From Colemak
Description: Installation of the Colemak layout for Microsoft Windows
Version: 1.1 (19/Mar/2007)
File size: 0.3 MB
OS: Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7/8/8.1/10
*Download now    (100% free – no spyware, no adware, no viruses)

Warning about passwords: If you have any passwords in your computer, either change them (e.g. with a password of numbers only), or learn them in the new layout!

Installation Instructions

  • Download and unzip the installation archive above.
  • Run setup.exe.
  • Note that this version does not remap Caps Lock to Backspace.
    See Registry remapping for a solution that remaps Caps Lock to Backspace.
  • Restart Windows (not always necessary, but recommended).
  • Learn the layout.
  • To uninstall: Remove the layout, and rerun setup.exe

Verify download integrity

You can verify the download integrity by comparing the SHA256 hash to the one below:

certutil.exe -hashfile SHA256

Version with Caps Lock as Backspace

UK Variant

Portable versions

Alternative implementations

If for some reason you can't get the normal installation to work, you have several other options:

  • AutoHotKey - Allows trying out the layout without administrative privileges (portable application).
  • Registry remapping - Low-level key remapping via the registry.

Japanese/Chinese IME

On screen keyboard

Via Chocolatey package manager

Colemak Chocolatey package


  • Troubleshooting guide
  • Initial login screen layout: The keyboard layout on the login screen does not change after installation. When the workstation is locked, the current layout is used. A possible workaround is to copy [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Keyboard Layout\Preload] registry tree to [HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Keyboard Layout\Preload]. Login screen on Windows Vista: after you've set Colemak to be the default layout, you can go to Control Panel > Regional & Language Options > Administrative (tab) > Copy to reserved accounts... Then, just check the box that says System Accounts.
  • When I start a new application it starts with another keyboard layout. Keyboard layout is a per-application setting on Windows, so switching between applications may also switch keyboard layouts. If you need to switch keyboard layouts in all applications, change the default keyboard layout, log off and log in again. You might also have the Left-Alt+Shift shortcut configured to switch between layouts.
  • Layout dosen't work with all applications. Some applications (e.g. VMware, some games) read the keyboard scancodes directly ignoring the keyboard layout. You might consider the registry remapping solution for this.
  • When I start a new application it starts with another keyboard layout. This happens when Colemak is configured to be the default keyboard layout.
  • "Key sequence is already in use" error: If you're getting the message "Key sequence is already in use. Please select another one" while selecting a key sequence even though it's not in use, run the "I386\Delete layout switch hotkeys.reg". You'll have to redefine all the layout hotkeys.