How to use an Apple keyboard on a Windows computer

Article by The Final Step

Many of us love using Apple keyboards, even on a Windows machine. But some keys may not do what you expect. For example when pressing the @ key it often actually types “. Luckily Microsoft provides a tool to fix this, ‘Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator’.

Many of our clients prefer we do this for them, but there’s a few who like to give these things a go themselves, hence this guide for the brave. Using this tool is a relatively complex procedure so we’ve created a PDF to print off whilst you do it. Generally you don’t have to change too many keys, so it’s not as daunting as it initially looks. Once you’ve made the changes it makes a big difference.

You can download the tool here.

Step by Step instructions

Download the tool, once installed, open the program and you will be presented with a blank keyboard.

Click on File > Load Existing Keyboard…

Then select your current keyboard. Depending on your PC setup there may be a lot listed. Most of you will need to select United Kingdom or United Kingdom Extended. Select it and then click OK.

Now the keyboard layout you see will be the keyboard layout as currently mapped. Each key has multiple functions that you get by holding down Shift, Alt and Ctrl option keys. To see how they are mapped tick the boxes on the left hand side. We’ve highlighted them in yellow below.

To change how a key is mapped:

  • Click on the key to be changed
  • When asked type the character you want that key to type

For example, let’s change Shift+2 to display @ instead of “.

  • Click the tick box for shift
  • Next click on the key which now displays “
  • At the popup window type the new character you want Shift+2 to type

If you are unable to type the new character which may be the case, click ‘All…’ and you will be able to use the character code instead

You can find the character code by switching away from the Keyboard Layout application and opening the Character Map program. The easiest way to find this program is by searching in the start menu for Character Map.

  • Locate the character you want and click on it
  • The character code is displayed at the bottom of the window, e.g. below we see that the @ symbol is U+0040

Go back to your Keyboard Layout program and type the code you want into the appropriate box in Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator.

It’s also possible to disable a key by ticking the dead key box.

Once finished click OK.

Once you have remapped all the keys you wish to change. Click on the ‘…’ button on the bottom right to select where you want to save your new layout then click Project > Build DLL and Setup Package to create the new layout.

Once the build completes go to where you have saved your new layout and run the Setup file to install it on your PC. Click your way through the prompts and you are ready to use your Apple Keyboard on your Windows PC.

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