problems with non-apple keyboard

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by DrNo, Aug 11, 2009.

  1. DrNo macrumors newbie

    Aug 10, 2009
    Hi all,
    this has probably been discussed, but I couldn't quite find what I need.
    I just bought an iMac after having been a happy MacBook user.

    The iMac keyboard has the following inconveniences for me:
    a) I miss the trackpad and I hate the mouse b) for the tilde character ~
    I have to do Alt+n. Shift+~ produces the +/- character.
    I use ~ a lot for Unix command-line style stuff (strangely
    enough on my MacBook Shift+~ works fine).

    So I hooked up my nice IBM SK-8835 keyboard with trackpad and track stick (exact copy of a Thinkpad keyboard + numerical key).

    The iMac didn't recognize the IBM keyboard so at the prompt I choose standard US keyboard. Now I can type with IBM and the trackpad and track stick work perfectly. However of course it lacks the Apple key. Questions:

    1. Can I remap the keyboard and use Alt instead of the Apple Key? How?

    2. I'd like to keep both keyboards hooked up and I don't want to remap
    the MAC keyboard, only the IBM one. How do I do that?

    3. can I remap the Mac keyboard so that Shift+~ produces tilde ?

    Thanks for the help.
  2. BlueRevolution macrumors 603


    Jul 26, 2004
    Montreal, QC
     -> System Preferences -> Keyboard & Mouse -> Keyboard -> Modifier Keys.

    I don't think you can, not without a third-party app anyway.

    Would it be unhelpful to say that it should already? :confused: Is the ~ key to the left of the number 1 in keyboard viewer?
  3. DrNo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 10, 2009
    Thanks. When I go there it allows me to chose between the Mac keyboard and the IBM (it says IBM USB Ultranav so it did somehow recognize it). However it only gives me the option to remap Caps lock, Control, Option, and Command. But I don't have Option and Command in the first place, so what do I do?

    See above. I didn't try but it would seem one can?

    Yes that's the key. With the IBM it works, with the Mac I get this: ±
    The Mac keyboard is actually a Spanish keyboard, but this should not matter because I'm using US layout (all the other keys work as in the US layout, I'm only have problem with the tilde). Thanks again.
  4. BlueRevolution macrumors 603


    Jul 26, 2004
    Montreal, QC
    You mean you don't have keys with "option" and "command" written on them. There's a difference.

    If you open keyboard viewer, you can press the function keys and see what each key registers as. You can then remap them as desired.

    (If you don't have keyboard viewer enabled, you can do so under  -> System Preferences -> International -> Input Menu.)

    Interesting. Good to know for future reference.

    It shouldn't matter, but apparently it does.

    You could create a custom keyboard layout with that key remapped to what it should be. There are some good resources for that online.
  5. DrNo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 10, 2009
    Thanks for educating this newbie. I partially succeded.
    The IBM keyboard has, from left to right: Fn, Ctrl, Alt
    I succeded in mapping Alt -> Apple Key and Ctrl -> Ctrl.
    However the Fn doesn't come alive on the Keyboard viewer. I tried it in combination with other keys and the only effect I got was that Fn+F4 brings out a shutdown dialog box.
    So I don't have an option key now since I wouldn't know what else to map to it. Actually the logical mapping would be
    Fn->Ctrl and Ctrl->Option key to keep the Apple layout.

    Keyboard viewer shows ± when I use the Apple keyboard and ~ when I use the IBM. I will try to look into this. It may be a defective keyboard, I'm waiting for a new one in a months time. My priority was to get the IBM to work, now everything is fine except I don't have the option key.
    Thanks again.
  6. BlueRevolution macrumors 603


    Jul 26, 2004
    Montreal, QC
    Sounds like the function key is hardware-mapped to trigger extra functions, so you won't be able to remap it in OS X. It's easy with most Windows keyboards because they have control, alt, shift, and the Windows key.

    That doesn't mean the keyboard is defective, just that the mapping is wrong. Try using this site to develop a custom layout.

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