Keyboard shortcuts for working in a remote desktop Windows Machine from your MacBook

macos-rdp-1In this blog post, I am going to share with you how to get the missing keyboard keys that let you work in MS Windows via the remote desktop client under Mac OS X with the MacBook’s keyboard.

What is important to know is that when using a MacBook’s keyboard, you don’t have all the keys that you usually have on a PC keyboard.

Essentially, you are missing the following keys:

  • HOME / END.
  • DEL key. This is different from the MacBook’s “Delete” key (which is equivalent to the “Backspace” key).
  • INS Key.
  • Page Up / Page Down.
  • The “Windows” key.

MacBook Air keyboard

Make sure you use the RDP Client to remote into the Windows Machine in order for the following keyboard shortcuts to work.


The following table will tell you what keys combination you can use on a MacBook keyboard to get the same behavior as if you were using a regular PC keyboard:

PC keyboard hotkey Mac keyboard equivalent Description
Win key Command The “Command” key is like the “Win” key, it triggers the Windows Start Menu.
Press for instance: “Command+R” to trigger the Windows Run dialog, etc…
 Home / End Fn + Left or Right arrow keys Pressing the Fn key with the left / right arrow keys will emulate the HOME and END keys on a full PC keyboard.
 Ctrl + Home / End Control + Fn + Left or Right arrow keys Pressing Ctrl+Home or Ctrl+End will take you to the top or the bottom of a document or file. This is useful in text editors.
Page Up / Page Down Fn + Up or Down arrow keys PageUp or PageDown keys let you scroll one page up or down in a document. The “Fn + Up/Down” equivalent on the Mac keyboard lets you do the same.
 Delete key Fn + Delete In the Mac keyboard, there is only the “delete” key which is the equivalent of the BackSpace key on a PC keyboard. The “Delete” key on a PC keyboard lets you delete the character in front of the cursor. To achieve that using a MacBook keyboard inside a Remote Desktop session, press Fn+Delete

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4 Replies to “Keyboard shortcuts for working in a remote desktop Windows Machine from your MacBook”

  1. what is the shortcut for selecting the last cell in the column , in other words what is the short cut for Ctrl +down in the remote desktop for Excel

    1. To use Ctrl+Up / Ctrl+Down as-is, you need to disable those shortcuts – typically used by Mission Control, from Keyboard Preferences.

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