is there any way to change the use of command key to control, somewhat globally in the system? for example instead of cmd+S, to use ctrl+S, but everywhere in the system

  • 3
    If you're new to the Mac, I recommend against trying to make the Mac like Windows or Linux or whatever you were coming from. Make yourself do it the Mac way and pretty soon your brain will automatically switch between platforms with ease.
    – Spiff
    Feb 26, 2011 at 7:44
  • 10
    i'm actually using mac in vmware, i'm not a regular mac user and probably never will be
    – andrew
    Feb 26, 2011 at 7:49
  • VMware Fusion has an option to re-map keys before they're sent to the VM. Maybe your VMware software has a similar option. We don't generally provide support for Mac OS X on non-Apple hardware though, since this violates Apple's end user license.
    – Daniel Beck
    Feb 26, 2011 at 7:52
  • I'm a long-time Mac user, but I used this tip to configure my Windows keyboard to be more Mac-like. Thanks!
    – Gaurav
    Jan 8, 2013 at 14:57
  • Another downside... Command+Arrow buttons will swap based on application, not globally... Best solution is really to do a hardware swap.
    – Ray Foss
    Sep 18, 2018 at 21:18

3 Answers 3


You can switch the modifier key associations in System Preferences » Keyboard » Keyboard » Modifier Keys…:

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  • 20
    Perhaps you are right, but then again every other OS is using ctrl+c,v,s to copy/paste/save. It would be nice to have at least those work on OS X.
    – xsaero00
    May 10, 2012 at 16:17
  • 6
    On a proper Mac, I'd keep the default settings. But if you are using a Hackintosh (or just a windows style keyboard), the symbols on the keyboard are pretty confusing. It works wonders to usability to swap command and ctrl there.
    – jdm
    May 11, 2012 at 9:03
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    @DanielBeck you think this is "lengthy"? it took 30 seconds... Mar 24, 2014 at 6:40
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    It's even more of a pain for users switching between OS on multiple machines regularly. My dual-booted mac uses the exact same keyboard. It's a productivity killer to be pressing the wrong shortcuts all the time. Nov 10, 2017 at 2:59
  • 2
    @DanielBeck: I strongly doubt that the main motivation for switching the keys is to be able to use control instead of command. IMHO the reason for doing this is to 'reposition' the command key on the very bottom left, so as to be able to use if without looking at the keyboard. I will never understand this key placement from Apple's perspective, as I think many users never use the control key at all. I once had a Lenovo laptop where the Fn key was on the bottom left instead of the Ctrl, and it drove me nuts until I found a way to switch. No one would ever place Esc anywhere but top left.
    – Maxi Mus
    May 26, 2020 at 2:34

KeyRemap4MacBook can be used for more tweaks like this. Also see TextMate Blog » Key bindings for switchers for changing the behavior of page up, page down, home and end.

  • KeyRemap4MacBook is the best because it takes care of double switching.
    – Yada
    Oct 27, 2011 at 4:25

Karabiner A powerful and stable keyboard customizer for macOS.

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