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Boot Camp: About keyboards and key assignment for Microsoft Windows

Learn how Microsoft Windows and Mac keyboards are different and how some keys may function differently between OS X and Windows.

In the example below, the top keyboard is a Mac keyboard and the bottom is a typical Windows keyboard. The blue highlighted keys have unique functions specific to the operating system for which they are designed. Some of the keys on the Mac keyboard are temporarily reassigned to a different function when you start in Windows on your Mac. Specific details are given in the tables later in this article.

Example Mac keyboard 
See "How Microsoft Windows Function keys are mapped to Apple keyboards" below for details on keys

Example Windows keyboard
See "How Microsoft Windows Function keys are mapped to Apple keyboards" below for details on keys

 

Windows needs Apple keyboard support drivers
After you install Windows, you need to install Windows support software which includes the Mac drivers and other support software required for Windows to understand the Extended Function keys on Apple keyboards. See the Boot Camp Installation & Setup Guide to learn how to install the support software.

 

Using a Windows keyboard in Mac OS X
Although Apple doesn't support the use of Windows keyboards, Microsoft provides a keyboard mapping article for attempting to use a Windows Keyboard in Mac OS X.

 

About character mapping in Windows for international keyboards

You can determine the key combinations used to access unique characters for the language and region your Apple keyboard is designed to support:

  1. Download, install, and open the Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator. This allows  you to view any of the supported Apple-specific keyboard layouts that were installed in Windows.
  2. Choose File > Load Existing Keyboard
  3. Select the keyboard you want to see. Locate the country name in the keyboard list which is followed by "(Apple)".
  4. Follow the instructions provided with the application. You can print images of the keyboard in various states (such as when holding the Shift key).

 

Which keyboard do I have?

Find your keyboard below in order to use the reference tables below

Original MacBook Pro
Keyboard on original MacBook Pro computers

Apple Keyboard with Numeric Keypad
External keyboard with low-profile keys and a number pad

MacBook Pro
Keyboard on newer MacBook Pro computers

Apple Pro Keyboard
External keyboard with taller keys than other Apple keyboards

Apple USB and Apple Wireless
External keyboard with low-profile keys and no number pad

Typical Windows Keyboard
External keyboard with a Windows button and no keys above the number pad on the right

  

How Microsoft Windows Function keys are mapped to Apple keyboards
This table shows the keyboard functions specific to Microsoft Windows and the equivalent key combinations as they are mapped to Apple keyboards.

Function

Windows Keyboard

Apple Keyboard with Numeric Keypad

Apple Pro keyboard

Apple USB & Wireless keyboard

MacBook Pro keyboard

Windows logo 

winlogo.png

Command (⌘)

Command (⌘)

Command (⌘)

Command (⌘)

Enter

Enter ⏎

Return

Return

Return

Return

Backspace/ Delete

Backspace

Delete

Delete

Delete

Delete

Alt (left)

Alt (left)

Option

Option

Option

Option

Alt Gr (right)

Alt (right)

Option + Control

Option + Control

Option + Control

Option + Control

Print Screen

Print Screen

F14

F14

fn + Shift + F11

fn + Shift + F11

Print active window

Alt + Print Screen

Option + F14

Option + F14 

fn + Shift + Option +  F11

fn + Shift + Option +  F11

Scroll Lock

Scroll Lock

fn + Shift + F12

F15

fn + Shift + F12

fn + Shift + F12

Pause/Break

Pause

fn + ESC

F16

fn + Esc

fn + Esc

Insert

Insert

fn + Enter

Help

 

 

Number Lock

Num Lock

Clear

Clear

 

fn- F6

Forward Delete

Delete

Delete

Delete

Delete

fn + Delete

Applications logo

x1.png

 

 

 

 

 

How Mac keyboards are mapped for the Numeric keypad

Apple external keyboards with built-in numeric keypads as well as original MacBook Pro keyboards provide the same functionality as Microsoft-compatible numeric keypads.
Right-hand keys on MacBook Pro Original keyboard are equivalent to a numeric pad on other keyboards.

 

Function

Apple Keyboard with Numeric Keypad

Apple Pro keyboard
(with Num Lock off)

Original MacBook Pro keyboard

Page Up

Page Up

9

fn +

Page Down

Page Down

3

fn +

Insert

fn + Enter

0

 

Decimal Point

.

.

. 1

Delete

fn + .

 

fn + .1

Up arrow

8 +

8

1

Down arrow

2 +

2

1

Left arrow

4 +

4

1

Right arrow

6 +

6

1

Home

Home

7

fn +

End

End

1

 

 

How Microsoft Windows Function keys are mapped to OS X Extended Function Keys

You can use the Extended Function keys (located along the top of your Apple keyboard) in Windows. In the table below, a checkmark indicates that your keyboard supports a function in Windows. Note:  This requires the Windows support software drivers to be installed. See the  Boot Camp Installation & Setup Guide to learn how to install the support software.

 

Key

(from left to right on top of keyboard)

Key Name 

Apple keyboard with numeric keypad 

Apple USB & Wireless keyboard

MacBook Pro keyboard

Apple Pro keyboard

Leftmost key on top of keyboard

Reduce display brightness

F14

Increase display brightness

F15

Mission Control

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Launchpad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dashboard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Function

 

 

Keyboard brightness on/off toggle

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reduce keyboard brightness

 

 

 

 

 

 

Increase keyboard brightness

 

 

 

 

 

 

Play/Pause

 

 

Previous track

 

 

Next track

 

 

Mute toggle

Volume down

Volume up

Media eject

Rightmost key on top of keyboard

Media eject (2nd optical drive)

Option +

Option +

Option +

Option +

 

Additional Information

For more information and installation requirements for Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator, see this Microsoft article.

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Last Modified: Jun 17, 2014
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  • Last Modified: Jun 17, 2014
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