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I sometimes have to use Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection for Mac for remote access to a Windows 7 machine from an iMac running MacOS X 10.6.6 (Snow Leopard).

Making the mental switch to use the Control key CTRL in place of the Command key CMD while in the Remote Desktop window (e.g. CTRL-C to copy instead of CMD-C) is a pain and a source of constant errors.

I would like to be able to map the CMD key to output a CTRL key on my Mac, but only when accessing the Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection for Mac application. Remote Desktop Connection lets you map a number of other keys via its Preferences . . . but not the CMD key.

I.e. in any other Mac application, CMD would act like CMD. However, in Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection for Mac, CMD would act like CTRL.

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Eh, well darn. 10 minutes after submitting the question, I found the answer myself. A program called KeyRemap4MacBook does exactly what I needed for the Remote Desktop Connection client. – Greg R. Mar 28 '11 at 19:08
You can answer your own question and mark it as accepted in 2 days. – slhck Mar 28 '11 at 19:27

4 Answers 4

up vote 17 down vote accepted

Answering my own question. :-P

Shortly after posting, I googled across an application called Karabiner that does precisely what I needed it to do (in addition to a lot of other stuff).

Specifically, you can map the left and right Command keys to be Control keys in only Remote Desktop Connection and VMs.

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Omg, thank you so much. Here are my settings for Karabiner to enable Shift+Enter shortcut for newline in Messages app. – DanSkeel Jun 19 at 15:19

Install the application Karabiner

Once installed, open Karabiner:

  • From the 'Change Key' tab, expand the 'For Applications' section

  • 'Enable at only Remote Desktop Connection Client' sub-section

  • Check 'Change command key to control key in RDC'

Now when you use the new RDP app, you can continue to use Cmd instead of Ctrl.

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Like previous answers, I too, used Karabiner. Most Excellent App!

What I did differently tho, was to add a custom key mappings to mitigate the MAC command v. control buttons in the Terminal.

In my situation, I'm using a Logitech keyboard sooo no Apple-Command Key.

Essentially, what I did was Map the MAC Command key to the Control Key. My reasoning was that I wanted to preserve common Ctrl-Key sequences that MAC maps to Command-Key Sequences (i.e. Ctrl-F, for find). Also, I needed to preserve the true Control sequences, such as Ctrl-C for SIGINT. Basically we're multiplexing the Control key some.

After installing Karabiner, I was not able to get Ctrl-c to send the unix (SIGINT) initially. However, once I modified the private.xml, I got that working.


  1. Download the Karabiner .dmg file from:
  2. Double-click the .dmg file to install it.
  3. Once Karabiner is installed, bring up the key mappings.
    3.1 DO NOT map the either Command_L or Command_R to anything. Leave them unchecked.
    3.2 Map the Control_L & Control_R to the respective Command_L & Command_R.
  4. Next, edit the private.xml file. Helpful link:
    4.1 Add the following snippet:

         <name>MAC2Unix Hacks</name>
         <appendix>Map Command+C to Ctrl+C For Terminal</appendix>
         <autogen>__KeyToKey__ KeyCode::C, VK_COMMAND, KeyCode::C, VK_CONTROL</autogen>     
  5. Hit the reload button, and you should be good.
  6. Please note that in the Terminal window, if you want to copy/paste text, you will select it with the mouse or whatever. However, to now copy it to clipboard, you will need to use rt-click->copy from the mouse. Remember, we remapped Ctrl-C (which used to be "copy"), and is now SIGINT.
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Microsoft Remote Desktop beta adds support for CMD X/C/V as well as CTRL X/C/V to cut/copy/paste within a remote session (Note: Clipboard redirection will be available in a later update)

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protected by Community Sep 18 at 14:49

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