How to set up and use Windows keyboard on Mac


With Mac computers, you can use almost any keyboard designed for Windows PCs, be it a USB or Bluetooth keyboard. True, the modification keys on Mac and PC keyboards are different. This can lead to erroneous keyboard shortcuts or other unexpected keystrokes when using a PC keyboard with a Mac.

The problem can be easily solved by remapping the keys Windows and ALT on the ⌘Cmd and ⌥Option (Alt) on a PC keyboard connected to the Mac. In this way, you can use the familiar keyboard shortcuts typical of the standard Apple keyboard. For many Mac users who have to work with a PC keyboard, this will really make life easier.

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How to use a PC keyboard with remapped Windows and ALT keys with a Mac

The method described below works with all PC keyboards with the standard CTRL / Windows / ALT layout and all versions of macOS.

1. Connect your PC keyboard to Mac via USB or Bluetooth as you usually do;

2. Open the Apple menu and select “System settings”;

3. Click on “Keyboard”;

4. Select the tab “Keyboard” and click on the option Modification keys in the lower right corner of the settings panel;

How to use a Windows keyboard on a Mac

5. On the menu “Select a keyboard” specify the desired PC keyboard;

6. Open the key menu ⌥Option (Alt) and select ⌘Cmd;

7. Open the key menu ⌘Cmd and select ⌥Option (Alt);

How to use a Windows keyboard on a Mac

8. Click on OK

9. When you do all of the above, when connected to a Mac, the WINDOWS key on your PC keyboard will become ⌥Option (Alt), and ALT will become ⌘Cmd

Be aware that on some Windows PC keyboards, the CTRL and ALT keys also function differently from the Mac keys. Fortunately, they can be reassigned using the above method.

To check if the keys have been reassigned, try using your familiar keyboard shortcuts. For example, take a screenshot (⌘Cmd + ⇧Shift + 3) or close the window (⌘Cmd + W). Of course, the keys themselves will not go anywhere from the keyboard and will retain their old names, but they will perform the new functions you have specified. Those who are accustomed to “blind typing” should not be confused by this fact.

Below is an example of a PC keyboard. As you can see, the modification keys on it are different from those familiar to Mac users.

Logitech keyboard

And here is the keyboard for Apple computers.

Apple keyboard

If you compare both shots, it becomes clear why you should remap keys on a PC keyboard if you are using it with a Mac.

The above method is useful for those who have chosen an excellent PC keyboard for their work, but are used to working with a Mac. As mentioned, it fits all keyboards and all macOS.

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