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How do I use a Windows keyboard on a Mac?

If you’re not a lover of your Mac keyboard, or it has decided to go on the blink, why not grab a Windows keyboard and use that instead? Nearly all USB and Bluetooth Windows keyboards will work with a Mac, but the key layout is slightly different. Let’s look at how to connect your keyboard to your Mac and what the differences are.

How do I connect a Windows Keyboard to a Mac?

To connect a Windows keyboard, simply plug it into a spare USB port on your Mac. If it’s a Bluetooth keyboard, switch it on and your Mac should find it. It’s also possible that the Keyboard Setup Assist window may appear on your screen at this point. If so, follow the simple instructions and your Mac will figure out the type of keyboard you have. Once done, you’ll be ready to use your keyboard.

windows keyboard mac

What are the differences between a Mac and a Windows Keyboard?

Most of the keys on a Windows keyboard function the same as on a Mac. However, some essential keys differ:

The Windows Key

The Windows key is used instead of the Command Key.

windows keyboard mac

The Alt Key

The Alt key replaces the Option key.

windows keyboard mac

The Ctrl Key

The Ctrl key is short for control and replicates the Control key on your Mac.

windows keyboard mac

The Backspace Key

The Backspace key replaces the Delete key on your Mac keyboard.

windows keyboard mac

On some Mac keyboards, the Delete key is a left-pointing arrow, and many Windows keyboards also use this symbol. Whichever character appears on your keyboard, the Backspace key on your Windows keyboard replicates the Delete key on your Mac – with one small exception as shown next.

The Delete Key

The Delete key – or Del Key – on a Windows keyboard deletes the character to the right of your cursor in a document. With a Mac keyboard, you have to hold down the Fn key and press Delete to do the same.


Setting up and using a Windows keyboard on a Mac is easy to do – once you know the subtle differences, as shown in this article.

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About the author

Mark Parvin

I have worked with and wrote about computers, video games and consumer tech for more years than I care to admit.
I currently run my own IT support business and write about the wonders of tech whenever I can.

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