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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Mapping a Windows keyboard to your Mac with free 3rd party software

In a piece I wrote on December 1, 2012; I said I would tell you about software you could use to remap a stock Windows keyboard from your old Windows computer to use with your new Mac.

First, let’s look at the hardware:


You see a stock Logitech keyboard and mouse from a ZT Systems Windows 7 computer. (ZT Systems makes great Windows computers. Got this one through Costco). It is so stock that the keyboard and mouse come with the Windows PS/2 connectors instead of the USB connectors used by Apple.

To get around this, I used a PS/2 to USB adapter. You can get these adapters at several places. You can get them at Staples or Office Depot in the laptop accessories aisle where they will overcharge you To save money, you can plunge into the cyber-jungle of Frys Electronics and pick one up for less than $10. The one shown in the picture comes from SIIG Systems of Taiwan. It works just fine with the Mac Mini running 10.8.2.

No, you don’t need to install software just for the keyboard. Just plug and play. If it doesn’t work initially, reboot the system.

Next, how do you remap this keyboard to mimic a Mac? Or even more cooler, how do you get a Mac to mimic the Windows keyboard shortcuts you know and love?

      • To do that, download and install KeyReMap4MacBook This software, which installs as a preference pane in System Preferences, enables you to remap the Windows key as the Command key. Beyond that, you can remap Mac keyboard shortcuts, such as Command + S to save a document, to the Windows version, Control + S.
      • To accomplish this, open up KeyReMap4MacBook from your System Preferences:
      • ScreenShot2013-01-08at7.21.08PM-2013-01-8-18-42.png
      • You will see this window, full of options:


You actually need to scroll down from the top to get to For PC Users. Click on the right-facing arrow to open all the options.

You will want to change the Windows key, which this program refers to as the “PC Applications key”. As you see from the following picture, you have several options for remapping it:


The selection I checked means “Remap the Application (Windows) key to serve as the Left Command key. “

But that’s not all! as the TV pitchmen say. In addition to remapping the Windows key to serve as the Command key, you can remap Mac keyboard combinations to work as Windows keyboard combinations. Here I chose to use the PC style Copy & Paste of Control +C for copy and Control +V to paste and Control + X to cut

I also set up Control + S as my combination for a Save

If you often shift between a Mac and a PC, this can save you from mentally grinding gears:



Sound great? Well, you have to watch a few things:

First, you can only use 1 piece of 3rd party keyboard remapping software at a time. Do NOT install DoubleCommand as well.

If you already installed DoubleCommand, UNINSTALL it before installing KeyRemap4MacBook.

Second, KeyRemap comes in two versions. One version works with 10.8, 10.7 and 10.6. One version works with 10.5 and 10.4. Choose the appropriate version for your version of OS X.

Tom Briant

Editor and Media Manager, MacValley UG

1 comment:

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