Use A Windows Keyboard On A Mac

After 30 years of using Windows PCs, I’ve finally given in and bought myself an Apple Mac. It’s the first Mac I have ever owned or used. But rather than get an all in one machine like an iMac, I bought a Mac Mini.

This meant I could choose my own screens and keyboard. After so many years using Windows keyboard, I didn’t want one of those pale, diminutive, flat Mac keyboards. So I got hold of a G910 keyboard. It presents like a night out in Las Vegas, and if like me you don’t get out much, this is a plus.

The bright lights of my keyboard

Unfortunately, out of the box some keys on the G910 Windows keyboard do not work on MAC. Specifically, I am talking about keys like the home, delete and end keys on the numeric and navigational keypads.

However you can make these keys work by assigning them a meaning through Karabiner. Karabiner is a free software utility written specifically for this purpose.

Karabiner – Simple Modifications

Karabiner allows you to modify individual keys to do something else, or to assign a function to a key that previously did nothing at all. It calls these simple modifications.

For example both the keypad_period and the keypad_1 keys on my keyboard did nothing at all. So I used Karabiner to change

  • change keypad_period on the numeric keypad to behave like delete_forward, and
  • change keypad_1 to be behave like end.

Karabiner – Complex Modifications

But I also wanted to change the home and end keys on the navigation keypad where you find Insert, Home, Page Up, Delete, End and Page Down keys.

The keys I redefined using Karabiner

Karabiner did not mention these keys within simple modifications, so I could not use that easy interface to make the changes. Instead I had to use its complex modifications functionality.

You access complex modifications by either

  • editing the Karabiner json file and adding the rules code or,
  • if the rules code already exists, you can import it directly into Karabiner.

Importing Rules Code Into Karabiner

Fortunately for me, the rules codes I required had already been written by someone else so all I had to do was import it. To import existing code open up the Karabiner app and

  • Click on Complex modifications
  • Click on Add rule
  • Click the button at the top that says Import more rules from the internet. This will take you to the official repository where you can search for the rules you need.
  • Once you have found a rule and imported it, enable the rule or it won’t work.

In my cased I searched using the term Home and End, and imported the rule that came up. Now my navigational Home and End keys work as they did on Windows.