Another helpful bit of information for new Mac users is to know which menu key symbols correspond to which keys on the keyboard. The symbols used in the Mac menus can be a bit strange to those new to the Mac, as well as old hands who may be more mousers than keyboard users.
The last bit of trouble you may run into depends on which platform you were using before you started using a Windows keyboard with your Mac. This problem is one of finger memory. Besides Windows and Mac keyboards having slightly different names, they also swap the positions of two often-used modifier keys: Likewise, the Windows keyboard's Alt key is where you expect to find the Mac's Command key. If you're used to using the modifier keys from your old Mac keyboard, you're likely to run into trouble for a while as you relearn the key locations.
Instead of having to relearn key locations, you can use the Keyboard preference pane to reassign the modifier keys, allowing you to keep the fingering skills you already possess.
Windows Keyboard Equivalents for the Mac's Special Keys
With the modifier key swap issue resolved, you shouldn't have any problems using any Windows keyboard with your Mac. Those new to the Mac but use to using keyboard shortcuts to speed up their workflow may be a little taken aback by the notation used in the Mac's menu system to indicate when a keyboard shortcut is available. If a keyboard shortcut is available for a menu item, the shortcut will be displayed next to the menu item using the following notation: Share Pin Email.
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He is the president of Coyote Moon, Inc. Updated December 30, Question I'm using a Windows keyboard connected to my Mac. In the System Preferences window that opens, select the Keyboard preference pane. Click the Modifier Keys button.
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Use the pop-up menu next to the Option and Command keys to select the action you wish the modifier keys to perform. In this example, you want the Option key the Alt key on a Windows keyboard to execute the Command action, and the Command key the Windows key on a Windows keyboard to perform the Option action. This was the last keyboard Apple made that included the Apple logo alongside the cloverleaf image on the Command key.
Windows Keyboard Equivalents for the Mac's Special Keys
Of course, there are a lot of other reasons to use a Windows keyboard. You may be coming to the Mac from a Windows environment and already have a favorite keyboard. Or you may like some of the more advanced Windows keyboards that offer more ergonomic choices, such as the Matias Tactile Pro , specialized keys, or unique keyboard layouts. Windows keyboards, such as the Logitech G Gaming Keyboard, can offer unique layouts. Making the Change to Windows Keyboards Actually making the switch to Windows-based keyboards is surprisingly easy.
No special drivers or software were required, although some keyboard manufacturers did make special software for assigning keys to specific Mac functions more on that a bit later. Making a USB-based Windows keyboard compatible was a pretty simple process; they already were, at least electrically. You could plug in the Windows keyboard and it would, for the most part work, fine with your Mac.
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The only real issues were the names given to special keys, and where they were physically located on the keyboard layout. Matias makes its Quiet Pro keyboards with either a Mac or a Windows layout; the Mac version is shown here. Image courtesy of Matias. Some keyboard software became pretty sophisticated, able to remap keys globally as well as on a per application basis, which is very handy for remapping game controller settings on your favorite keyboard.
With Bluetooth supported across the entire Mac lineup, Bluetooth wireless keyboards worked quite nicely with Macs; no special Bluetooth dongle was needed. Once again this issue was solved either through the manufacturers providing software to remap the keys, or by producing special Mac compatible versions of their keyboards.
This style of keyboard uses a radio transmitter in the keyboard to talk to a receiver, usually located in a dongle that plugs into a USB port. Some RF keyboards will work with Macs and others will not.
The problem is in the RF dongle and whether the manufacturer has built the dongle to emulate a standard USB keyboard connection; if so, it should work fine with the Mac. If you must use an RF keyboard, track down the manufacturer and make sure they have a Mac version of the driver software.
How to Use a Windows PC Keyboard on Mac by Remapping Command & Option Keys
Special Key Differences Generally, there are at least five special keys on a Windows keyboard that have a different name or location than their Mac counterparts. This simple remapping lets you correct one of the most common issues associated with using a Windows keyboard with a Mac, and that is the physical location of the Alt and Windows keys.
As noted above, the Alt key is the same as the Option key on the Mac, while the Windows key is the same as the Command key. The problem is that on a Windows keyboard, these two keys are swapped in respect to their normal placement on the Mac keyboard. Since their functions are identical, you could just get used to their locations on the Windows keyboard.