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Setting up a Kinesis Keyboard for Mac (Justin's Technique)


My old Kinesis had a couple function keys stop working. Here’s the steps to setup the keyboard as I like it for a Mac. I like having the modifier keys available to both hands, so I can always hit a modifier with one hand and the letter key with the opposite hand.

  1. First reset the keyboard with Program Shift F-10, all at once. Lights flash.
  2. Hold the = key while pushing m to set the keyboard to Mac mode.
  3. fire up the Mac Keyboard Viewer so you can see what key goes to what. This is important for the modifier keys. It looks like this when I push the CMD key.

Next, I want to configure the modifier keys to look like this. See below note on making sure that Scroll Lock does F14 before starting the remapping.

I can tell the CMD keys are in the right place. I want to configure the right option key.

I need to do some remapping:

Program + Remap
key to assign
key to get assignment
key to assign
key to get assignment
key to assign
key to get assignment
Program + Remap

Tip: Sounds

If you remap caps lock to escape, which you should do 100% if you use VIM bindings, then you should press program - (program and then hyphen) to turn off the audible notifications.

Tip: Using F14 on Insert Key for “Move focus to next window.”

I really like using the Insert key to do “Move focus to next window.”

It’s a bit tricky to setup. You have to first check that you have toggled the use of the Scroll Lock key to not be the Mac power switch by hitting = Scroll Lock. You can then use the keyboard viewer to see the scroll lock key does F14.

Then you can remap the Scroll Lock to the Insert key.

Justin's favorite productivity tools (with Mac and iOS)

I’m thinking of getting the Kinesis Advantage. Is that the one you have? Would you recommend it? How about a foot pedal?


Tried the foot pedal a long time ago. Didn’t do anything for me.

Get the

Basic one is fine.