These are the steps that you need to take to get Colemak keyboard layout fully working on your iMac or MacBook, including remapping Caps Lock to Backspace.
Installing the layout
You will need to restart before they will be picked up by the system preferences.
Activating the layout
Having restarted, go to System Preferences -> Language & Text -> Input Sources and you should find Colemak as an available layout. You may want to tick “Show Input menu in menu bar” if you want an easy way to switch layouts. You can also play with the keyboard shortcuts for switching.
A tip for beginners: if you enable the “Keyboard & Character Viewer” at the top of the list then you can get a useful on-screen picture of the layout.
Mapping Caps Lock to Backspace
I found this is easily done with PCKeyboardHack. Download it, unzip it and install it. You will have to restart again, unfortunately. This is Serious Business we are doing here!
Having restarted, go to System Preferences -> PCKeyboardHack and tick the first option: Change Caps Lock to keycode 51 (Delete)
It feels slightly slow to respond and you can’t press and hold to delete many characters at once. I didn’t think i’d keep it, but just as i’ve been writing this blog post i’ve found i’ve got used to it extremely quickly (actually that says more about the number of errors i’m making at the moment!)
In any case my TypeMatrix has the backspace in the middle, which i think is an excellent place for it, and i don’t wish to annoy the people i pair with who like to have Caps Lock as an extra Ctrl key.
But there you go – that’s how you do it if you want to! :)