Help me move around without arrow keys!
November 4, 2009 4:54 PM   Subscribe

How can I rebind the arrow keys to some other sequence (eg left becomes control-j, right becomes control-k, etc) so that I can quickly navigate around documents that I'm editing without needing to move my hand over to the arrow keys?

I regulary use OS X and Windows versions off Word, as well as google docs. Bonus points if someone knows a portable way to do this so I can use computers at the lab.
posted by phaedrus441 to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
posted by wile e at 5:07 PM on November 4, 2009 [4 favorites]

Seconding AutoHotKey. It's amazing and can get a lot more done for you than you're asking for.

If you need any help with the coding feel free to message me about it and I'll help you out.
posted by theichibun at 5:09 PM on November 4, 2009

I really like HotKeyboard Pro
posted by mazienh at 7:12 PM on November 4, 2009

That's one of the reasons why I love to use my Kinesis Classic keyboard. The arrow keys are right under the fingers.
posted by HappyEngineer at 9:10 PM on November 4, 2009

Best answer: AutoHotkey is it (although it's a Windows-only thing) – it is a scripting program which is simple enough to do almost anything you might want to and well-documented enough to make it easy. For example, in AutoHotkey, the command for remapping left to control-j and right to control-k is


– as easy as that.

Of course, control-j and control-k are pretty crappy keys to choose, since those are almost always hotkeys for something else. I would go with the AppKey (the little windows key in the bottom corner next to Control and Alt) instead. A finished AutoHotkey script to do this might look like:


and that would do exactly what you want it to.

In fact, here is that script saved as an AutoHotkey script file, so if you download and install AutoHotkey you can run it and tweak it to your liking; and if you're in a hurry, here is the same script compiled as an .exe, so you don't have to download and install AutoHotkey if you'd rather not. That way, you should be able to do this on other computers (so long as you can come here and download that .exe again.)

Just remember to press AppKey - q to quit the program when you're done.
posted by koeselitz at 2:01 AM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

With OS X, you could probably edit the Cocoa custom key bindings file. I've never done this myself—and those instructions may be out-of-date—but it should work for any app using the Cocoa text system. So probably not Word, but maybe Google Docs if you used Safari. And depending on your word processing needs, maybe you could save your docs as RTF and edit in TextEdit? This is portable if your lab machines give you a persistent home directory: just copy over the key bindings file.

If you need something more powerful, I know the standard Mac hotkey manager used to be QuicKeys, and it looks like there's a modern 10.6-compatible version now. So maybe try the demo of that?
posted by serathen at 3:25 AM on November 5, 2009

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