Karabiner Settings for Microsoft Sculpt Keyboard

Karabiner setup has gotten longer than I expected, so here’s a separate post dedicated for Karabiner-Elements.

Karabiner-Elements Setup Instruction (11/10/17 ver.)

  1. Download Karabiner from here.
  2. Install latest version of Karabiner and launch it. At the time of writing, it’s v11.1.0.
  3. In the Devices tab of Karabiner, enable Microsoft 2.4GHz Transceiver to be modified by simply checking the box.
  4. Under the same tab, uncheck all the devices except Microsoft 2.4GHz Transceiver, so that they will not be affected.
  5. In the preferences, under Simple Modifications tab, choose Microsoft 2.4GHz Transceiver as the target and press Add Item.
  6. Select ‘application’ for ‘From Key’ and select ‘right option’ for ‘To Key’.
  7. Repeat the process for ‘left cmd’ to ‘left opt’, ‘left opt’ to ‘left cmd’, ‘right opt’ to ‘right cmd’.
  8. Under the Function Keys tab, check Use all F1, F2 keys as standard function keys.

Please check this post out, if you are having problems with launching Karabiner for the first time on a new Mac with PID error message.

Optional Steps

  • In System Preferences, go to Keyboard settings. Under shortcut tab, Click Display. Disable F14/F15 brightness shortcuts.
  • If there are any additional keys you are interested in getting it to work, use Complex Modifications tab to add them.

First option will free up f14 and f15 from regular shortcuts. If you have been using those two keys for brightness, no need to mind yourself with it. In my case, I use all the way up to F15 most of the times.

As for the Complex Modifications, I did consider making one dedicated for MS Sculpt Keyboard. That way you could simply tick the box and good to go. But Complex Modification was the latest feature added to the Karabiner that had few quirks with higher risks, and I would rather use Simple Modification for the time being.

The official version of Karabiner is out. It’s been years since Karabiner had been left in alpha phase, and now we have a stable, working, with impressive modification tools available at ease. For the record, several of PC-only keys cannot be captured via Karabiner, that would still require ControllerMate.

As for international keyboards, I have submitted (10/26/17) Korean keyboard complex modification rules on GitHub. There are plenty more options available where it came from. Karabiner handles importing automatically, so all you have to do is pick a rule from the web.

Let me know if there is any questions or concerns, I’ll try to answer them to the best of my knowledge.

updated Nov 10, 2017:  Complete overhaul of the post for readability.


  1. Just for anybody out there that worried whether this works in Mac OS High Sierra. It does!! I have a late 2016 Macbook Pro with an adapter to go from the USB-C ports to the classical USB-Ports. So far the Microsoft Sculpt works very well. (As mentioned above some of the PC-only Fn keys don’t work e.g. the search button, but it’s not a major issue)

  2. Hi! Thanks for the help! I’m having some trouble getting my keyboard to sync. The mouse is working fine. Does anyone have any advice for this?


    • Hi, I’ll need you to narrow down what you mean by sync. Are you having problems with input latency from wireless dongle (as in, the problem has been occurring before Karabiner installation) or lag of some sort after the installation?

      If it’s former, you will need to narrow down if the cause is environmental or hardware-related. USB 3.0 is known to cause 2.4Ghz interference, and I had a similar issue with the sculpt keyboard when I plugged it in to a USB hub. Interference can be sporadic, so you will have to try moving the dongle around between the ports to find better locations. If the USB is the issue, I would recommend connecting it directly to the computer, using an extension (1 port to 1 port) instead of a hub if necessary. If it’s hardware, you will need to contact Microsoft or the original seller to have it replaced.

      If it’s latter, Karabiner-Elements pushed a patch about a week ago related to input latency. I would suggest re-installing Karabiner with the newest available version.

  3. Hello! I’m hoping this will help me. My sculpt keyboard is not working with my Mac Air. I downloaded Karabiner but I don’t see my keyboard in devices.

    • Hello, it sounds like your keyboard is not connected or not recognized by the Mac. Once the USB dongle is plugged in and the keyboard powered on and paired to the dongle, Mac should be able to recognize basic alphabet and numeric key inputs. Without macOS recognizing the input device, Karabiner can’t see the device. Like I’ve said in the above comment, if it is the connection issue, you would need to narrow down the cause to either environmental or hardware. Try moving the dongle to a different port, change batteries on the keyboard, etc.

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