After almost 40 years of using Windows and various UNIX flavors, I finally landed a job in which my software development tool is a MacBook Pro.

I am very impressed by the superb craftmanship of this wonder, but finger habits are hard to change...

I did find the following well known Control <-> Command key swap:

  1. From the Apple menu, select System Preferences.
  2. Select Keyboard.
  3. Click the Modifier Keys… button.
  4. From the Command Key menu, select Control.
  5. From the Control Key menu, select Command.
  6. Click OK.
  7. Close the System Preferences.

But this doesn't go far enough. When trying to type ~ (middle tilde, as in "home directory" in zsh/bash), I have to type the upper left tilde key + space. Otherwise I get an upper tilde, which is not recognized by zsh/bash as the "home directory".

A similar issue exists with various types of quotation marks (single and double). The MacBook keyboard slows me down considerably.

Is there a well known tool or set of translations via the Mac's keyboard settings that can let me configure my Mac's keyboard behave exactly like in Windows?

  • 1
    What is an "upper tilde"? The tilde is shift-backtick on a US English keyboard. Regarding single and double quotes, they are also present on a regular US English keyboard. If you do not have a US English keyboard, please specify what you are using. Sep 3, 2023 at 19:44
  • 4
    Ironically your problem is caused by a special keyboard which Apple includes because many Windows users are fond of it -- US International PC turns ~ ` " ' into deadkeys that make it easy to create the diacritics needed for common European languages. It comes up here every so often: apple.stackexchange.com/questions/463488/tilde-expansion-broken/… Sep 3, 2023 at 21:19

2 Answers 2


Get rid of the US International PC input source and replace it by US or ABC.

For info on changing the input source, see


  • Totally never heard of that before. Saving that one! Sep 3, 2023 at 22:27
  • Thank you Tom. My (wireless) keyboard is a Logitech MK270. How do I know whether it is US input source or US only? What is ABC? Sorry for the novice questions.
    – ripopenid
    Sep 4, 2023 at 4:54
  • 2
    System Preferences -> Keyboard -> Input Sources -> then click the plus button below the list, and add either "US" or "ABC", then make sure that new layout is then the one selected in the list. You can also remove the old one so that you've just got the "US" / "ABC" layout. As for the difference between US and ABC, you can take a look at this question: apple.stackexchange.com/q/418543/120864 Sep 4, 2023 at 8:51
  • @Toastrackenigma Thank you. Your instructions work for me like a charm now.
    – ripopenid
    Sep 4, 2023 at 17:34

I am using this popular open source tool to get the alt + tab windows switching because Mac's window switching is too complicated for me.


  • 1
    People never seem to grasp that Cmd-Tab is an application switcher and has nothing to do with windows. Sep 4, 2023 at 17:30
  • Yep, the Mac system of Cmd+Tab to switch apps, and Cmd+` switch windows is infinitely better too, because it means it's less overall keystrokes to switch to the app + window you want Sep 4, 2023 at 20:02

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