I've recently started using a Mac after using Windows for 20+ years and one annoying thing is that I have to re-learn all the shortcuts. I've found that you can change small stuff like swapping the Ctrl, Fn and Option buttons, but the shortcuts themselves would still be different from what I am used to. I've also found Karabiner helpful for remapping individual keys, but it won't let me create more complex rules, such as assigning Alt-Tab to change between Windows.

Is there a program/extension/terminal command that would allow me to remap any shortcut in the system to any other shortcut combination?


3 Answers 3


The answer to my question is to use Karabiner along with their set of complex key modifications titled "PC-Style Shortcuts". You can also add modifications of your own by editing the ~/.config/karabiner/karabiner.json file.

The only shortcut I couldn't get working is using Alt+Shift to switch between input languages, but it's probably doable using more advanced scripting. I'm instead using Macs built-in language toggling using the Caps lock key. Top this off with Witch to enable Windows-style toggling between applications/windows and you get a full PC experience, completely customizable to your personal needs.

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    I know this is an old post, but thank you, this does exactly what I was looking for. I switch back and forth between Windows and Mac a lot and it gets confusing having to remap the commands in my mind back and forth all day long. Now I just need to find out how to change the alt+tab behavior to match Windows. Oct 25, 2020 at 12:42
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    Using this one: ke-complex-modifications.pqrs.org/?q=%20PC-Style%20Shortcuts . It works for certain applications (like Microsoft Outlook), but I can't get it to work for the Finder (for example, I can't do Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V to copy+paste, I'm still stuck with the Mac shortcuts). Any clues?
    – payne
    May 28, 2021 at 17:13
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    This saved my sanity, thank you! For a tutorial on creating your own complex modifications on Karabiner: youtube.com/watch?v=PBPS2D9AKtI
    – Leobeeson
    Mar 14, 2022 at 17:19
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    @user3062913 For alt-tab shortcut, the AltTab application does the job for me: alt-tab-macos.netlify.app Jun 3, 2022 at 15:10
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    Just a heads up, there's a few with the name "PC-Style Shortcuts" but this one worked best for me: ke-complex-modifications.pqrs.org/#pc_shortcuts
    – NessDan
    Jan 27, 2023 at 15:41

I agree with all the comments so far, your better off learning the Mac shortcuts. That being said, you can change a lot of shortcuts using the keyboard preferences:

Apple Menu > System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts

Most of the finder an system shortcuts are in there. You can then create your own ones by selecting "App Shortcuts", click the + button, select the app you want to modify, enter the menu title and a shortcut. This happen live with the application open. Have a dig around, you'd be surprised how many tasks can be changed.

Remember also that the Mac uses gestures a lot. Sometime they are faster than keyboard shortcuts if you have a touchpad.

Apple Menu > System Preferences > Keyboard > Keyboard Click the "Modifier Keys" button bottom right and swap the Alt/Option key and the Command key if needed.

You could also try Witch by ManyTricks

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    How would learning Mac shortcuts improve the efficiency of my work assuming I could just reprogram the system to use my old ones? I don't really understand that part... Jan 18, 2018 at 8:06
  • @JonathanReez I suppose most feel that the reprogramming can be so tedious that it is not worth the trouble, but you are certainly the best judge of that. If you try it, add something later to your question to indicate the results and any problems you ran into. Jan 19, 2018 at 17:07
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    "I agree with all the comments so far, your better off learning the Mac shortcuts.", emm. No. Apr 7, 2021 at 9:35

Changing shortcuts from one key to another is one thing, but some functions are inherently different -- like the way that Command Tab cycles between applications, not windows.

There is no built-in functionality to cycle between all windows that you can assign to a key command. You may be able to find third-party software that will provide such functions, of course.

Ultimately: "different platform is different", and there's only so much that can be done to mirror the familiar environment.

  • Thanks, updated my answer to include a mention of Witch. It lets you configure Command-Tab to work Windows-style or in any other way you personally prefer. No need to adapt yourself or learn anything new if you don't want to, its the system that should adapt for your personal needs :) Apr 19, 2021 at 18:55
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    Another example: moving files around. In File Explorer, you Cut the file from where it is, then Paste it where you want to move it. Cut works differently on macOS; if you cut something it vanishes immediately, and if you don't paste it... it's just gone. To prevent accidentally losing files this way, macOS does it differently: you Copy the file from where it is, then Option-Paste it where you want to move it. And another: closing windows doesn't always quit programs on macOS; you need to quit the app, not just close its window. Apr 19, 2021 at 19:11
  • @GordonDavisson yes, I hate that about macOS and sadly there isn't a good third party plugin to fix this. But a lot of stuff can indeed be fixed instead of being forced to adapt. Apr 19, 2021 at 22:31

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