Microsoft Sculpt Keyboard on Mac

I wrote a simple —but ridiculously long— review on Amazon on using MS sculpt keyboard on Mac. Again, it works, but not as it was promised by bloggers or tech-journalists who had written pre-release reviews. It won’t work, because the keyboard is specifically designed and assigned for Windows 8 exclusive features, and Microsoft has no plan to release Mac drivers. Now I would argue those aren’t even features in the first place.

At any rate, I’ve prepared number of ways to make it work on Mac. I would personally recommend using Karabiner, as it is the only free option. But please do consider donating or paying to the developers some coffee money, they do deserve it.


Karabiner-Elements: please check this post out.


ControllerMate ($24.95) Solution

  1. Download ControllerMate from here, then install it. (It will ask to restart at the end of installation)
  2. Download the already-made settings from here.
  3. Uncompress the file, and in ControllerMate, import (under File menu) the setting.
  4. Enable the settings by checking the appropriate programming group in the side bar. (if solely used by itself, then check the first. If used with karabiner, then check “w/ karabiner” group)

ControllerMate is a paid solution, so it may appear less appealing compared to Karabiner. But it is a solution with finer details and broader control. In theory, you can customize all of Windows specified keys and then some. The settings I’ve made does NOT map the entire keyboard past F4 volume control, but only the calculator key. Several posts I’ve read also recommended ControllerMate for its utility. It is intended to be used with MIFI devices, gaming devices, and etc. On the down side, while it is more GUI-friendly, it requires a lot of handwork to map the entire keyboard. Also it is known to have memory-hogging behaviors and glitches. Giving it a shot wouldn’t hurt, they also have a demo version available on the website.

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

update Oct 22, 2015: added Controllermate info.

update Sep 8, 2016: added Karabiner support info.

update Sep 21, 2016: added instructions for ControllerMate.

update Sep 22, 2016: changed instructions for ControllerMate (differentiate left/right option key).

update Sep 23, 2016: changed instructions for ControllerMate (now downloadable).

update Sep 27, 2016: Karabiner-Elements can do the trick now. BTT solution is removed.

update Oct 27, 2016: Karabiner-Elements finally support a keyboard and a bluetooth mouse at the same time.

update Feb 13, 2017: added GUI modifications setup for Karabiner-Elements. No need to re-do the setup, if you have previously downloaded json file.

update Jun 12, 2017: separated Karabiner Instruction to this post.

update Nov 10, 2017: complete overhaul of the post for readability.

Comments

  1. MS support today informed me they are not planning to upgrade sculpt for 10.12. Have you heard any different? Know any work-arounds?

  2. Hi everybody!

    I have a Macbook Pro 2011 and I bought the Sculpt keyboard but I can’t get it working!

    The keyboard just doesn’t exist for Mac OS Sierra.

    I seeked for drivers, tutorials, etc., but all I found were people trying to remap the keys. I wish I had this problem too, because that could mean that the keyboard at least was recognized by OS…

    Does anyone has any tip ou trick to make it work? Where to begin?

    Thanks!!
    Regards

    • Hello, sorry for the late response.

      It could be the case where Mac isn’t picking up the USB receiver. You can do that under Apple(menu)>About this Mac>System Report.

      In the report, check if your Mac is picking up the USB receiver. (it should show up as Microsoft Nano Transceiver) It should also list all other USB-connected items, so you can easily guess if it’s the receiver, or the Mac (hardware part of it).

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