself with Key Mapper, rather than rely on our registry files. You may also want to use user mappings rather than boot mappings so you can get in via another account if the mappings don’t work correctly. If you go that route, you may want to first try out your mapping on a temporary account created for that purpose. Note that user mappings only work for XP, not Vista, 7 or 8.
That said, the registry files should work on any Windows that’s at least XP or above.
You can download boot mappings that work for any Windows system from github. There are several versions in the zip, consult the README there.
To install one of them, unzip the download and double-click the mapping you want. Windows will ask you if you want to load the file into the registry. Confirm it and then reboot the machine. Remember to type in the new layout when entering your password, and don’t be surprised if you don’t get it right the first time.
Taking a cue from Colemak, I recommend remapping CapsLock to be another Backspace key. It’s one of the best keymappings you can make, and many Linux flavors have their own setting to do it.
I call this mapping BacksLock for short, which is just my own name for it. Despite the name, there’s no “locking” of the key like with CapsLock.
However, since that mapping isn’t part of the standard Minimak, it is not in the PKL layouts. If you’re ready to try BacksLock on Windows, I suggest using the registry mapping that includes it. On Linux, you can instead check your configurations settings to see if there is a mapping defined.
Key Mapper is one of a number of tools that take a more low-level approach to remapping, using Windows’ registry mappings for virtual keys. (In addition to the list provided in the link, there’s also kmapper)
Of these, I like Key Mapper best because of its intuitive GUI.
To use Key Mapper, install it and run it. Be sure you are running it from an account with administrator privileges.
It will show you the basic instructions for using it, but here’s the short version.
First, switch to boot mapping mode, by selecting the Mappings > Show > Boot Mappings menu item. If you are on XP and want to create user mappings instead, just skip this step.
Then, drag the key you want in a new location to that location. When it is dropped in place, the new key will show in a different color. The mapping will not take effect until you close Key Mapper and reboot your machine, however.
If you are remapping a lot of keys, you will eventually end up mapping over a key you also want to map somewhere else. If so, double-click the location you want to place the hidden key, then click Capture and type the key you want to map.
Finally, exit Key Mapper and reboot your computer. Be sure to read all of the caveats about passwords, etc.
Key Mapper can also export key configurations from Mappings > Export As Registry File. The registry files can be loaded by double-clicking on them; you don’t need to run Key Mapper to install them.
Note on Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator
Keyboard Layout Creator is Microsoft’s officially-supported way of adding layouts to most versions of Windows, including XP and 7.
That said, I don’t recommend it. I didn’t see any advantage to MKLC versus the other solutions, and it’s slightly less functional since it can’t map CapsLock to BacksLock (among other keys).
While BacksLock isn’t formally part of Minimak, I recommend using a tool that can remap it whether you choose to use Minimak or not. Unless you’ve already mapped some other key to CapsLock, it’s just a good idea to put Backspace there.