Blame it on nostalgia if you will, but I recently decided to pick up a cheap mechanical keyboard from my local tech store to use with my Mac.
It’s been an odd transition for me, probably because I’ve become so accustomed to using Apple’s flatter, chiclet-style keyboard over the last couple of years. Still, I’ve started to do so much typing work lately that I wanted to see whether a mechanical keyboard would be more comfortable over extended periods of use.
Unsurprisingly, the keyboard I bought is made for Windows, meaning there’s none of the Mac OS X functionality I’ve grown used to like media controls, brightness settings, Mission Control and so on. I tried configuring the keyboard shortcuts on my Mac’s settings but it just wouldn’t work, so I resorted to searching for third party apps to do it instead.
With the help of my good friend Pedro Lobo, I found my saving grace; a free Mac app called BetterTouchTool that essentially allows you to configure gestures and controls for your trackpad/mouse, Apple Remote, Leap Motion and keyboard.
BetterTouchTool’s interface can be overwhelming at first, but offers a lot of functionality once you get used to it
Using the app, I’ve been able to remap the keyboard’s F-keys to work just like on an Apple keyboard; F10, F11 & F13 keys for volume settings, and F7, F8 & F9 for playback controls.
You can re-assign keys as you wish; all you need to do is click on “+ Add New Shortcut”, input the “Keyboard Shortcut” you want (in my case, I chose F12 for increasing volume) and selecting the “Trigger Predefined Action” as “Volume Up” from the drop-down menu.
It’s so easy to set up for any action, and it gives you a much greater level of control over a non-Apple keyboard.
There’s a lot more functionality to explore in this app, but I thought this short article would be helpful for anybody else who wants to use a Windows keyboard with their Mac![box]
Download BetterTouchTool for free!
If you go ahead to use BetterTouchTool, be sure to let me know in the comments section below! I’d love to know how you find it.
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