How to Switch the Control and Command Keys in Mac OS X


If you have just switched to using Mac OS X from the regular Windows OS that you have been using all your life, you might have difficulty adjusting to the keyboard, particularly the Control and Command keys.

In Windows most of the keyboard shortcuts are done with the Control key. You press “Ctrl + A” to select all, “Ctrl + C” to copy and “Ctrl + V” to paste. When it comes to Mac OS X, the configuration is totally opposite. Even though the keyboard comes with a Control button, the “Command” button is used for most keyboard shortcuts. You have to press “Cmd + A” to select all, “Cmd + C” to copy and “Cmd + V” to paste.

If you are not used to the keyboard configuration, Mac OS X comes with a setting that allows you to remap the modifier key. This way you can switch the functionality of “Control” and “Command” and make it work like Windows.

1. In Mac OS X open “System Preferences” from the Launchpad.

2. Click on the Keyboard option.


3. Click the “Modifier Keys…” button at the bottom-right.


4. In the “Control (^) Key” field, change it to “Command.” And in the “Command Key” field, change it to “Control.” Click OK.


If you are planning to switch to Mac OS X permanently, it might be better for you to continue using Command as the modifier key and get used to it. It will only take a while for you to become accustomed to the new system. If, however, you are often switching between different OS, like Windows on an office PC and Mac OS X on a home laptop, then switching the Control and Command buttons might just save your sanity.

Image credit: a swedish campground


Damien Oh started writing tech articles since 2007 and has over 10 years of experience in the tech industry. He is proficient in Windows, Linux, Mac, Android and iOS, and worked as a part time WordPress Developer. He is currently the owner and Editor-in-Chief of Make Tech Easier.

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Our latest tutorials delivered straight to your inbox