I've been changing shortcuts ever since I got my new macbook so that I can retain my muscle memory from window PC. I've managed to customize lots of shortcuts for chrome via system preference, as long as those shortcuts have a corresponding menu title in chrome. However, to open a new tab in background, the shortcut in PC is ctrl + click, while this in mac is command + click. How to change this?

  • 2
    Honestly, I think you'd be better off in the long run learning the new paradigm. I move from Mac to Win day in, day out & you just get used to it after a while.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Dec 1, 2015 at 17:41
  • I'm with @Tetsujin and Darth below. A few years ago at my previous job Macs really took off and everyone was switching, and in my observation, the biggest long-term predictor of happiness with that decision was embracing Mac OS X, learning the different shortcuts, learning what preference panes and applications did what, etc.
    – blm
    Commented Dec 1, 2015 at 18:19
  • AMEN. You'll be more productive if you learn to know what the distinctions are rather than spend time homogenizing your Mac to match Windows. Believe me, it's more ingrained than you can imagine. But if you're committed to muscle memory, install Windows in a VM on your Mac and you can "practice" your Windows key sequences all day long.
    – SaxDaddy
    Commented Dec 2, 2015 at 7:53

3 Answers 3


Contrary to others here, I do think there's a lot of value of standardizing your shortcuts across operating systems. It requires some effort, but once done it keeps you in the flow and focused on the work you're doing, without being self-conscious all the time of which operating system you're using. This is particularly true if you use a KVM, and it changing frequently and seamlessly between OSes but with the same mouse/keyboard.

By far the easiest solution I've found is to use BetterTouchTool. It's a commercial product, but it's only $21 for a lifetime license, it has a generous 45 days free trial, and it's incredibly robust and full-featured. It's a must-have if you'd like to customize and automate your Mac.

Here's the steps to configure ctrl+click to open a link in new background tab in Mac OS:

  1. On BetterTouchTool configuration, click the bottom-left + button, Select App from Running Apps, select Chrome
  2. On top select Normal Mouse (or press ⌘-6)
  3. Click on the + button at the bottom, to create a new trigger action
  4. Under Please select a trigger, just click with your left button, and select the ^Ctrl checkbox
  5. Under Assigned action column, select Click here & select action
  6. Under Action, select Mouse Click Actions, and CMD(⌘)+Click

Your configuration should look like this:

BetterTouchTool ctrl-click to cmd-click

Now you can either use Ctrl-click or Alt-click to open links in a background tab.


You may use a soft like Karabiner (previously known as KeyRemap4MacBook) to remap keys as you want.

If wanted behavior is not available in default list, you may add new ones with the help of documentation


I don't think you can do this easily just for Chrome. Your best bet to actually change the keys will be to globally swap your command and control keys in System Preferences:

How to Switch the Command and Control Keys

I agree with @Tetsujin 's comment that it's easier just to get used to the paradigm shift in the long run. The Apple keyboard is laid out slightly differently, and it feels weird (to me) trying to use Windows key combinations on it.

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