Remapping PC keyboards

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Reader Roger Vaught would like to bring a little more Mac goodness to his PC keyboard. He writes:

I got a used Microsoft Bluetooth keyboard with no manual. It works, sorta. The problem is the Apple (alt) and Control (Cntl) keys do not work like the keys on Apple’s keyboards—the Option and Command keys are reversed, for example. Any solution?

If you’re running OS X 10.4 or later, check out the Keyboard & Mouse system preference, and within it, the Keyboard tab. Click the Modifier Keys button and you’ll find that you can change modifier key assignments (such as Caps Lock, Control, Option, and Command).

If your keyboard doesn’t respond to such treatment or you’re running an older version of the Mac OS, check out my colleague Dan Frakes’ solution from back in 2005. It’s just as worthwhile now as it was then. That solution is Michael Baltaks’s free DoubleCommand, a kernel extension you can use to swap the Alt and Windows keys on a PC keyboard. This isn’t DoubleCommand’s only talent, however, as Dan says:

DoubleCommand got its name from its original purpose—to remap (change the function or position of) the enter key to the Command key, thus giving PowerBook users two Command keys. In the current version, the DoubleCommand preference pane allows you to remap a number of different keys on your keyboard to suit the way you work.

Definitely worth checking out if System Preferences wont’ deliver.

(Updated to include information on Keyboard & Mouse system preference.)

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