Mac envy: How to use an Apple keyboard with Windows

April 3, 2008

Photo of a Mac keyboard on a PCWith Macs now controlling 14% of the US market share (up from 9% in 2006), it’s clear that the world is quickly going Mac.

This is especially evident here at FreshBooks. When I joined last year, we were a strictly PC/Windows shop. Since then, we’ve added 6 iMacs to the grid — and more are on the way.

Resistance is futile

I, for one, welcome our new Mac overlords. To help kick-start the indoctrination process, I’ve begun using an Apple keyboard with my Windows box here at work. Sure, the buttons don’t match up perfectly (where’s the print screen button?), but with a few easy steps, you can re-map your Windows keys such that you’ll hardly notice.

Introducing AutoHotKey

AutoHotKey is freeware software for Windows XP that lets you create easy-to-write scripts that define alternate key mappings in Windows. You can do the same by hacking the Windows registry yourself – but that’s just plain silly.

The script

After you’ve installed AutoHotKey, download this script and run it (either by double-clicking or right-click -> “Run Script”). This will load a set of pre-defined rules that will make your Apple keyboard operate like a Windows one — but way sexier.

Here’s the rules I’m using:

; Swap Windows (Command) and Alt keys
; These button locations are reversed on Mac keyboardsLAlt::LWin
; Map F13 to Print screen
; Mac keyboards don't have a print-screen button!

To have this script run every time Windows boots up, save it in your Startup folder (Start -> All Applications -> Startup).

That’s it! Happy typing.

about the author

FreshBooks is the #1 accounting software in the cloud designed to make billing painless for small businesses and their teams. Today, over 10 million small businesses use FreshBooks to effortlessly send professional looking invoices, organize expenses and track their billable time.