I really love my Mac, but I hate how it destroys my muscle memory from the Windows keyboard I use at work. I want to remap the modifier keys to be as "Windows-keyboard-like" as possible.

I was wondering if it was possible to change the keys that open the command-tab box, and also remap the control-tab key combo.

Since I switched Control and Command keys, command-tab box opens with control-tab. Cycling through tabs is now done with command-tab. Is it possible to cycle through tabs with control-tab and open the command-tab box with option-tab?


Use KeyRemap4MacBook:


⌥⇥ is already used for inserting tabs in text fields, entering outline mode in TextEdit, and focusing elements in Safari.

Adding this to private.xml would change ⌘⇥ to ⌃⇥ and ⇧⌘⇥ to ⌃⇧⇥:

<autogen>__KeyToKey__ KeyCode::TAB, VK_COMMAND | ModifierFlag::NONE, KeyCode::TAB, ModifierFlag::CONTROL_L</autogen>
<autogen>__KeyToKey__ KeyCode::TAB, VK_SHIFT | VK_COMMAND | ModifierFlag::NONE, KeyCode::TAB, ModifierFlag::CONTROL_L, ModifierFlag::SHIFT_L</autogen>

You can change the shortcuts of menu bar items from System Preferences:


When I first got a Mac, I tried to do this, too. It doesn't work, because there isn't a one-to-one correspondence; that is, the Option key doesn't always correspond to the Alt key.

When I was in college, we still used mechanical typewriters. I had two typewriters, one for each language I used. After a while, I had no difficulty switching between the two even though the layout was different.

The best thing to do is just get used to the Mac. You'll develop bilingual muscle memory.

  • 4
    I've been working on MAC for 7 months now (9 hours a day). After work I'm using Linux and I still can't get my muscle memory to switch so easily. How long has it took for you to be comfortable with both keyboard layouts? – Sel Nov 27 '15 at 9:48
  • I've worked on both Macs and Windows boxes a lot, and I have to say that the Mac keystrokes are simply much more ergonomic and easy to type with the ⌘ character than on Windows with ⌃. It's really worth spending a little time to adapt to the Mac. Control is positioned for your pinky, while Command is positioned for your thumb, which is stronger and faster and doesn't prevent you from using the normal keys with your pinky. It's really a _vastly_ superior design. – iconoclast Apr 26 '18 at 18:26
  • @iconoclast I'm having real trouble adapting. Do you put your thumb under your index finger when typing e.g. Ctrl+C? – Mohan Aug 25 '18 at 20:55
  • 1
    @Mohan: I assume you meant command-C? (If not, then I don't understand the question.) If you start with the 4 fingers of your left hand on the home keys A - F and your thumb on space, you move your index finger down from F to C, and your thumb over from space to . If that feels awkward, you can use the on the right side of the keyboard with your right thumb instead. (I think using both hands is probably better, but the one-handed approach is such an ingrained habit for me I don't even bother trying to do it the "right" way.) – iconoclast Aug 26 '18 at 19:42

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.