Multi-Device Switching with Any Keyboard, Mouse or Computer

If you need to work across more than one computer, it’s possible to use just one keyboard and mouse for all of them. To reduce clutter, cables and inconvenience, you’ve got two basic options.

Keyboards and mice with built-in computer switching

If you’re looking for a new keyboard and mouse, you can buy wireless models that pair with multiple computers and let you switch between them.

This option works best if you have no more than two or three devices, and you switch between them infrequently. Check out our buyer’s guide and top picks below.

Make any keyboard or mouse work with multiple computers

If you already have a preferred keyboard and mouse, cross-computer control software enables them to work across multiple devices.

This solution is ideal if you have two or more computers, and you want to move back and forth between them quickly. This can be a more flexible and future-proof option.

Cross-computer control software

Multi-device keyboards

Multi-computer keyboards let you switch from one device to another at the press of a button, usually found at the top of the keyboard.

There are several on the market, so when considering your options:

  • Ensure the keyboard itself works for you. For example, does it have a number pad, are the keys back-lit, and is it comfortable to use? Of course, you have to choose between the models that include a multi-computer switch.
  • Check the number of devices it can connect to (often just 2).
  • Check whether it connects via Bluetooth or 2.4/5GHz radio, as you’ll need either a compatible built-in or USB Bluetooth receiver, or a spare USB port for the radio receiver, depending on the model.

3 top picks

Here are three of our favorite multi-device keyboards currently on the market.

Price point
No. of devices
Interface
How you switch
Logitech K780 Multi-Device Keyboard

$100

3

Bluetooth

Press one of three pre-set buttons

Dell Multi-Device Wireless Keyboard & Mouse KM7120W

$85

3

Bluetooth 5.0
2.4GHz wireless

Dedicated key cycles between computers

Kensington Multi-Device Dual Wireless Compact Keyboard

$40

3

Bluetooth 3.0/5.0
2.4GHz wireless

Press Fn+F10 to cycle between devices

Price point is a typical approximate price at time of writing – every store has a different price, so shop for the best deal.

Multi-device keyboards aren’t right for everyone. Bear in mind that:

  • You can’t always switch instantly to the computer you want to use. Instead, you often have to press a switch repeatedly to cycle between devices.
  • It can take up to 30s for the change between devices to take effect.
  • Although our top picks above work on up to three devices, many only switch between two.

If you can’t find a multi-device keyboard that does everything you want, cross-computer control software may be a better solution, as it can work with any keyboard.

Multi-device mice

Multi-computer mice let you switch between several devices by pressing a small button.

Before investing:

  • Ensure the mouse is designed for your intended use. Multi-device mice are often designed to be highly portable, so use a miniature form-factor that isn’t great if you plan to work with it for extended periods.
  • Check the location of the switch button as you may find it easier to use one on the top, or one on the side.
  • As with keyboards, check how it connects and how many devices it can pair with.

3 top picks

Below we’ve highlighted some of our favorite multi-device models.

Price point
No. of devices
Interface
Battery life
How you switch
Logitech MX Master 3

$120

3

Bluetooth or USB mini-receiver

70 days

Press the switch button underneath 

Lenovo Go Wireless Multi-Device Mouse

$80

3

Bluetooth 5.0 & 2.4GHz wireless

Up to 3 months

Press the switch button on top 

Dell MS5320W Multi-Device Wireless Mouse

$50

3

Bluetooth 5.0 & 2.4GHz wireless

Up to 36 months

Press one of three pre-set buttons

Price point is a typical approximate price at time of writing – every store has a different price, so shop for the best deal.

As with keyboards, our top picks work on up to three devices, which is the maximum number generally available.

Be aware that the location of the switch button can be awkward in some models. If it’s on the side, it can easily be pressed by mistake. However if it’s underneath and out of the way, it can be more difficult to press, making the process more disruptive. Check out reviews to see how other people find it.

If you you’re stuck trying to find a good mouse with a computer switch, cross-computer control software may be a better solution, as it can work with any mouse.

Cross-computer control software

Cross-computer control software (also sometimes called KVM software) allows you to use one keyboard or mouse across two or more computers without pressing a button. Once it’s installed on each of your computers, you can just move your mouse from screen to screen.

When choosing which software to use, make sure you:

  • Check it’s compatible with the operating systems you’re using (Windows, Mac, etc.).
  • Check it supports the number of computers you have,as some software limits you to just 2 devices.
  • Check the price, which ranges from free to over $100.

3 top picks

Below we’ve highlighted three software KVMs worth considering.

Synergy

$29

Synergy works with any brand of keyboard and mouse, in effect turning them into multi-device versions of themselves.

It lets you use them across up to 15 different devices, whether they’re PCs, Macs or even use other less common operating systems. You switch between computers just by moving your mouse from screen to screen.

Synergy doesn’t have a free version, however it’s the most flexible option available.

Logitech Flow

Free with some Logitech products

If you’re only using the latest Logitech keyboards and mice, Logitech Flow is a top pick because you can get it for free.

It works on up to 3 PCs and Macs, and lets you switch computer just by pointing to a different screen.

Microsoft Smart Switch

Free with some Microsoft products

If you’re only using the latest Microsoft keyboards, mice and Windows PCs, then their Smart Switch software is a top pick because you can get it for free.

It works on up to 9 PCs, and lets you switch computer just by pointing to a different screen.

Conclusion

What’s the best option for me?

Multi-device keyboards and mice are a simple way to improve your multi-computer life. However, good models can be hard to come by and the best ones can be pricey. Cross-computer control software such as Synergy is an affordable and futureproof alternative that will work with any keyboard and mouse of your choice

Get started with Synergy

Buy Synergy now

If you have any further questions, please contact us.