What Is the Function of the Option Key on a Windows Keyboard?
You’re probably asking why there’s no option key if you’ve linked your Windows keyboard to an Apple machine. Although Mac and Windows keyboards are designed differently, they may accomplish the same operations. While the keys have varied names and placements, they all function the same way.
This article will go through the option key on Windows keyboards as well as how to run commands on your Mac. We’ll also go through how to change the key order to match the default Mac configuration.
What Is the Option Key on a Windows Keyboard
Users of Apple computers may input special characters by hitting the option key. It is also used in conjunction with other keys to perform various instructions and activate various software functions.
There are two possibilities for why your keyboard lacks the option key:
- The option key has been removed from new Mac keyboards. Instead, they feature a “Alt” key that functions similarly and allows users to operate their gadgets more effectively.
- Perhaps you can’t see the option keys because you have a Windows keyboard connected to your Mac. Although there is no defined option key on this piece of hardware, it works well with Mac products, so you will have no problem utilizing your device.
Typically, computer equipment from various manufacturers do not work well together. However, Windows keyboards are simple to use and designed to accommodate Mac machines well. They’re also mass-produced. When looking for a Mac keyboard at a retailer, you may discover that most models are out of stock. That is typically not a problem with Windows models.
Because Windows keyboards have a consistent layout, you won’t have to remember where various keys and functionalities are located. You can probably type without glancing at the keys if you’ve been using the same keyboard for a year. Reusing the old model will give your new device a feeling of familiarity while saving you money on a new Mac keyboard.
This is why consumers who have migrated from a Windows PC to a Mac device often choose to connect the Windows keyboard to the Mac. Because most Windows keyboards are compatible with Mac devices, you may connect them through USB or Bluetooth.
Using a Windows keyboard will have no effect on your Mac experience. You may continue to use the device and run commands that need the option key. On Windows keyboards, the “Alt” key functions as an option key, and tapping it will initiate the software activities normally performed by the option key. The “Alt” key is often seen adjacent to the Space bar.
Using the Option Key on a Windows Keyboard
You can conduct an option-click as well as many keyboard shortcuts if you know how to activate the option command using the Windows “Alt” key.
Performing an Option Click
Tap the “Alt” key to do an option-click. When you simultaneously hold the “Alt” key and push the mouse, the Apple computer will recognize this.
Performing a Keyboard Shortcut
Click the “Alt” button to perform a keyboard shortcut that requires an option key. Your Mac will recognize it as an option-click and respond appropriately.
Performing a Keyboard Shortcut with Apple Key
Some Mac keyboard shortcuts need both the “Apple” and choice keys to be pressed. Hold down the “Windows” and “Alt” keys in such scenario. When using a Mac with a Windows keyboard, the “Windows” key is interpreted as a “Apple” key.
App Menu Items and the Option Key
The option key is used differently by different Mac apps. You may use it to expose hidden menu items. Here’s how it works with a few well-known apps:
In the Safari browser, using the “Alt” key changes the “Close Windows” option to “Close All Windows.” Similarly, if you hold down the “Alt” key while tapping a window’s “x” symbol, all open windows will be closed. This action is incorporated into all Apple computers and is applicable to the majority of Mac apps.
When using Dock, using the “Alt” key changes the “Quit” and “Hide” menu choices to “Force Quit” and “Hide Others.”
The “Alt” key changes the menu option “Create Playlist” to “Create Smart Playlist.” Holding the option key and touching the “+” symbol at the top of the screen will also expand the iTunes window.
In the iPhoto program, the option key will reset your toggle setting. If your default rotation orientation is “right,” using the option key will change it to “left.” When you hold down the “Alt” key, all preference settings you may change on a Mac will be reversed.
Mouse Actions with the Option Key
Clicking the “Alt” button and then left-clicking your mouse will result in unique Mac behavior. When you option-click an app that you’re not presently using, the computer hides the application you’re in. It will instead send you to the option-clicked program.
Furthermore, dragging a file and hitting the option key will produce a duplicate of the file rather than moving it to a new place.
Downloading with the Option Key
If you choose SeaMonkey or Safari as your web browser, the action key enables you to download files to your Mac. When you choose “Return” in the web address box, hitting the key will download the file associated with that URL.
When you hold down the “Alt” key and click on a hyperlink, the link target is downloaded.
Because downloading files frequently entails selecting numerous alternatives with your mouse, the option-click approach saves time when saving an internet file.
How to Remap a Windows Keyboard on a Mac
Users with Mac keyboards may have difficulty with Windows models. They have all of the essential keys, but the sequence is different. Even if you recall their names, muscle memory will fool you and you will continue to press the erroneous buttons. Apple, on the other hand, allows customers to alter Windows keyboards to fit the Mac button layout. The remapping capability on Mac devices allows you to modify the sequence of the keys.
Here’s how it works:
- Connect your Mac to the Windows keyboard.
The Windows keys will now function similarly to their Mac equivalents. The “Alt” key functions as a Mac command key when pressed. This is quite useful, particularly if you’re acquainted with the Mac keyboard layout.
Remapping Windows Keyboard with Third-Party Software
The built-in capability on the Mac only enables you to remap up to five keys. Third-party software, such as Karabiner-Elements, will allow you to modify the sequence of every keyboard button and create a user experience according to your preferences. It’s a fantastic choice if you have a smaller model that is missing some keys. You may improve access to your most often used commands by rearranging them.
Never Limit Your Mac Options
It’s all about names and location when using Windows keyboards on Apple computers. Because the buttons all serve the same function, you’ll have no trouble accomplishing activities on your smartphone once you learn their placement. When executing an action that requires the option counterpart, use the “Alt” key. If you don’t like the key order on your Windows model, you may change it using your Apple computer.
Do you type on your Mac using a Windows keyboard? How frequently do you use the “Alt” key? Please share your thoughts in the comments box below.
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