Sunday, May 29, 2016

How to Use an Apple Keyboard on PC

I recently picked up a new desktop computer to replace an old laptop and while the computer itself it good, the keyboard it came with was very cheap and not easy to type on. Since I do a lot of typing, it is important to have a good keyboard that is easy to use. I tried out a few keyboards in store which were ok, but then I remembered how much I liked the Apple keyboard I had used at work in the past.

I knew that keyboards for Mac have different buttons so I was not sure if it would work. After doing some research, it turns out that Apple keyboards will work with a PC computers but some of the buttons may not function correctly. I decided to give it a try anyway. The new Apple USB keyboards sell for about $50 but I was able to get one in like new condition on ebay for about $30.

When the keyboard arrived, I plugged it into my computer with Windows 10. Surprisingly, it worked right away! All the basic keys like letters, numbers, and common keys worked without having to do anything. Even combinations like CTRL+C and CTRL+V for copy and paste worked which is something I use often so I was glad it still worked with the Apple keyboard.

Next I tested out some of the specialty keys. Many of the function keys work differently on a PC. For example, the media keys like volume up and volume down did not work. Also certain keys will perform different operations for example the Command key will work like the Windows key and the Clear key will work like the Number Lock key. For these specialty style keys, it takes a little trial and error to figure out what does what.

Ok, so how do we fix the specialty keys like the volume buttons? I did a little research and found a free program called SharpKeys. It lets you choose any key on the keyboard and program it to a specific letter or function. So for example, you can choose any of the extra keys that never get used and assign a task or another key to them. I used this to add the volume buttons, print screen, button and even one to launch the calculator.

SharpKeys is very easy to use and works remarkably well! The layout is simple and it is easy to remap the keys on the keyboard. It is so useful, I wonder how something like this is not a standard feature on Windows computers? It will even let you disable select keys, so if you find yourself accidentally hitting a certain key over and over, you can disable it so it won't happen again.

So overall it is very easy to use an Apple keyboard on a PC. In most cases, it will work with the basic keys as soon as you plug it in, and for the extra keys, they can be programmed very easily using the SharpKeys program. Hope this helps! Happy typing!

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