New & Updated: Remapping the Keys on your Mac's Keyboard to Enhance the VoiceOver Experience
In this podcast, Eric Caron provides updated information and instructions on how to remap the keys on your Mac computer to enhance the VoiceOver experience.
Since his original podcast on this topic, the software used by Eric to remap the keys has been updated to offer improved usability and features for VoiceOver users.
Below I've written out the steps needed to have the VoiceOver Keys, Control and Option, mapped to the Caps Lock key. This allows a VoiceOver user to use Caps Lock with keys that might be difficult to reach with the standard Control Option VO keys. In addition this new setting now automatically creates Caps Lock as the modifier in a VM machine. Finally the application creates a number pad on the standard keyboard centered around the letter i.
This is a update to my earlier podcast. Takayama Fumihiko, the developer of these applications has changed KeyRemapper4Macbook, making it much easier to set up the computer to use the Caps Lock as the VO keys.
Below I will write out the steps to complete the set up.
Here are the steps needed to have a number pad added to your keyboard, have Caps Lock work as a VoiceOver Key, and have the Caps Lock work as the Jaws key or similar modifier in other screen readers used in VM Fusion.
Go to the developer web site and download and install both KeyRemap4MacBook and PCKeyboardHack.
Be sure you restart your computer at the end of the install.
Now go to System Preferences and to Keyboard. Change the behavior of the Caps Lock key to no action.
Now also in System Preferences under Other you will find both PCKeyboardhack and Keyremap4Macbook. Go to PCKeyboardhack and in the settings tab in the first table interact on the field that currently reads 51. Press enter after interacting, then change the number to 110. This changes the Caps Lock key to the windows Application key. then close the application
Still in System Preferences and in the Other category go to KeyRemap4Macbook. In the Change Key tab move over to the search field and type in "blind voice over" without the quotes. Then arrow right over to the table. Interact and you should be on the correct setting. Arrow to the check box and select it. Close the application.
The new setting name is "Use Caps Lock as VoiceOver key."
Now if you press the Caps Lock key it will act as if you are pressing the Control and Option keys. You have the original VO keys to use, as this only changes the Caps Lock key. Also If you press the FN key and letter i you will find it is a 5 and the rest of the number pad is there. If you turn on num pad commander you can now use the VoiceOver controls with this number pad.
For VM Fusion users you have another bonus. The Caps Lock key will now act as the Jaws key if you are using a VM Fusion machine with windows.
The Keyremap4macbook application can be used instead of sharp keys or the VM fusion key settings. They should not be used to try to control the same keys at the same time.
The Keyremap4macbook needs to be version 7.8.17.
If you want to be sure you have that one here is the direct link:
In VMware Fusion, the Help key will be interpreted as Insert Key. As this is often the screen reader modifier in Windows screen readers it will now work as the Caps Lock key.
For more information here is a helpful link:
Here are the steps to update KeyRemap4Macbook if you followed the original podcast and used the Private XML. This is only for those who want to add the VM Fusion option or simply want the newer application. The Caps Lock key on the Mac and the Num pad behavior will be the same so you may not want to bother to update.
Those who did a new install as listed above already have the VM Fusion option and the other capabilities.
If for some reason you want the Caps Lock Key to only work as the VO keys and not be available in the VM machine then follow the directions in the original podcast that includes the private xml. You will find this at applevis.com and all needed text and links are in the Guides section.
Steps to update Keyremap4Macbook, for those who used the private xml.
Go into system Preferences and to Keyremap4macbook and uncheck the box for Application key to Control Option. For me it is the first item in the table when I interact. Then close the application.
Download the new version 7.8.17 link above. Be sure to restart the computer after you install. Then do the same as above.
Go to KeyRemap4Macbook and in the search field enter "blind voice over", then interact with the table and you are on the setting that needs to be checked.
Please remember that this software is donation supported. You will find the donation link at the same location you downloaded the applications.