I've connected an external keyboard to my MacBook Pro. It's a Windows keyboard, but I'd rather not re-learn the swapped order of the Windows/Alt keys (vs. Option/Command keys). So I went to System Preferences, Keyboard, Modifier Keys… and swapped them:

enter image description here

So far, so good. But "Option" isn't really interpreted as "Alt" here Both in VMware Fusion and in Royal TS, the Windows key on the left and the menu(?) key on the right now do what appears to be Alt Gr, with various subtle but annoying differences in Windows, such as:

  • the alt-tab switcher is now sticky. You have to explicitly confirm with enter
  • some letters like alt-o now produce special characters keyboard mnemonic (underlined menu items) do not work at all
  • Even though VMware Fusion does offer numerous remapping options, I couldn't figure it out. This trick works. However, that seems hacky and would also need to be applied to every single remote desktop in Royal TS. Not great.

I'd much rather solve this on the Mac side. If I turn the mapping off, Alt does get sent as Alt, so why does swapping the two change it to Alt Gr at all?

  • Best guess, the Mac doesn't have a clue what an AltGr key is for, so doesn't know how to translate it. I just tested my Windows-mapped Logitech on one of the Macs against Key Codes (freeware) which shows the 2 are different, but I couldn't extract anything conclusive from it.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Dec 20, 2019 at 8:04
  • Yeah, it's probably the keyboard (but as per usual, only its right Alt key is Alt Gr). With the modifiers swapped, Key Codes logs the modifiers 0x80140, 0x100110, 0x100108 and 0x100 for Left Option, Cmd, Right Cmd, Right Option. With no swapping, it logs 0x100108, 0x80120, 0x80140 and 0x100. So there's definitely a mismatch. Commented Dec 20, 2019 at 10:43

1 Answer 1


It looks like Karabiner-Elements is what I'm looking for.

https://apple.stackexchange.com/a/281437/9422 has been quite helpful. So far, this mapping appears to do what I'd expect (unlike Apple's):

enter image description here

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