There are many keyboards designed and developed for Windows PCs. Just because they were originally designed for Windows, there’s no reason you can’t use a Windows keyboard on Mac.
But if you want to use a Windows keyboard on MAC, here’s how. Before we show you how to use a Windows keyboard with a Mac, let’s understand how a Windows keyboard differs from the Mac keyboard.
Windows keyboard vs. MAC keyboard
There are five main differences between a Windows keyboard and a Mac. The Enter key on Windows works like the Enter key on Mac. Likewise, the Backspace key on Windows will work as Delete on Mac. The problems start when you try to use other Mac functions with a Windows key.
Starting from the left, the Ctrl, Option, and Command keys are swapped with the Ctrl, Windows, and Alt keys on a Windows keyboard. All modifier keys on the Windows keyboard are 1: 1 like keys on a Mac in terms of functionality. For example, the Ctrl key does the same thing on the Mac as it does on a Windows keyboard. The Option key works the same as the Alt key, and the Windows key works the same as the Command key on a Mac.
The problem lies in the order of the buttons. On Windows, you have Control | Windows | Inline Option Keys (Alt) Instead of Control | Option | Command Layout on Mac Due to muscle memory, you will continue to press Alt (Option for Mac) instead of Command and Windows (Command on Mac) instead of Option.
Of course, you can continue to use the Windows keyboard with a new key layout, but it can be a headache for anyone who has been typing on a Mac for years. Fortunately, Apple has a way to fix this problem.
Remap modifier keys
Here is what you need to do. Instead of the new control | Order | Option layout, you have to go back to Control | Option | Arrangement of controls. Look closely and note that you only need to ask the system to change the Option and Command keys. Apple has added a built-in option to let you change the keys on the keyboard. Here’s how to do it.
- Connect the keyboard to your Mac and click on the little Apple icon in the upper left corner.
- Open the System Preferences menu.
- Go to Keyboard> Modifier Keys.
- Select the name of the connected USB or Bluetooth keyboard from the drop-down menu.
- Leave the CAPS LOCK key and the CTRL key as they are.
- For the Option key, change the action as a Command, and for the Command key, change the action as an Option.
- Press OK on the button and you are good to go.
From now on, the Windows key on the Windows keyboard will work as the Option key and the Alt key next to the space bar will work as the Command key. No more confusion and rush to train your mind.
Use a third-party app
The default Apple method is limited in some ways. Using a third-party key customizer, you can customize the keyboard experience to your liking. One of these applications is Karabiner-Elements.
The app allows you to remap each key on the keyboard. You can also create your own rules or choose from predefined rules. The app is free to download and you can read the tutorials for each function on the website.
This helps when using a small / minimal mechanical keyboard without arrow or function keys. You can use key combinations and activate arrow keys for command + hjkl and more. You get the idea, right?
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Customize Windows Keyboard on MAC
As a Mac user, don’t be discouraged, there are some really good ones. Windows> MAC keyboards dedicated on Amazon. You can easily buy them, change Option and Command keys, and continue using Windows keyboard on Mac without any hassle.