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Sharing Keyboard And Mouse Between Computers: Definitive Guide
Olga Weis Olga Weis Last updated Feb 21, 2023

Sharing Keyboard And Mouse Between Computers: Definitive Guide

Given the current work-from-home trend, staying productive and efficient when working from home is one of the main struggles.

For an average user, there is seldom a need for more than one keyboard and mouse. However, for more technical users, there may be a need for a more complex setup.

A user may have to work on multiple workstations and even across different operating systems that demand different peripherals. While it is possible to manually swap out the devices, it is time-consuming and cumbersome.

With wired devices, the mayhem and clutter are reason enough to seek an alternative and the good news is that there are software and hardware solutions available to help you share your keyboard and mouse across multiple computers.

In this detailed guide, we describe several approaches to controlling a multi-computer setup by using a single mouse and keyboard set that will help you save space on your desk.

Share keyboard and mouse over WLAN

FlexiHub is a cross-platform application for redirecting USB devices over the network. With its help, you will be able to use a single keyboard and mouse with several computers without the need to manually reconnect them.

The mouse and keyboard shared via FlexiHub are recognized by the computer as physically attached devices, so you will not encounter any compatibility issues.

Share Keyboard and Mouse
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FlexiHub advantages for sharing one keyboard or mouse between multiple computers

  • FlexiHub shares a keyboard and mouse as well as other types of USB devices between Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and Raspberry computers.

  • FlexiHub can share a keyboard and mouse not only between computers located near each other in the same LAN. Thanks to the redirection server, you’ll still be able to access USB devices even if the machines are connected to different networks.

  • Data transmission is secured with 2048-bit SSL encryption.

  • FlexiHub doesn’t need any USB drivers to share the keyboard and mouse, therefore no driver installation is required on your second PC or any remote computer.
Share Keyboard and Mouse
4.8 Rank based on 386+ Reviews

How to share a keyboard and mouse between two computers

Here is what you’ll need to do to share a keyboard and mouse with another computer via FlexiHub.

  • 1.
    Firstly, register a free FlexiHub account. By confirming your account registration via email, you will be automatically signed up for a free demo.
    Register a FlexiHub account
  • 2.
    Download and install the app to all the machines that will use the same keyboard and mouse.
    Download and install FlexiHub
  • 3.
    Log into the app on the computer with an attached keyboard and mouse, and on the remote computer.
    remote access to your device
  • 4.
    Finally, connect the keyboard and mouse via the software’s interface.
    Connect device
Note: a keyboard and mouse can be attached to only 1 computer at a time.

If you prefer video instructions, here you can watch how to share a keyboard and mouse or any other USB device with the help of FlexiHub.

That’s it, the shared keyboard and mouse can now be used on all machines where FlexiHub is installed.

Hardware KVM switches

hardware KVM switch
A KVM switch gets its name from “Keyboard, Video, Mouse” and it serves as a single interface from which you can switch between multiple computers and access them using the same connected monitor, mouse, and keyboard.

Using KVM switches is quite straightforward. Connect your keyboard, mouse, and monitor to the device, then link the switch up with all your computers via USB cables. In most cases, the switches are equipped with buttons to toggle between USB ports and computers.

You can grab a KVM switch from your electronics retailer of choice and depending on the number and type of connections you need, the price for a device can range from a handful of dollars to a more significant sum of several hundred bucks.

icon pros Pros:

  • Share other devices as well such as microphones and speakers.
  • Work with both Windows and Mac.
  • Does not require a network connection (unlike software KVM switches)

icon cons Cons:

  • An additional device that clutters the desk.
  • Too many wires.
  • May not work with your specific setup.

Best mouse and keyboard sharing apps

Software-based KVM switches are another option you can use for sharing a mouse and keyboard between 2 computers.

They do not require any additional hardware and switch the devices automatically. All you need is to just install and configure the software, and then simply move the cursor off the edge of the screen for a seamless transition.

Below you will find a compilation of KVM switch software that will help you use one keyboard and mouse to control multiple computers.

Mouse Without Borders — Simple app for Windows

Mouse Without Borders
Mouse Without Borders is an application coming out of the Microsoft Garage initiative.

It allows you to use one mouse and keyboard to control up to four different computers, and it’s much more reliable than you would expect from a side project. You can even share files across the computers by simply dragging them to the desired location.

While it isn’t an official Microsoft product, it is fully supported by their developers but this useful tool is only available for Windows OS.

Mouse Without Borders is free and easy to set up, this application is a great option to get started with.

icon pros Pros:

  • Completely free.
  • Optimized for Windows.
  • Simple to use.

icon cons Cons:

  • May stutter from time to time.
  • Copies files but not folders.

ShareMouse — Cross-platform file sharing

ShareMouse is commercial software but there is a free version for non-commercial use only. The paid version supports drag-and-drop, password security, switching prevention, or remote shutdown/lock/screensaver and can be used on up to 9 Macs and/or PCs.

There’s no setup required since the app automatically detects another computer in your local network running ShareMouse. What is more, it is capable of sharing a mouse and keyboard between Mac and a PC.

Free ShareMouse doesn’t have the customization capability of the paid version but you can still use copy and paste by Ctrl+C/Ctrl+V even if their website lists this among paid functions. Also, you can choose a hotkey for quick jump, scroll speed/direction, do or don’t dim inactive monitors, and how many presses of the Esc button will disable the remote control.

icon pros Pros:

  • Free version for personal use (2 PCs only);
  • Windows and macOS compatible.

icon cons Cons:

  • Advanced features are hidden behind the $80 paid tier.
  • Supports 1 display only.

Input Director - Great security features

Input Director
Input Director is another Windows-only application that allows the sharing of a mouse and keyboard across multiple computers. You can simply move the cursor from one screen to the next as if you were using a multi-screen display setup.

Unlike Mouse Without Borders, the setup is a bit more complicated but it's worth it since Input Director objectively runs smoother.

In addition, Input Director’s rich feature set is available to users for free which is a great advantage over Share Mouse.

Input Director comes with a shared clipboard, the ability to simultaneously lock or wake up all connected computers, allows configuring advanced security options, and supports other useful features.

icon pros Pros:

  • Free for personal use.
  • Great security features.
  • Controls computer before login.

icon cons Cons:

  • Windows exclusive.
  • Complicated setup at first.

Synergy — Smooth cross-platform performance

Synergy is one of the most popular software KMV options available. Synergy used to be an open-source fork of the program called Barrier which is still available for free.

Synergy offers seamless switching between connected computers and TLS/SSL encryption for all keystrokes and data shared across the network. You can even share a clipboard between different operating systems - Mac and Windows shortcuts can be swapped with ease.

Pricing starts from $29 which includes 1 year of technical support and updates, and it allows you to connect up to 3 computers. Business users should contact Synergy for a quote.

Originally, Synergy was a Windows-only app, but now they have versions for Mac, Linux, and Raspberry Pi as well.

icon pros Pros:

  • Cross-platform (Windows, Mac, Linux, Raspberry Pi).
  • Runs smoothly.

icon cons Cons:

  • A free trial is not available (30-day money-back guarantee).
  • No encryption feature in the Personal use version.

Barrier — Open-source & cross-platform

Barrier is, to all intents and purposes, Synergy without accessories. It's free, yet super minimalistic if not oversimplified. All it can do for you is allow you to share a mouse and keyboard between two computers.

Once you share a mouse between computers, you’ll be able to move the pointer from one machine’s screen to another and use the drag-and-drop function to pass files. That’s all.

On the bright side, apart from popular operating systems like Windows, Linux, and Mac, Barrier can be also installed on ARM-based Linux.

icon pros Pros:

  • Cross-platform (Windows, Mac, Linux, Raspberry Pi).
  • Completely free (an open-source project).

icon cons Cons:

  • Challenging setup.
  • Fewer features than in Synergy.

Universal Control - Native Mac experience

Universal Control
Universal Control is a built-in Apple feature that allows you to connect Macs and iPads. If you are an Apple user, then this option is the most viable since it’s built-in right into macOS and iPadOS and requires almost no setup.

To enable Universal Control, go to macOS System Preferences > Displays > Advanced. For iPads, go to General settings > AirPlay & Handoff and turn on Cursor and Keyboard.

As for additional criteria, your iPad must be running at least iPadOS 15.4 and your mac needs to have macOS Monterey 12.4 or later installed to use this feature. All devices must be signed in with the same Apple ID and there is a proximity limitation - the devices can not be further than 30 feet apart.

Unlike other sharing applications, with Universal Control, each connected device will display its screen and applications but you can control and access all the devices using a single input device whether keyboard, trackpad, or mouse.

icon pros Pros:

  • Completely free.
  • Easy to set up.

icon cons Cons:

  • Mac devices only.
  • Limited drag-and-drop-support.

Logitech Flow - Exclusive for Logitech devices

Logitech Flow
As a well-established manufacturer of peripheral devices, Logitech has proprietary software called Logitech Flow for using one keyboard and mouse between several computers.

You are going to need one of the more recent Logitech devices as it needs to be supported by the Logi Options software package for this to work.

Logitech Flow works similarly to other solutions described in this article. Once you’ve set up your peripherals and installed the app on every computer you are using, you can set how your screens and computers are configured under the Flow tab. And then you can easily go between the devices by dragging the mouse from one screen to another.

icon pros Pros:

  • The solution is free.
  • Custom keyboard shortcuts.
  • Transfer files option.

icon cons Cons:

  • Only for Logitech devices.

Remote Desktop - for remoting into a computer nearby

Chrome Remote Desktop
It may seem a bit of an overkill to use Remote Desktop to connect to a computer sitting next to you, but it makes it super easy to use a keyboard and mouse on another computer since it is built right into Windows OS.

But you should keep in mind that computers running Windows Pro or Windows Enterprise can only be accessed. For other platforms, Chrome Remote Desktop can be your go-to option.

icon pros Pros:

  • Available in Windows by default.
  • No distance limitations.
  • Cross-platform compatible.

icon cons Cons:

  • Multi-computer management can be confusing.
  • RDP is not the safest and most secure option.

Summing Up

Sharing a mouse and keyboard between computers is quite simple, and there are more than enough solutions on the market that will help you do it.

Hardware KVMs are best for those people who do not want to rely on network connectivity and deal with software installation and configuration. But if you are into tidy desks, sticking to software KVMs will result in less clutter with wires.

Whether you are a software engineer, a video editor, or any other specialist working with multiple machines at once, a hardware KVM device or mouse and keyboard sharing app will bring extra productivity into your everyday tasks.

Share keyboard and mouse
  • 4.8 overall rank based on 386+ Reviews
  • Windows, macOS, Linux, Android and Raspberry Pi.
  • 10.45MB Size.
  • Version 6.1.15025. (19 Feb, 2024).
  • Pricing starts $14 per month billed annually