Share a Single Mouse and Keyboard between Windows and Mac Computers

Do you have two different computers, say a desktop and a laptop, that you want to use at the same time via the same mouse and keyboard? Adding on to that, the two computers are running different operating systems. How can you make use of one set of keyboard and mouse and control both computers?

Share Mouse is a cool application that lets you share your mouse and keyboard with multiple networked computers. That means I can go back and forth from my PC monitor to my Macbook Pro screen and vice versa, all while using the single mouse and keyboard (connected to my Windows PC). What’s even better is that you can also share clipboards, meaning you can copy something on one computer and paste it to the other.

Although I don’t plan on using Share Mouse indefinitely, it’s a great temporary solution to my issue of wanting to use my Macbook Pro as a second monitor. Whether you have Windows and Mac, Windows and Windows, or Mac and Mac computers, Share Mouse will really come in handy and boost productivity.

Here’s how it works.

1. You will need to download Share Mouse on both computers that you want to use. In my case, I downloaded it on my Windows PC and on my Macbook Pro. You can get the installation and program files, or get the portable editions that can be run from any USB flash drive.

2. Once downloaded, run and install Share Mouse on both of your computers. Upon completion, you’ll see the Share Mouse icon in your Windows Notification Area and/or Mac’s menu bar. Share Mouse will automatically detect any other computer that is running the software, and you’ll see a notification alerting you of this.

The Share Mouse icon in the Windows Notification Area and Mac menu bar.

3. Next, you can click on the icon on either computer and go to “Monitor Manager.” This let you set the arrangement of your monitors; each of your monitors will display a letter on them, so that you can tell them apart. All you have to do is drag-and-drop the monitors according to how they’re set up on your desk.

The Monitor Arrangement window is the main dashboard of ShareMouse and displays icons of the monitors of all connected computers and their relative positions.

4. Once you’re done with the Monitor Manager, click on the “Settings” button in the bottom right corner of the window so that you can customize other things like: monitor switching, sharing options, key mapping, network settings, online updates, and security.

Change the dimming level of inactive monitor and set a panic hotkey.

There are many cool options in the preferences window, such as the ability to dim the inactive monitor and set the amount of dimming that should be applied. You can also enable drag-and-drop, which lets you drag one or multiple files (documents, images, videos) from one monitor and drop them to the other – yes, you can drag files from Windows to Mac and vice versa (or just copy and paste them). Unfortunately, you can’t drag-and-drop application windows like browser windows.

Use Share Mouse in Protected mode - only clients with the same password can communicate with your computer.

You can set up keyboard shortcuts and even password protect your connection so that only users with the password can communicate with your computer; otherwise, anyone with the app will be able to just connect to your computer. I tested this out with my husband’s computer and I was indeed able to access his two monitors on his Windows PC right away, and he was able to access mine as well. With a password via Protected mode, that is not possible.

5. When you’re done arranging your monitors and customizing the settings, close out the window and you should be able to drag your mouse back and forth between both. When you move your mouse from one monitor/screen to the other, an arrow will display on the monitor that you’ve moved from and point in the direction of the monitor that your mouse has moved to. While this isn’t needed, it’s a nice little added affect.

All done! Share Mouse is easy to set up and it’s free for anyone using 2 monitors. If you go over 2 monitors, it will consider you a “power-user” and prompt you to purchase a registration key every few minutes. Plus, you’ll have to close out the app and restart after each alert – very annoying. However, as long as you only want to use two monitors/screens, then you’re good to go.