So I bought a new keyboard for my Mac Pro, and it is the Microsoft Sidewinder X4. This keyboard is good for me because of it's LED backlighting and lots of features. However, upon installation, it seems that most of the nice features are dead on OSX.

In particular, the keyboard has macro keys that can be set using a "record macro" button. It also has a calculator key. The software that comes with the keyboard is the generic Microsoft IntelliType for Windows/OSX, and I installed it. However, these special keys are still dead.

Is there anyway to still utilize these keys? Even if I just had to remap the macro keys by hand to custom key-strokes, that would be fine, but I can't find a way. I tried using KeyRemap4MacBook, but it only allows remapping of OSX keys (not calculator, extra macro keys, or any keys that aren't found on an apple keyboard). Even the calculator key doesn't do anything, and I would even be happy to remap it to 'expose' or something, anything except a dead key!

  • Are the keys shown in EventViewer.app? If they are, try using something like KeyCode::RawValue::0x3d.
    – Lri
    Aug 29, 2013 at 13:33
  • Can you please tell me how to access EventViewer.app? I'll give it a try and report back. However, I am assuming they are not registered by EventView.app, otherwise the current remapping solutions, such as KeyRemap4Macbook, would be able to adjust these key's function. Since the keyboard must be sending a signal for the pressed key through the USB data connection, I was wondering if there were any ways to detect such non-Apple keyboard presses.
    – jake9115
    Aug 29, 2013 at 16:52
  • I couldn't find any mac version of Windows Event Viewer. But, I did find the "Show Keyboard Viewer" for mac. This displays the full apple keyboard. As far as I can tell, if a key isn't found on this keyboard, there is no way to get OSX to recognize if it was pressed. That is the heart of my problem!
    – jake9115
    Aug 29, 2013 at 23:11
  • 1
    EventViewer is included with KeyRemap4MacBook (in /Applications/KeyRemap4MacBook.app/Contents/Applications/EventViewer.app), but it should also be shown by Spotlight.
    – Lri
    Aug 30, 2013 at 6:00
  • My first thoughts (until I read properly) was to use AutoHotKey but it's only for mapping the other way round. Aug 30, 2013 at 7:43

4 Answers 4


You might have a look at Ukelele and KeyLayoutMaker, to see if they can help map these non-Mac keys.

BetterTouchTool customizes non-Apple keyboards, trackpad, Magic mouse and Apple remotes.

For USB keyboards, another tool is USB Overdrive, described as :

The USB Overdrive includes support for media buttons on most USB keyboards and talks to many unusual input devices.

For wireless keyboards, the Logitech Control Center might work even for non-Logitech keyboards. See this answer for details. It might be worthwhile trying even for your keyboard.

You might also find useful the information in Using Third Party Keyboards and Mice with Your Mac.



  1. In System Preferences -> Keyboard -> Modifier Keys you can swap these two keys. These modifications should have an effect on the current keyboard.
  2. Double Command is a PrefPane that offers many options for using Windows-keyboards, but it has not been updated for a while.
  3. Karabiner (previously known as KeyRemap4MacBook) supports many kinds of key remaps for different Macbook models, but I'm unsure whether it fits your use case.
  • 1
    Thanks for your suggestions! Unfortunately, I have already tried Double Command and KeyRemap4Macbook, and these solutions only provide remapping for keys that are already found on Apple keyboards! I have several keyboards made for Windows systems that have extra keys, like for opening a mail program, web browser, etc., and I want to map these keys to a command instead of leaving them 'dead' and useless on my keyboard.
    – jake9115
    Aug 29, 2013 at 16:50

I had the same problem with a Microsft keyboard with a Mac. In particular the caluclator key simply became a deadkey. KeyRemap4Macbook did not work but USB Overdrive worked and I can now use the calculator key to launch the calculator.

  • 1
    I got the calculator button to launch with USB Overdrive. FYI, this software is shareware and require you to buy a license or read more here: usboverdrive.com/index.php/why-buy
    – A71
    Jul 21, 2020 at 10:24

Go to System preferences, then Keyboard. Click on Keyboard modifiers. Change command key to no action and Ctrl key to command key. Problem solved.

  • Doesn't answer the question at all.
    – mix3d
    Apr 12, 2016 at 14:32

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