If you’ve switched from Mac to Windows, you must struggle to find your way around the features different between the two operating systems.
In addition to the software, hardware, and user interface features, you must get used to the different keyboard layouts.
You may not find some Mac keyboard keys on a standard Windows keyboard.
One of these keys is the powerful and versatile Command key, creating a wide array of shortcuts to make your job easier.
You may be wondering if a Windows keyboard has a Command key and where you can find it.
Where Is The Command Button On A Keyboard?
A Command key is only found on a Mac keyboard, located on either side of the spacebar.
It can perform a wide range of functions depending on the application you use it in.
Although you can’t find the same key labeled Command on a Windows keyboard, you can find a similar key that performs the same tasks.
The Control (Ctrl) key on a Windows keyboard has similar functions as the Mac Command key.
If you can’t get a specific function with the Ctrl key, you can get it with other modifier keys.
What Does The Command Key Do?
The Command key, also known as the clover key, the Apple key, the meta key, the pretzel key, and the open-Apple key, is a modifier key on standard Apple keyboards.
The key was originally labeled with the Apple symbol, but Steve Jobs changed it after deciding the logo was appearing on too many parts of Apple devices.
The new key is labeled “Command” with a quadruple loop symbol.
The Command key is next to the Space key on Apple keyboards, and you can have one or two Command keys depending on the keyboard type.
The extended Macintosh keyboard features two command keys, one on either side of the Space key.
It works as a modifier key that performs different tasks when combined with different keys.
The purpose of the key is to make the user’s job easier by creating shortcut keys and performing different tasks depending on the application.
Since it’s a modifier key, it doesn’t serve any tasks when pressed alone.
Below are some of the popular functions of the Command key:
- Command + A: Select all.
- Command + B: Makes the selected text bold.
- Command + C: Copies the selected text.
- Command + D: Used in a browser, this combination will add the web page to bookmarks.
- Command + E: Ejects a disk.
- Command + F: Opens the Apple’s Find tool.
These are only a few of these command combinations.
You can combine the Command key with most letter and number keys on the keyboard and perform different tasks through the shortcut.
The Command Key On A Windows Keyboard
The command key is only found on Apple keyboards, so you won’t find it on a standard Windows keyboard.
However, it doesn’t mean you can’t use the same shortcuts using a Windows keyboard.
You can have most of the shortcuts that Apple’s Command key provides through the Control key on a Windows keyboard.
Most standard Windows keyboards have two Control (Ctrl) keys, one on either side of the Spacebar, with similar functions to the Command key.
For example, you can copy a select text or file using the combination of Ctrl + C and paste it through Ctrl + V.
To cut a piece of text or a file, you can use Ctrl + X, and the Ctrl + P will print your selected document.
Like the Apple Command key, the Ctrl key on a Windows keyboard doesn’t do anything when pressed alone.
Other Modifier Keys
In addition to the Ctrl key, there are other combinations of keys that you can use to perform the tasks not doable by the Ctrl key.
One of these keys is the Windows key, one of the oldest combinational keys, introduced in 1994 with the Microsoft Natural Keyboard.
It’s the key with a Windows logo, located next to the Ctrl key on most keyboards.
In other keyboards, you may find it next to the Alt or Fn keys, but it’s almost always in the lowest row of the keyboard near the Spacebar.
It’s easy to find because of the Windows logo, which is different from other labels.
Unlike Apple’s Command key and the Windows Ctrl key, the Windows key isn’t purely a modifier.
Pressing the Windows key will open the Start menu, and hitting it the second time will close the menu.
In addition, the shortcuts defined for each combination may be different across Windows versions.
For example, pressing the Windows key and C will bring the Charms menu in Windows 8, but this command doesn’t exist in Windows 10.
Here are some other tasks it performs used with other keys in Windows 10:
- Win + A: Opens Action Center.
- Win + C: Opens Cortana.
- Win + D: Hides/Shows Desktop.
- Win + E: Opens File Explorer.
- Win + F: Opens the Search box.
- Win + G: Opens the Game bar.
- Win + M: Minimizes all open windows.
- Win + R: Opens the Run box.
- Win + Period: Opens the Emoji panel.
- Win + Tab: Shows the Task View.
- Win + the Plus sign: Opens the magnifier.
The Windows key combinations aren’t limited to these shortcuts mentioned above.
If you’re interested in using shortcuts instead of mouse movements, you can explore them by trying different combinations.
The Mac Keyboard Control Key
Both Windows and Macintosh keyboards have Control keys, but they have different functions.
However, their functions can confuse users who switch between the two keyboards.
That’s even more confusing when you see that the Ctrl key on a Windows keyboard replaces the Command key on a Macintosh keyboard.
As a result, the Control keys on the two keyboards have different functions.
Some Macintosh mice don’t have a right-click option, so users have to use keyboard shortcuts.
That’s one of the main jobs of the Control key on a Macintosh keyboard.
If you’re using the trackpad in your MacBook or your mouse doesn’t have a right-click button, you can use the Ctrl key as the Right-click option.
The Mac Keyboard Alt Key
Another difference between the Mac and Windows keyboards is that both have an Alt key.
However, these keys have different functions with each operating system.
The first difference is that the Alt key in Mac keyboards is also labeled as Option.
To remove the confusion, some Mac keyboards include a small Alt label under the Option label to show you they’re the same.
In addition, the European keyboards generally have the Alt key, while those used in North America have the Option key.
The Alt key in Windows is used to perform the same jobs as the Command key on Mac but through different combinations.
For example, you can close a window on a Mac through Command + W, while it’s Alt + F4 in Windows.
Ctrl + Alt + Del will log out of a Windows account while it’s Shift + Command + Q on Mac.
On the other hand, the Option key on the Mac performs a wide range of different tasks.
For example, you can minimize all open windows on your desktop by pressing the Option key while clicking the minimize button on the top right corner.
Pressing the Alt key + R in a document will give you the ® symbol.
Another key found in Windows and Mac keyboards is the Fn key.
Short for Function, the Fn key differs from the 12 function keys (f1–f12) in the top row of the keyboard.
These 12 keys perform a combination of different tasks related to software, hardware, and OS features.
For example, you can use them to increase or decrease the speaker’s volume, turn the Wi-Fi on and off, enable or disable Bluetooth, and adjust the screen brightness, among others.
The Fn key can help you get even more features out of these keys.
If the key has another function printed on it, usually with a different color, you can access it by pressing the Fn key and the intended function key simultaneously.
These functions are similar on both Mac and Windows keyboards.
The only difference is that the default functions in Windows keyboards are secondary in Mac keyboards and vice versa.
As a result, you need to press the Fn key to get some functions on a Mac but not on a Windows PC to get the same functions.
Another difference between these function keys in Mac and Windows is that you can remap and customize them on the Mac.
This way, you can change how a function key works and set its primary and secondary functions based on your preferences.
If your keyboard doesn’t have a dedicated number pad, you can turn your letter keys into a number pad using the Fn and Fn Lock keys.
If your keyboard has this capability, it has numbers printed on the keys that can turn into a number pad.
You can disable the feature by pressing the same keys together (Fn and Fn lock).
Can You Connect An Apple Keyboard To A Windows PC?
People may need to switch between different keyboards for different reasons.
For example, you may have a Windows operating system installed on your Mac computer and feel more comfortable using a Windows keyboard.
Maybe you have a Windows keyboard lying around and want to connect it to your Mac.
You may wonder if switching the keyboards will present compatibility issues.
The good news is that you can use different keyboards with different operating systems and computers without major issues.
You can simply connect your new keyboard through the USB port or wirelessly through Bluetooth.
It doesn’t need specific processes to set up, as you can use it immediately after hooking it up.
You may need to set up the keyboard through simple on-screen instructions to help the computer recognize the new device.
The only catch is that when you connect your keyboard to the Mac, it will map all the keyboard actions and shortcuts to the new operating system.
The operating system will map the Command key functions to other keys, especially the Control key.
However, as mentioned, not all the Command key actions will be accessible through the Control key.
If you’re used to a Macintosh keyboard, you’ll be confused with the modifier keys and may end up pressing the wrong keys.
However, you can overcome this issue by remapping the keys on your keyboard.
Every operating system has software that determines what each key can do in addition to its main functions (usually combined with modifier keys).
You can remap your Windows keyboard to make it closer to a Macintosh keyboard.
The following steps will turn the Windows key into the Option key and the Alt key into the Command key.
To remap the keys on a Mac computer, go to the Apple menu > System Preferences > Keyboard.
Click on the Keyboard tab and select Modifier keys, a button in the right corner of the window.
Expand the dropdown menu next to Option Key and set it as “Command.”
Now that you’ve changed the Option key’s function, you should ensure two keys don’t have the same function.
Therefore, you should change the function of the Command key, too.
Do the same for the Command Key and set it as Option.
Click Ok to save changes and test the new layout of your keyboard.
This layout is closest to the Mac keyboard layout, making your job easier if you’re a touch typer.
You can choose what modifier keys do through the same steps and match them to your preferences and habits.
Remapping A Mac Keyboard On A Windows PC
Using a Macintosh keyboard with a windows PC is also possible using the same steps described above.
You can also remap the keys on a Macintosh keyboard to match your habits if you’re a Windows user.
However, unlike Mac, Windows doesn’t have a native feature to let you reassign functions to keys.
You’ll need a specific app designed by Microsoft: the Microsoft Mouse and Keyboard Center.
This app allows you to customize your keyboard and mouse to match your habits.
You can download the app here and get the correct edition for your Windows version.
After downloading the app, you can access it via the Start menu.
Connect the Mac keyboard to your Windows PC and let the app recognize it.
The app offers a host of features to customize your keyboard.
All you need to do is select the key and assign a new function to it depending on the best feature that matches your Mac habits.
There’s a caveat in using this app, though.
It mostly supports the keyboards and mice made by Microsoft.
Therefore, the app may not recognize your Mac keyboard.
Still, you can use other apps that do the same jobs.
One of the best and easiest apps to use is the SharpKeys.
It doesn’t create compatibility issues because it directly writes the new mapping information onto the Windows registry, and Windows doesn’t need other software to help it interpret the keystrokes.
After downloading the app, go to the Start menu and open it.
Click the Add button at the bottom of the window and find your target key in the Map this key column.
Find your intended function in the To this key column and select it.
Click Ok to make the changes.
If you can’t find your intended key from the list, use the Type Key feature to hit the intended key on the keyboard.
After selecting all the new keys and functions, click Write to Registry.
After restarting your computer, you can enjoy your new keyboard functions.