SharpKeys: Reviving the missing < and > key using Norwegian layout on a US keyboard

At Microsoft Build this year we were so lucky to receive a HP Spectre x360, and it has proven to be quite a decent 2-in-1 (check out reviews etc). The only problem: it has a US keyboard. Being Norwegian I’m used to a different keyboard layout, so keys are a bit misplaced (yes, I said it). So far it has been fine. As long as I don’t look at the keys the muscle memory takes care of hitting the right ones according to the norwegian keyboard layout.

For most people this will be fine for most usecases, but in case you’re a developer then you might want to use the lesser and greater than keys (< and >). Using a Norwegian layout on a US keyboard these keys do not exist as far as I can tell. On a Norwegian keyboard we have an extra key next to the Z key that houses both < and >:

Huh, where's that key?
Huh, where’s that key?

There’s an easy fix if you’re willing to let another key be replaced. Caps lock is a key that I don’t use at all, so for me it was easy to remap caps lock. Surprisingly there weren’t many guides online that adressed this specific issue that I could find.

To help us with this issue download the SharpKeys tool from their codeplex site. Install it on your system.

To add a key mapping simply click Add, and you’re presented with a simple dialog where you can choose which key to map from and which key to map to.

The SharpKeys interface
The SharpKeys interface

At first I felt a bit disheartened because the list was made for US keyboards so the specific key that I was looking was not present. Not at first. After a bit of thinking I found a USB keyboard that I had, hooked it up and clicked the Type key button. I hit the <> key and it got detected as key: Unknown: 0x0056 (00_56). Very intuitive I know!

Add/Edit key mapping. Use the Unknown: 0x0056 (00_56) for <> keys
Add/Edit key mapping. Use the Unknown: 0x0056 (00_56) for <> keys

When you’re all set, hit ok, then the “Write to registry” button. Sign in and out and you should be set!

I hope this can help others with this issue who are feeling a little lost like I felt when I started my Google with Bing search.