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DanielCarmingham-2266 avatar image
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DanielCarmingham-2266 asked sarthakagarwal-3029 published

Remote Desktop Connection for MacOS - How to Remap Cmd/Opt keys

Is there any way to remap keys on the MacOS version of Remote Desktop?

The mapping of the Command and Option keys to the Windows keyboard layout is backwards to every US keyboard layout I can find. (For example, on Apple and Microsoft's own websites at the keyboards they make and sell)

On a Mac keyboard the keys to the left of the spacebar, in order from left-to-right are:
1. Control
2. Option
3. Command

On Windows keyboards/laptops, they are:
1. Ctrl
2. Win
3. Alt

So it would make sense to map in that order, from left to right, wouldn't it?
1. Control -> Ctrl
2. Option -> Win
3. Command -> Alt

Instead, what we have is that the first makes sense, but for some reason these last two are swapped:
1. Control -> Ctrl
2. Option -> Alt
3. Command -> Win

This means that if you, like me, switch between Mac and Windows and RDC from Mac to Windows, the muscle memory is all wrong and you will constantly hit the wrong keys.

This is incredibly frustrating. Is there any way at all to reverse these two keys? I don't need full mapping, just these two keys need to be reversed.

Thank you,
Daniel

remote-desktop-client
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JennyYan-MSFT avatar image
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JennyYan-MSFT answered

Hi,
Mac keyboard layouts differ from the Windows keyboard layouts. Some of these are Mac specific layouts or custom layouts for which an exact match may not be available on the version of Windows you are remoting into.

Following are examples for Mac keyboard layouts differ from the Windows keyboard layouts

  • The Command key on the Mac keyboard equals the Windows key.

  • To perform actions that use the Command button on the Mac, you will need to use the control button in Windows (for example Copy = Ctrl+C).

  • The function keys can be activated in the session by pressing additionally the FN key (for example, FN+F1).

  • The Alt key to the right of the space bar on the Mac keyboard equals the Alt Gr/right Alt key in Windows.

However per further searching, some users shared their experience to map the keyboard like usage of “third party app Karabiner” to customize the keyboard layout.
https://karabiner-elements.pqrs.org/

Reference links:
How would I remap Mac CMD to CTRL keys in Remote Desktop Connection for Mac application?
https://superuser.com/questions/263647/how-would-i-remap-mac-cmd-to-ctrl-keys-in-remote-desktop-connection-for-mac-appl
Please note: Information posted in the given link is hosted by a third party. Microsoft does not guarantee the accuracy and effectiveness of information.
 


Hope this helps and please help to accept as Answer if the response is useful.

Thanks,
Jenny





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DanielCarmingham-2266 avatar image
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DanielCarmingham-2266 answered DanielCarmingham-2266 edited

Right, I understand there are variations in layouts, which is a different topic, but also lends support to the need for the ability to customize the keyboard layout.

But I'm not talking about these outlier cases of custom/unusual/outdated keyboard layouts. I'm talking about bone stock, straight out of the box -- Windows 10, current/recent versions, MacOS, current/recent versions and the current/recent versions of the keyboards available from Microsoft and Apple themselves. The physical placement of these two keys. For example, the keyboards on the current version of the Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 versus the 2020 MacBook Air.

If I take my hands from a Windows laptop to a MacOS laptop that is remoted into the Windows laptop, the physical placement of the keys is very similar, but the function is reversed.

I will look into the 3rd party solution you mentioned and I appreciate you doing the research. It would be really nice if this was something we could do in the RDC software itself.

Thank you for taking the time research this and reply.

Regards,
Daniel

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JennyYan-MSFT avatar image
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JennyYan-MSFT answered

Hi Daniel,

If you would like to raise feature change or improvement of current keyboard settings with RDC for mac, it is suggested to raise your request into the user voice forum, where the product team will regularly visit.

Remote Desktop Client for Mac
https://remotedesktop.uservoice.com/forums/287834-remote-desktop-client-for-mac/filters/new

Please understand that the Q&A forum will be used to discuss and troubleshoot remote connection or deployment issues.

Kindly verify if the third party app will help to modify the keyboard settings as expected and raise your feature request through above user voice forum.



Hope this helps and please help to accept as Answer if the response is useful.

Thanks,
Jenny


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DanielCarmingham-2266 avatar image
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DanielCarmingham-2266 answered JennyYan-MSFT commented

Hi @JennyYan-MSFT,

I just wanted to circle back on this and let you know how much I appreciate you pointing me in the direction of the Karabiner tool!

I figured out how to use it and now the key positions going from hands-on-Windows laptop to the Mac remote-connected-to-Windows laptop are identical.

It has a bit of a learning curve but there is a library of configurations that people have made and I was able to borrow some ideas, make some changes and get it to do what I wanted. Judging from the number of customizations in the library, and the fact that none of them were what I was looking for, I guess what I wanted isn't that common... There are several for similar situations but they included things like remapping copy/paste shortcuts and other things that I don't want.


Anyway, thank you again for your help!

Regards,
Daniel

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Hi Daniel,

Glad to know the tool Karabiner helps and it is my pleasure to be of help.

Please feel free to reach us if any questions or assistance needed regarding of RDS connection or deployment.

BestRegards,
Jenny

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sarthakagarwal-3029 avatar image
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sarthakagarwal-3029 answered sarthakagarwal-3029 published

Hi Daniel,

I am facing a similar problem, can you please share your karabiner config to achieve switching the last 2 keys?

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