I'm tempted to get an Apple Wireless Keyboard but the lack of a number pad is a concern. I'm interested whether there is some form of software you can use where for example you hold some control keys down and you can use a set of keys like the following as a substitute numeric keypad:

m ./
  • Is the bottom row really m ./ or is it correctly m,./?
    – ErikE
    Jan 9, 2018 at 19:37
  • I know it is not what is requested by the OP, but in the case you need it for testing purposes (you are a developer, for example), you can always use the Large keyboard in the Keyboard Viewer (accessibility): apple.stackexchange.com/questions/351320/…. In this way the full key mapping is unchanged and you can still have a way to use it (very handy when you are on the road and your only keyboard is the MacBook's one)
    – cbuchart
    Jun 1, 2023 at 7:38

2 Answers 2


Macworld explained the procedure for a unibody MacBook, but I imagine the procedure is similar for an Apple wireless keyboard:

In order to bring the MacBook’s number pad functions back from the dead you need do nothing more than install [Edit: software is now called Karabiner-Elements] and restart your Mac. If you’re running Snow Leopard you don’t have to remap anything or even open the Preference Pane. Just hold down Fn plus the letters you mentioned and your laptop will cheerfully produce numbers as did your old one.

Link to Karabiner-Elements

Despite the name, this app will also work happily with non-MacBooks, or even non-Apple keyboards. I haven’t used it specifically to simulate a numeric keypad on an Apple wireless keyboard, but I have used it for other things and it generally works well.

It’s also well-maintained: the developer has been releasing regular bug fixes and new versions for OS X releases since late 2006. And older version supporting older OS versions are still downloadable.

  • I've installed Karabiner and got the emulated Numpad functionality working! :D However, when I try to use it (to type a pipe character on a remote connection to a windows computer, ALT+124) ... together with the alt key to try to create a character using ALT+NUMPAD keys I just get the Mac option keys :-/
    – MrWatson
    Sep 29, 2021 at 7:49

In most cases, I would recommend that you follow alexwlchan's suggestion. However, if you're entering lots of numbers at once and would rather not have to hold down the fn key, there is another solution: creating a custom keyboard layout!

The free app Ukelele enables this to be done fairly painlessly. Simply place the numbers and any other keys you want to have access to, and select File > Install > Install For [Current User/All Users].

Once the layout is installed, add it to your input sources in  > System Preferences > Keyboard > Input Sources by clicking the + icon and finding your custom layout.

You can then have a couple options for switching between layouts. If the appropriate box at the bottom of that window is checked, you can switch with the mouse using the icon in the menu bar. Alternatively, you can set a keyboard shortcut to toggle between them by navigating to the Shortcuts tab of the same window, clicking Input Sources in the left-hand list, and double-clicking the shortcut you'd like to change.

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