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The one setting every Windows user should know when switching to Mac

Muscle memory is real. Here's how to remap your Mac keyboard to simulate the control shortcuts of a Windows computer.
Written by June Wan, Technology Editor on
Reviewed by Alyson Windsor
MacBook keyboard control key
June Wan/ZDNET

Recently, I did a thing: I switched my heavyweight Windows PC for a docked 16-inch MacBook Pro. The hardest part of the transition, surprisingly, wasn't the data transferring or assimilation to Apple's bubblier operating system. 

Also: This free utility is so simple and useful, it should be shipped with every Mac

It was the fact that, for years, I had gotten so used to reaching over to the bottom-left corner of the keyboard for the Control key in order to select all (Ctrl+A,) copy (Ctrl+C,) paste (Ctrl+V,) and do all the other useful Windows-based shortcuts, that by the time I was presented with the MacBook's repositioned Control key alternative, the Command key, my muscle memory was beginning to question itself.

So what if I told you you can remap the Apple keyboard so that the Globe key, which is situated where the Control key is typically found on a Windows layout, serves as the Command key instead? Here's the lowdown.

Also: The best ergonomic keyboards

(Even if you've always been a Mac user, and everything I just wrote meant nothing to you, you'll still want to read this. There's a good chance that the following remapping feature will benefit you just as much, too.)

How to remap the Globe key into the Command key

1. Open up Keyboard settings

Let's start by running a Spotlight Search (clicking the magnifying glass on the top right of the status bar) and searching for "Keyboard." Hit return and the Keyboard settings should open, presenting you with a slew of adjustable options.

You can also access this menu by clicking the Apple icon on the top left of the status bar > System Preferences > and then Keyboard.

2. Open Modifier Keys

On the bottom right of the Keyboard settings should be a button labeled "Modifier Keys...". It is here where you can remap and modify what each key to the left of the spacebar can do, like changing the Globe key to trigger the Command action instead.

Mac OS keyboard settings
Screenshot by June Wan/ZDNET

3. Remap the Globe key to Command

Make sure "Apple Internal Keyboard / Trackpad" is selected on the top menu and then set Globe key's action to Command. If you still want the functionality of the now-replaced Globe key, you're welcome to remap it elsewhere.

Note: There is a "Control key" on the Mac keyboard but it doesn't function the same as that on Windows. The Command key is the direct alternative.

Mac OS modifier keys remapping
Screenshot by June Wan/ZDNET

How this helps

From a Windows user perspective, being able to still access my usual keyboard shortcuts -- and by usual I mean ones I use dozens of times a day -- without searching for the right combination of keys increases my productivity. It's also a more natural and effortless action to shift my pinky downward to press and hold the new Command key versus tucking my thumb underneath my hand to hit the old one.

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