The key layout on a keyboard is already set. But, if you want to map one key to another function, this guide on how to easily remap your keyboard may be what you need.
You won’t need to do complex macros and settings at all, so keep reading till the end to see what is on the table for you.
What are keyboard hotkeys?
Keyboard hotkeys or keyboard shortcuts refer to the combination of keypresses that will perform a certain action. For example, ctrl + C means copying the file while alt + F4 forces your computer to restart.
Normally, those combinations or keyboard hotkeys have been set in the beginning by the operating system or the software. Nonetheless, you have the freedom to reassign keys following your personal needs.
Some common keyboard shortcuts of Window operation.
- Cut: Ctrl + X.
- Paste: Ctrl + V.
- Open the Run dialogue: Window button + R
Some common keyboard hotkeys of Google Chrome.
- Hisory: Ctrl + H
- Open new tab: Ctrl + N
What is key mapping?
As we have mentioned, you can reassign keys in the way you want. That action is called key mapping. By changing the function of certain keys or combinations of keys, you will have a keyboard layout that is tailored meticulously to your needs.
To rebind keys in your way, you will need to know how to write or code in the scripting language. Hearing that, you may think the job is not for you if recording macro or programming is an unfamiliar subject.
Don’t worry! Some software allows you to remap keys easily despite the lack of programming knowledge. You will unfold all of them soon so keep staying with us!
When do you need to Remap your Windows Keyboard?
To remap a keyboard, before choosing the best software for the job, you may want to know when and why you need to perform the act. If you find yourself in these situations, you should consider rebind keys for a better typing experience.
One or a few keys stop working on your keyboard and unfortunately, they are the important keypresses. That is when reassigning keys which are rarely used will come in handy. Thanks to that, you won’t have to buy a whole new keyboard.
You find that keys such as cap locks or alt and ctrl on the left are hardly touched at all, while there are some certain actions you perform all the time that do not have their assigned keys.
Far-reach frequently-used keys
You usually use the ‘print screen’ or ‘delete’ key but they are quite far to move your fingers there. To remap keys near you with that functions will be more convenient for daily tasks.
You want to rebind keys for convenient playing. For example, double-tabbing on the ‘tab’ key will allow a quick save, or pressing ‘N’ will throw a grenade at the opponents.
Similarly to gameplay, you want to remap keys so whenever you hold shift + N, the capital letter will turn to a normal letter. As you’ve already known, some programming languages are case sensitive so it’s best to easily interchange between capital and normal letter.
Besides reassigning a keyboard, you may get into trouble with arrow keys or the double typing issue. If so, check out ‘Arrow keys not working on a keyboard? 6 ways to fix them‘ or ‘9 Ways to Fix Mechanical Keyboard Double Typing’ to learn the trick.
How to Reassign Keyboard Keys?
This is what you are waiting for – the easy way to remap a keyboard without the need for coding. The upcoming programs all have their shares of pros and cons so read carefully to pick out the most suitable ones.
SharpKeys is an easy-to-use software where you can remap keys to another key function. After downloading and installing the app, when you open SharpKeys, you can see two columns where you can rebind keys.
First, click the ‘Add button’. Then, find in the first column the already-existed keys that you want to change. In the second column is the list of key functions. Choose one from it. In case you can not find the want-to-be-remapped key, click the ‘Type key button’ and press any key on the keyboard that you want to be reassigned. Finish? Click ‘OK’.
Repeat the process to remap all the keys you want. After done with them, choose the ‘Write to Registry button’, turn off the app, and restart your computer. Now, it’s time to check whether you have assigned the keys to the right function.
One of the cool things about SharpKeys is that every registry is written directly to your computer operation. That is why after you feel satisfied with the new mapping keyboard, you can delete the app without being afraid of losing the new mapping.
Since the program is simple, SharpKeys cannot allow you to rebind multiple keys to one key or create many different mappings for different computer users. If you want something like those mentioned, you will need more powerful software.
AutoHotkey is a powerful software for complex keyboard mapping. On top of that, it is free to download and has a simple interaction. The minor problem is AutoHotkey uses its own scripting language. So, it’s more difficult to interact with than the above SharpKeys software.
Don’t worry! The scripting language of AutoHotkey is not that complicated to learn and once you have accessed the AutoHotkey documentation and guidance on the internet, you may find it easy to remap keys.
Here are some guidelines from us so you can have a quick view of how it works.
Install the program. Open ‘File Explorer’ and right-click your mouse. Click ‘New’/’AutoHotkey Script’. You will see a new open file and right-click it to choose open in Notepad. When the Notepad opens, you can type your script to remap keys.
- Example number 1:
Send, Mapping Keyboard With AutoHotkey
- Example number 2:
MsgBox, Learning How To Script Is Not Very Hard
Once you have done with remapping keys, save the files in your stored location. To run the script, just double-click on the saved file.
If you want the file to run automatically every time your computer opens, save the script file in the following path: ‘%APPDATA%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup’
MapKeyboard is another simple mapping keyboard software for you to reassign keys. There is no need for writing scripts since it’s as easy to use as SharpKeys. Moreover, it’s super light so you can save the memory space of your computer.
After finishing downloading and installing, open the software and you will see a picture of a standard keyboard layout. Click on the keys from that layout and then turn to the ‘Remap selected key to:’ drop-down box. Pick your wanted function from the list and choose ‘Save layout’ when you finish remapping keys.
Tad-dah! Your keyboard now will have a new layout after restarting the computer. Not difficult at all, right?
To remap a keyboard and even a mouse, Key Mapper software is your best option. The interaction is simple and visualized to the point that you can use it without reading the guidelines.
However, to make things easier for you. Here are our step-by-step so you can reassign keys for your keyboard.
Like other software, the first action is downloading and installing the program. After that, open it and you can see a simple keyboard layout. The steps are quite similar to MapKeyboard. You choose the keys and then drag them to your ideal function.
The new assigned keys will turn blue so you will know right away the remapping is done successfully.
The selling point of Key Mapper is that you can rebind keys for certain apps. For example, if you want to use Ctrl + E only for drawing a circle in your photoshop software, using Key Mapper will not let Ctrl + E be valid outside photoshop.
Keytweak is your free program to remap keys easily. There are three pathways to do the deed, which are full teach mode, half teach mode, and a virtual keyboard layout.
In the ‘full teach mode’, you will click on the assigned key (as #1) and then click on the wanted assignment (as #2). Then, click on ‘Remap #1 to #2’ and the job’s done.
In the ‘half teach mode’, there will be a drop-down list of key assignments for you to choose from.
In the virtual keyboard layout, the steps are similar to MapKeyboard. Moreover, it allows you to quickly disable any key you want. After finishing rebinding keys, click ‘Apply’ so you can work with your new keyboard mapping.
Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator
A very powerful keyboard mapping software allows you to make everything from scratch. It’s free to download and use so feel free to install it on your computer.
After you turn on the program, go to ‘File/ Load Existing Keyboard’. Choose the layout you want to reassign keys and then an almost blank keyboard layout will appear for you to interact with.
Before doing anything, you should save the file by ‘File/Save Source File As’. Then, open ‘Project/ Properties’ to set the name and the language.
Click on the keys you want to work with and edit with them. We recommend you check out the Character Map in Window to understand the keycode for special characters by following this ‘Start/ Programs/ Accessories/ System Tools/ Character Map’.
The good aspect of this software is you are able to test the new-built layout before applying it to your computer. Just click ‘Project/ Validate layout’ and then ‘Project/ Test Keyboard Layout’. So, take the time to redo and check whether everything is right to your taste before setting it up.
The downside is that keys such as Tab, Ctrl, Return, and Alt are untouchable. If you want to remap those keys, you may need to ask for help from other software.
Remap Keyboard interactive window is somewhat similar to SharpKeys. Furthermore, the program is very light and dependable. To remap keys with Remap Keyboard, follow these steps.
Look at the list of ‘Map this physical key’ on the left and choose the keys you want to work with. After that, find the ‘to this effective function’ on the right and pick from the functions you need to reassign keys. Feeling satisfied with the new hotkeys, click ‘Add new mapping’ and then choose ‘Save all mappings’ to allow it runs on your computer.
You may now realize that remapping a keyboard is not just for computer experts. People who are not ‘smart’ at computers like us can easily make changes to the keyboard layout, all thanks to the easy-interactive key mapping software.
Hope that when you find yourself in situations requiring some modifications on the keyboard layout, this article ‘How to easily remap your keyboard’ will assist you best. Wish you the smoothest journey of becoming a keyboard pro.