Boot Camp keyboard mappings for Windows – above and beyond

Apple hardware is great…especially in the computers  department (be it a MacBook, MackBookPro, Mac Mini, or simply Mac), however when it comes to the operating system, a lot of users tend to switch to the “dark side” and install Windows based OSes through Boot Camp (which some say it’s the best of both worlds).

However with this “union” a common paint point arises, and that is making use of the Windows hot-keys / keyboard shortcuts while having to deal with an Apple keyboard which sufficiently different from a conventional keyboard. See images below:

Luckily, Boot Camp drivers offer support for keyboard shortcuts mappings in Windows, so I’ve taken the time to gather the necessary resources for you to find that specific shortcut you’re looking for.

Let me just give an example, from my own personal experience: The PrintScreen functionality in Windows and it’s keyboard mapping on a MacBookPro.

On a conventional computer/keyboard running Windows, to do a print screen, you’d simply press the PrintScr key (on some keyboards it appears as PrtScn / PRTSC / PRTSCN), and you would have performed a screen capture. To achieve the same screen capture on a MacBookPro computer, running Windows in Boot Camp you’d have to press: fn + Shift + F11 (I know…who would have guessed it?)

There is a boat load of such examples, therefore I took the liberty to list all the supporting documents for all major Windows versions that have to do with keyboard shortcuts along with the supporting documents for all Apple type keyboard shortcuts mappings for Windows.

Microsoft Windows keyboard shortcuts depending on which version you’re using:

Windows 8, Windows RT keyboard shortcuts: win 8 keyboard shortcuts

Windows 7 keyboard shortcuts: win 7 keyboard shortcuts

Windows Vista keyboard shortcuts: win Vista keyboard shortcuts

Windows Xp keyboard shortcuts: win XP keyboard shortcuts

Apple keyboard mappings depending on which apple keyboard you’re using:

Boot Camp: Apple Wireless Keyboard keyboard mapping in Windows (Last Modified: May 20, 2012):  support document for Apple Wireless Keyboard

Boot Camp: Apple Pro external keyboard mapping in Windows (Last Modified: May 20, 2012): support for Apple Pro external keyboard

Boot Camp: MacBook Pro built-in keyboard mapping in Windows (Last Modified: May 20, 2012): support for MacBook Pro built-in keyboard

Boot Camp: Apple Keyboard (Ultra–thin USB) keyboard mapping in Windows (Last Modified: Jun 18, 2012): support for Apple Keyboard (Ultra–thin USB) keyboard

Third Party Software – to go “above and beyond”

So basically, by looking above at the conventional keyboard shortcuts specific to your Window OS, and then seeing how that translates using the keyboard on your Apple product, you get a basic mapping of how and which key combination to use in order to achieve a certain functionality specific to the Windows OS, while running it in Boot Camp on a MAC type Apple computer. And for the most part, given the amount of shortcuts that there are, pretty much everything you need is already there. However if you like to go ninja and have specific actions happen when you use various hotkeys, or if you’d like to modify existing hotkeys functionality and replace it with something else, then you can use an open source utility for Windows called AutoHotKey.

With AutoHotkey you can:

  • Automate almost anything by sending keystrokes and mouse clicks. You can write a mouse or keyboard macro by hand or use the macro recorder.
  • Create hotkeys for keyboard, joystick, and mouse. Virtually any key, button, or combination can become a hotkey.
  • Expand abbreviations as you type them. For example, typing “btw” can automatically produce “by the way”.
  • Create custom data-entry forms, user interfaces, and menu bars. See GUI for details.
  • Remap keys and buttons on your keyboard, joystick, and mouse.
  • Respond to signals from hand-held remote controls via the WinLIRC client script.
  • Run existing AutoIt v2 scripts and enhance them with new capabilities.
  • Convert any script into an EXE file that can be run on computers that don’t have AutoHotkey installed.

Getting started might be easier than you think. Check out the quick-start tutorial.

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