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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Consumer Hardware & Components > changing pc keyboard function keys to mac media keys

changing pc keyboard function keys to mac media keys
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Sep 13, 2013, 10:34 PM
I have a macbook pro. I have hooked an external monitor and keyboard up to it, so that I will just use the macbook pro to boot up but other than that I want to use the external keyboard from now on.

My external keyboard is a pc keyboard therefore the Function keys do not work the same as the macs function keys (which I believe are called Media keys). Some of the function keys on my mac I use a lot such as command F3 so I can see the desktop. Is there a way to remap the external pc keyboard so that I can maybe change the pc function keys to be the same as the mac function (or media) keys?

I guess the simple solution would be to go out and buy an external apple keyboard, but this would save me some money as I already have the pc keyboard.
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Sep 13, 2013, 11:34 PM
Well after I asked this question I partially fixed the problem.
I stumbled across Mission Control (in System preferences) and under Show Desktop I allocated F3.
On my external keyboard I can now click on F3 and it shows my desktop, weirdly though on my macbook pro keyboard I still have to click command and F3 to show the desktop, but I am cool with that (though I don't understand it!)

I'm gathering that with Hot Corners (also in Mission Control) I could have allocated a corner to show desktop but I can't be bothered to try that as I prefer the F3 function. (i actually hate when I move the mouse around and it switches to some other screens so hot corners probably would annoy me).

The only downfall though with Mission Control as it only gives you a few options, therefore I still can't allocate F11 and F12 on the pc keyboard to control volume as it does on the mac keyboard. However as I can use the volume control in the menu bar I will just have to get used to doing that rather than the Function buttons, I'm going to miss F10 though (mute) but will have to get used to just dropping the volume down quickly instead of muting I guess.

Anyway I am just adding this information in case anyone else has a similar issue but it certainly is only a partial fix so if anyone has a better idea how to remap the pc keyboard function keys would love to hear it. BTW I have googled and googled with no luck.
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Sep 15, 2013, 09:38 AM
By default, the Mac F keys behave like shortcut keys until you push the Fn key, then they behave like F-keys. In System Preferences -> Keyboard, you can flip this behavior. On the second tab, you can set your own shortcuts for a lot of things, including Exposé.

For future reference, the media keys (volume up/down, play/pause etc) on any PC keyboard work fine on a Mac. Alternatively, some PC keyboards (some of Logitech's for instance) work just like Apple's so you can have the shortcut keys and then switch to regular F keys by holding Fn. Personally I prefer to have external speakers with a physical volume control - Audyssey's LES Media Speakers are my current favorite.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
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Sep 22, 2013, 07:09 AM
Hi P, thanks for that info, when trying to fix this problem I had stumbled across the info about using the fn keys to make them PC F keys, however the info you mentioned about PC media keys (volume etc) on a PC keyboard working fine with a mac is something I wasn't aware of, unfortunately the PC keyboard I have is very basic and doesn't have any fancy keys (fancy being things like volume!) but it's good to know in case I decide to get another keyboard. I had a look at those speakers you suggested on amazon and they got some pretty good reviews too.

All this info is handy too for anyone else browsing this thread.
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