I've yet to find a guide that is both (a) complete, and (b) compatible with recent macOS releases. I have a Windows keyboard that I'd like to set up on my Mac to work with the same shortcuts. Some things I've tried include setting Application Shortcuts, and modifying key actions in the keyboard settings (i.e., setting to take the action ) -- these sort of work, but still leave me without several shortcuts.

Shortcuts I'm specifically hoping to get on my Mac:

- ctrl + c : copy
- ctrl + v : paste
- ctrl + x : cut
- ctrl + a : select all
- ctrl + s : save
- ctrl + shift + s : save all
- end : end of line
- home : front of line
- ctrl + end : end of document
- ctrl + home : front of document

I know there are tons more that I'd like, but I assume if I can get the Ctrl, Shift, End, and Home keys working, then the rest of my normal keyboard shortcuts will kind of fall into place from there.

So basically, I'm looking for a way to get my Windows keyboard to act like a Windows keyboard, on a Mac. Is this possible?

  • 2
    great question, Apple needs to be harassed more into fixing this.
    – airtonix
    Jan 5, 2021 at 22:21
  • @airtonix What makes you think Apple needs to fix anything here?
    – nohillside
    Feb 5, 2021 at 14:42
  • 1
    @nohillside if you can't work that out, then you're obviously just trolling.
    – airtonix
    Feb 27, 2021 at 3:50
  • 1
    @airtonix I don‘t see how Apple needs to fix anything to make a keyboard behave like on Windows. But fortunately there are tools available which already allow you to do that.
    – nohillside
    Feb 27, 2021 at 5:58
  • 1
    I ergonomically prefer the cmd shortcuts. For example, Control-Y is very hard to do, while cmd-shift-z is much easier. I can understand why it is hard for some people who use both regularly (I have had to switch from a pi to my mac and back multiple times a day, so I have experienced it), but it isn't that bad when you get used to it. Sep 6, 2021 at 15:10

3 Answers 3

  1. Install https://pqrs.org/osx/karabiner/
  2. Find PC-style shortcuts complex_modifications rules here https://pqrs.org/osx/karabiner/complex_modifications/?q=%20PC-Style%20Shortcuts
  3. Click import.
  4. Enable all rules that you need in Karabiner-Elements app.
  5. If you want to customize shortucts, edit ~/.config/karabiner/assets/complex_modifications/[some-number-here].json, which will be the imported file. You can learn from the other examples and do your own stuff.
  • 1
    Awesome solution, it gave me a lot of hope! I added a step to your answer. I also recomend installing rectangleapp.com for setting window shortcuts, like moving between screens.
    – awvalenti
    Jun 3, 2022 at 22:24

This question has already been asked (Windows shortcut support for macOS Sierra) and (quasi) answered in a comment by @Tetsujin

Honestly, you will be better off long-term learning the difference rather than trying to force the Mac to behave like Windows. I've been working cross-platform for 25 years & I've found no better system than 'just work with it, not against it'

To further expand on this, it's important to note that the shortcuts in macOS are not just universal, they are part of the standards for UX/UI design for macOS. Every application (developer) expects this to be the case and may use the shortcuts you referenced above for app specific functions. Remapping those to conform to Windows will undoubtedly cause issues.

From Apple's macOS Human Interface Guidelines under Keyboard:

Respect standard keyboard shortcuts and create app-specific shortcuts for frequently used commands. Keyboard shortcuts let people activate menu items and actions by pressing specific key combination.

And finally, as I have said in the comments of the same linked question:

I came from Windows (on the Desktop, UNIX on the server) background and I still use 3 platforms (Mac, Windows, BSD) almost daily. After a little while, you easily switch from Windows to Mac shortcuts and vice-versa.


Just go to System Preferences > Keyboard > Modifier Keys and change Control (^) Key: to ⌘ Command. All your windows shortcuts should work. I needed the same thing.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .