New to Macintosh, but like Windows XP keyboard behavior?

Are you a Mac transplant? Perhaps you’re new to the Mac after spending time in the Windows world? Whatever the case may be, you may find the keyboard characteristics on the Mac confusing, or you may just prefer how certain keys function in Windows. For example, do you like how pressing the Home and End keys in XP moves the cursor to the beginning and end of the line? Take heart. Changing the default keyboard action of Mac OS X is an easy task.

Provided below are two sets of instruction; One for non-UNIX users, the other for UNIX users. Pick your poison, but believe it or not, the UNIX method is easiest!

Non-UNIX Method:

  1. Download this file to your desktop. This should put a file called DefaultKeyBinding.dict on your desktop.
  2. In Finder, click the “Go” menu, and select “Go to Folder…”
  3. Type in (with the trailing forward slash):
    ~/Library/
  4. In the new window, look for a folder called “KeyBindings”. If it doesn’t exist, create it.
  5. Move the file you unarchived in step 2 (called “DefaultKeyBinding.dict”) into this new folder.
  6. Relaunch your applications or log out and log back in.

UNIX Method:

  1. Open Terminal.app
  2. Copy and paste the following into terminal:

    cd ~/Library/; mkdir KeyBinding; cd KeyBinding; echo "/* ~/Library/KeyBindings/DefaultKeyBinding.dict */
    /* new keybindings for partial Windows keyboard emulation from Chris Brewer */
    {
    "^\010" = "deleteWordBackward:";
    "\UF729" = "moveToBeginningOfLine:";
    "^\UF729" = "moveToBeginningOfDocument:";
    "$\UF729" = "moveToBeginningOfLineAndModifySelection:";
    "$^\UF729" = "moveToBeginningOfDocumentAndModifySelection:";
    "\UF72B" = "moveToEndOfLine:";
    "^\UF72B" = "moveToEndOfDocument:";
    "$\UF72B" = "moveToEndOfLineAndModifySelection:";
    "$^\UF72B" = "moveToEndOfDocumentAndModifySelection:";
    "^\UF702" = "moveWordBackward:";
    "^\UF703" = "moveWordForward:";
    "$^\UF702" = "moveWordBackwardAndModifySelection:";
    "$^\UF703" = "moveWordForwardAndModifySelection:";
    "\UF72C" = "pageUp:";
    "\UF72D" = "pageDown:";
    "^z" = "undo:";
    "$\UF728" = "cut:";
    "$\UF746" = "paste:";
    "^\UF746" = "copy:";
    }">DefaultKeyBinding.dict
  3. Relaunch your apps or log out and log back in.

To remove the new keyboard behavior, simple delete this file and log out and log in.

9 thoughts on “New to Macintosh, but like Windows XP keyboard behavior?

  1. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure! I have always been a windows user, but there has always been something “Je ne sais quios” about the Mac. I have a power mac g4 and have found it very annoying that Macs have the home and end keys, but they don’t do jack in most cases. Your trashy words are god sent to me! I am awaiting my MacBook’s arrival ( i ordered one a few days ago!) and will try this out on it. Now if only you could find a way to make that darn one button mouse work like a two button mouse, I’d throw my windows into the real trash!

  2. On your MacBook, make sure you do the following (these are turned off by default on new Macs): Open Safari, go to “Preferences”, and turn on tabbed browsing. Load “System Preferences”, go to “Keyboard & Mouse”, and select the “Trackpad” tab. Select “Place two fingers on trackpad and click button for secondary click”. This will give you the right click on the trackpad. As for a one-button mouse, holding down the Control key when clicking gives you the equivalent of a right click. Or, just plug any two button USB mouse into your Mac, then go to the “System Preferences”, click “Keyboard & Mouse”, select “Mouse”, and enable the second button.

  3. If you have Windows XP, why do you use linux?
    Basically I dont see any advantages to using linux over windows xp, Im dual booting windows and ubuntu. Ubuntu is nice and all but I dont see anything that would make me prefer it over windows.The only thing i have been using ubuntu for is web browsing playing music/movies (cant play games) which I can do better/hassle free in windows.
    So what are the advantages of l using linux over xp?

  4. Zion – It all depends what you’re using the operating system for. Linux as a server platform is far and away more secure and stable than Windows XP (or Windows Server) for that matter. Linux has a more modest hardware requirements than Windows operating systems as well. Really, the “best” operating system is the one that facilitates you doing what you want to do, be it Windows XP, Vista, Mac OS X, Linux, Solaris, or Amiga OS!

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  6. Not sure why, but it doesn’t seem to work for me. I’ve got an Intel Core 2 Duo iMac 17″, 2Ghz

  7. Chris, where can I find the mapping of Unicodes to keyboard keys? For example, \UF729 corresponds to what key? I’d like to know what Unicodes correspond to the F1 thru F15 keys.

  8. I don’t think this works with a recent osx upgrade. I have a 24″ core 2 duo with 10.4.10 and it does not work for me either. Any updates would be appreciated.

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