assign keyboard keys windows

How do I reassign hot keys for my keyboard?

You can reassign some keys to access different commands, shortcuts, or Microsoft Mouse and Keyboard Center features to better fit your work style.

Note:  The options listed in this wizard vary depending on the key selected. For example, since you cannot reassign the Windows key, the only option available is to disable it.

To reassign a key

Download and install the Microsoft Mouse and Keyboard Center .

Connect the keyboard that you want to configure.

Select the Start  button, and then select Microsoft Mouse and Keyboard Center .

From the displayed list of key names, select the key that you want to reassign.

In the command list of the key that you want to reassign, select a command.


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assign keyboard keys windows

Shortcuts, Hotkeys, Macros, Oh My: How to Remap Your Keyboard

If you're looking to change key functions on your computer's keyboard in Windows or macOS, these methods can help.

Whitson Gordon

The standard Windows keyboard layout hasn't changed much in the past few decades, but there's a chance you don't use every key on your keyboard. If you think the Caps Lock key would work better as something else, or wish you could open up Windows' Task Manager with one keystroke instead of three, there are a few ways to remap those commands.

Thanks to a variety of free software options, you can set individual keys to new functions or remap complex button combinations into simplified single-button presses. The option you choose comes down to your comfort level dealing with third-party software and how complex your solution needs to be.

Remap Keys and Shortcuts With PowerToys

Don't trust a third-party developer? The easiest way to remap your keyboard is through Microsoft PowerToys , a set of utilities (including keyboard customization) designed for power users. Install the program from its GitHub page (Opens in a new window) and open the Power Toys Settings page from the Windows System Tray.

Click Keyboard Manager , then select Remap a key to re-assign individual keys or Remap a shortcut to assign hotkey combinations to a single key. Click the + button, then set the key and map it to a specific action. So instead of hitting Ctrl + C to copy, you can assign that shortcut to the left Alt button on your keyboard.

Add as many remapped keys or shortcuts as you need, then click OK at the top of the page to save the changes. If you ever want to remove any, just click the trash can icon next to the listing and delete it.

Switch Individual Keys With SharpKeys

If you merely want to remap one key to another,  SharpKeys (Opens in a new window)  is a simple, open-source program that uses the Windows registry. This makes it the best option for these kinds of one-to-one key remappings. You don't need to rely on some other software as a middleman, and you'll run into the fewest compatibility issues, since Windows itself is interpreting the keystrokes.

Download the program from the Microsoft Store (Opens in a new window) and start it up. To remap a key, click the Add button and choose your keys from the two columns. The left column denotes the key you'll press (for example, the Caps Lock key) and the right column denotes the action that key will take (for example, acting as the Windows key).

You can also press the Type Key button and press a key on your keyboard if you have trouble hunting it down in the list. When you're done, click OK . Repeat this process for any other remappings, then click the  Write to Registry  button. As an example, I use SharpKeys to make my Alt key act as the Ctrl key, and my Caps Lock act as the Windows key.

Close the program, restart your computer, and you should find your keys have taken on their new roles. You can even delete SharpKeys when you're done; the program is merely a user-friendly interface for the Windows registry, so once the changes are made, you don't need it anymore.

Customize Hotkeys With Your Keyboard's Software

If your keyboard comes with advanced software, like  Logitech's Gaming Software (Opens in a new window) ,  Corsair's iCUE (Opens in a new window) , or  Razer's Synapse (Opens in a new window) , you may have some key-remapping features already present on your system.

Not only can you remap keys, but many of these programs let you create multi-key shortcuts, insert blocks of text, or create different profiles for each of your games. Some will even let you record macros, allowing you to create complex shortcuts just by recording your actions and assigning them to a hotkey.

Each of these programs are a bit different, so we can't go into all of them here, but the gist should be the same across manufacturers: Download the software, select your keyboard, and look for the option to create new hotkeys, macros, or actions. When in doubt, check the support page for your specific keyboard to find tutorials on how to get it done.

Your mileage may vary with these, as I've found certain programs to be jankier than others in the past. But if you already have it on your system, it may be able to do exactly what you want without installing any other software, so give it a shot.

Create Complex Scripts With AutoHotkey

If neither of the above options suit your needs, you can create powerful hotkeys with  AutoHotkey (Opens in a new window) , a free program that comes with its own little scripting language for you to describe the actions you want your hotkeys to take. It's a bit more difficult to use than the software you get with  gaming keyboards , but if your keyboard doesn't come with its own remapping program, it's your next best bet.

After installing AutoHotkey, create your hotkeys by right-clicking anywhere in File Explorer and choosing  New > AutoHotkey Script . Right-click on the resulting file and open it in Notepad. Create basic hotkeys by adding a line like this:

This remaps Caps Lock to the right Windows key. You can add a comment above it using a semicolon (;) to remind you of what that hotkey does or why.

SharpKeys is a better choice for a simple remapping like this, but let's say you wanted to do something slightly more complicated, like remap remap Ctrl + Shift + Esc to Caps Lock, so you can see the Task Manager with one keypress. You would create a line in your script like this:

Where ^ corresponds to Ctrl and + to Shift,  as described here (Opens in a new window) .

This is where AutoHotkey becomes more powerful. You can create hotkeys to  type certain lines of text (Opens in a new window) ,  run a program or batch file (Opens in a new window) , or  create shortcuts for specific programs (Opens in a new window) . You can even have one hotkey perform multiple actions in a series, giving you robust control over your shortcuts.

Once you've finished adding your hotkeys to the script, save the file and double-click on it. This will launch AutoHotkey in the system tray, and it will run in the background interpreting your hotkeys for you. Just quit the program at any time to set your keys back to their default actions.

(I recommend adding your .ahk script to Windows' startup folder, located at  %APPDATA%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup , so it will automatically run every time you turn on your computer.)

There's more to AutoHotkey than we could ever fit into one small article, so check out the  AutoHotkey documentation (Opens in a new window)  and  forums (Opens in a new window)  for more advanced instructions and ideas. If you can imagine it, there's almost certainly a way to make AutoHotkey do it.

Reassign Simple Shortcuts on a Mac Keyboard

If you want to customize existing keyboard shortcuts on a Mac , open System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts . You can then browse through existing shortcuts for taking a screenshot, showing the desktop, using accessibility options, and more. To make a change, double-click on the current keys for a specific action, then press the new configuration on your keyboard.

Your new action must use the Control, Option, or Command key. So for instance, if you want to change how you open the screenshot menu , select Screenshots and double-click the keyboard shortcut next to Screenshot and recording options . You can then change the Shift + Command + 5 shortcut to something simpler like Option + Z.

For one-button shortcuts, turn to the function key. Check the box next to Use F1, F2, etc. keys as standard function keys on the Keyboard settings page, then open the Shortcuts tab and set a function key to perform a certain action with a single button. Instead of using Function + F1, you can now just press F1 to take screenshots.

If your new shortcut is being used by a different action, macOS will warn you about an issue. You can also disable actions by unchecking the box next to it. Unfortunately, you won't be able to turn one key into another or create custom shortcuts like you can with some Windows programs. For more powerful options, you can turn to the free programs Karabiner-Elements (Opens in a new window) and FunctionFlip (Opens in a new window) .

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How to Remap a Keyboard in Windows 10

Use microsoft powertoys to reassign keys and change keyboard shortcuts.

assign keyboard keys windows

What to Know

This article explains how to remap a keyboard in Windows 10. Instructions apply to external keyboards and the built-in keyboards of Windows-based laptops.

How to Change a Keyboard Layout in Windows 10

The easiest way to customize your keyboard is by using PowerToys, a free program made by Microsoft. It allows you to reassign keys and change your keyboard shortcuts using a simple interface. PowerToys also enables you to personalize the layout and appearance of the operating system.

Can You Reassign Keyboard Keys?

Follow these steps to reassign keys in Windows 10:

Download Microsoft Power Toys and install it on your PC.

Open Power Toys and select Keyboard Manager in the left sidebar.

Select Remap a Key .

If the keyboard options are grayed out, select the Enable Keyboard Manager switch.

Select the Plus ( + ) under Key .

Under Key , choose the key you want to reassign from the drop-down menu, or select Type and enter a key.

Under Mapped To , choose the new key. If you want to switch two keys, repeat steps 5 and 6 to create another entry, reversing the keys.

To reset the key to its default, return to this screen and select the Trashcan icon beside the entry.

Select OK .

Select Continue Anyway , if you see a notice telling you you'll no longer be able to use the keys for their original purpose.

How to Remap Windows 10 Shortcuts

You can change keyboard shortcuts for specific apps or your whole system:

Open Microsoft Power Toys and select Keyboard Manager in the left sidebar, then select Remap a Shortcut .

Select the Plus ( + ) under Shortcut .

Choose the key you want to reassign from the drop-down menu under Shortcut or select Type and enter a keyboard shortcut.

Under Mapped To , choose the new key or shortcut.

Under Target Apps , enter the name of an app (if you leave this section blank, the change is applied system-wide).

How to Reset Keyboard Mapping

To set your key reassignments back to the defaults, go to Keyboard Manager in PowerToys, select Remap a shortcut , and then select the Trashcan icon beside the entry you want to delete.

How Can I Customize My Keyboard?

PowerToys lets you reassign keys and shortcuts, but some keyboards come with customization software that gives you even more control over how your device works. For example, you could create multi-key macros and insert blocks of text with a single keystroke. You can customize both with the Windows Mouse and Keyboard Center tool if you have an external keyboard and mouse.

If you need to reassign a key because it isn't working, you can enable the Windows 10 on-screen keyboard to access all keys.

Remapping a keyboard on a Mac works differently than on a Windows PC. While you can't wholly remap the keyboard, you can set up custom shortcuts. Go to the Apple menu > System Preferences > Keyboard and click the Shortcuts tab. Select a shortcut and highlight its existing key combination. Then, type in your new key combination, which will replace the previous shortcut.

If you want a hotkey to access a different shortcut or command, download the Windows Mouse and Keyboard Center and connect the keyboard you wish to configure. Open the Microsoft Mouse and Keyboard Center and choose the key you'd like to reassign, then select a command from the command list to become the key's new function.

You don't need to remap a Windows PC keyboard for use on a Mac, but you'll need to be aware of the Windows keyboard equivalents for Mac's special keys . For example, the Windows key is equivalent to the Mac's Command key. Also, key locations are different on a Windows keyboard. If you want to reassign a Windows keyboard key's location for use with your Mac so it's easier to find, go to the Apple menu > System Preferences > Keyboard . Select Modifier Keys , then switch the keys' functions to your liking.

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How to Remap Any Key or Shortcut on Windows 10

Benj Edwards is a former Associate Editor for How-To Geek. Now, he is an AI and Machine Learning Reporter for Ars Technica. For over 15 years, he has written about technology and tech history for sites such as The Atlantic, Fast Company, PCMag, PCWorld, Macworld, Ars Technica, and Wired. In 2005, he created Vintage Computing and Gaming, a blog devoted to tech history. He also created The Culture of Tech podcast and regularly contributes to the Retronauts retrogaming podcast. Read more...

Lowell is the founder and CEO of How-To Geek. He’s been running the show since creating the site back in 2006. Over the last decade, Lowell has personally written more than 1000 articles which have been viewed by over 250 million people. Prior to starting How-To Geek, Lowell spent 15 years working in IT doing consulting, cybersecurity, database management, and programming work. Read more...

Windows Key

Would you like to use a different keyboard key to perform a certain task in Windows 10? Thanks to PowerToys , it’s easy to remap any key to another key or even a shortcut combination on your keyboard. Here’s how to set it up.

The Secret Is PowerToys

In the past, remapping keys in Windows 10 required a difficult-to-use third-party program. Today, Microsoft makes it easy with PowerToys , a free utility available for download online. Using PowerToys, you can make any key on your keyboard act like any other key—and even remap shortcuts.

If you don’t already have PowerToys installed, download it for free from Github. After you install it, launch PowerToys Settings, then click “Keyboard Manager” in the sidebar. In the “Keyboard Manager” settings, click “Remap a Key.”

When the “Remap Keyboard” window pops up, click the plus button (“+”) to add a new key mapping.

After that, you’ll need to define which key you want to remap (in the “Key:” column), and what key or shortcut you want it to perform (in the “Mapped To:” column).

First, select the key you’ll be remapping in the “To:” column by either clicking the “Type” button and pressing the key on your keyboard, or by selecting it from the list in the drop-down menu. For example, we’ll pick Scroll Lock here, since it often sits unused.

RELATED: How to Make Your Scroll Lock Key Useful on a Windows 10 PC

Next, select the key or shortcut you want to perform in the “Mapped To” column. For a single key, you can either choose it from the drop-down menu or click the “Type” button, then press it on your keyboard.

If you want to use a shortcut key combination, press the “Type” button, then press the combination on your keyboard. For example, here we’ve typed “Ctrl+C” for the standard Windows “Copy” shortcut.

After you have both “Key:” and “Mapped To:” columns defined, click “OK.”

If you see a warning that one key will be left unassigned, click “Continue Anyway.” This means that you won’t be able to access the original function of the key that you just remapped.

(In our example, there will be no way to use Scroll Lock unless you remap another key to perform the original Scroll Lock function).

Next, you’ll see the resulting mapping listed in the “Keyboard Manager” settings. That means your custom mapping has been saved and is now active.

If you want to add more mappings, click “Remap a key” again. When you’re done, close PowerToys Settings completely, and your remapped key (or keys) will remain in effect. Use them as much as you’d like. You can always go back and adjust your mappings later if necessary.

How to Remove the New Key Mapping

Later on, if you want to remove the custom mapping you made, relaunch Power Toys Settings, then click “Keyboard Manager” and “Remap a key” again. In the list of mappings, click the trash can icon beside the mapping you’d like to delete.

The mapping will be removed. After that, click “OK” to close the window. Then you can either exit PowerToys completely or create a new mapping using the guide above. Have fun!

RELATED: How to Remap Any Key or Shortcut on Windows 11

How to Disable or Remap Keys Using SharpKeys [Alternative Method]

The major problem with PowerToys is that the remappings only work if the PowerToys application is running, so they won’t work on the login screen. There also seem to be issues with the remappings not working properly in games and some other places. The solution? Use the old-school Windows Registry key remapping technique… but do it the easy way, using the open-source SharpKeys application.

SharpKeys won’t let you remap shortcut key combinations, so you can’t remap ALT+C to CTRL+C, for example, but you can do things like remap or disable the Caps Lock key on any version of Windows .

Install the application from their Github project page or from the Microsoft Store , open it up (clicking through the annoying Windows SmartScreen warnings), and then click the Add button to open up the Add New Key Mapping dialog.

We’ve been using SharpKeys literally since Windows Vista was around. That’s a long time.

RELATED: All Microsoft's PowerToys for Windows 10 and 11, Explained

assign keyboard keys windows

Remapping the keyboard

To access the Keyboard window, either click the Remap button on the toolbar, click Edit > Preferences > Keyboard, or click Keyboard in the session properties. The numberic keys 0-9 and * and # can be remapped.

If you want to assign a key or key combination to a custom function that is not currently listed in Keyboard Remap under the Custom Functions category, you can define these functions using the Custom Function Editor . When you do this, the Custom Functions category will appear with your newly defined functions, which can then be assigned to any key. Complete the assignment by following the steps for Assigning keys to functions , choosing Custom Functions as the category.

You can optionally define a custom function in the HTML or Java script file used to start the sessions. See adding additional HTML parameters for more information.

Duplicate keys on a keyboard can be assigned to independent functions.  Duplicate keys include keys like Shift or Ctrl that occur in multiple places on the keyboard.  To assign unique mappings for duplicate keys, follow the steps for Assigning keys to functions . 

This support does not affect keys used as modifiers.  If you use Ctrl, Alt, Shift or Meta in combination with another key, then no key location is processed with regard to the modifier.  For example, for the key combination Shift+Enter, the location of the Shift key is disregarded.  Therefore, the right or left Shift keys both act in the same manner for this combination, since the Shift key is defined as the modifier.

To find out if a key has already been assigned to a function:

Restrictions on key remapping

Please note the following restrictions on key remapping:

When using Java 2 with Host On-Demand, the Ctrl-Tab and the Ctrl-Shift-Tab key combinations cannot be remapped. With Java 2, these key combinations are consumed by the Java Focus Manager and are not returned to Host On-Demand for processing.

Certain key combinations are treated in a similar fashion and cannot be assigned to different keyboard functions.

Duplicate key support only applies to Host On-Demand clients running with a Java Plug-in of 1.4.0 or newer. Macintosh clients require a JRE of version 1.4.2 or newer for duplicate key support.  If the JRE is older than version 1.4.2, it does not recognize the locations of keys on the keyboard.

For JREs older than version 1.4, key events, such as key pressed and key released, are dependent upon the operating system and keyboard layout of the machine where they are processed. The JRE makes no distinction between the following: 

Duplicate key support does not affect keys used as modifiers.  If you use Ctrl, Alt, Shift or Meta in combination with another key, then no key location is processed with regard to the modifier.  A Host On-Demand user or administrator cannot assign different key remapping functions to the following: 

The JRE processes these key combinations as the same key event. For example, if since Right Ctrl+P is processed in the same way as Left Ctrl+P by the JRE, then these key combinations cannot be assigned to different key remapping functions in Host On-Demand.

If you reassign a duplicate key that is a left Shift/Ctrl/Alt/Meta key or a numpad key, and you bring up Host On-Demand in a previous Java release (or Host On-Demand version 8.0 or earlier), you will receive an Unknown key code message.  

Some duplicate keys do not appear on all keyboards, however, Java is not capable of testing to see if a particular key exists.  Therefore, the key remapping facility might have default assignments for keys that do not exist on your keyboard.  You can delete these key remaps, but you will not be able to reassign them.

When you are mapping keys as an administrator, keep in mind that some clients might not have the same keyboard layout that you do (for example, the user may lack the Meta Key or Command key on Macintosh). Plan your mappings accordingly, otherwise clients might not be able to use some of the default mappings.

By default, Host On-Demand now provides APL keyboard support. Prior to this, APL keyboard support was provided by running customized applet in Host On-demand. In this case, you need to write the applet that contains your mapping for APL keys. With this new enhancement, you no longer need to do this. The APL support in Host On-demand is similar to what is provided with IBM Personal Communications. APL keyboard can be enabled or disabled by pressing Ctrl+F8 . APL support is meant only for 3270 sessions.

How To Remap the Keys on Any Laptop

It's possible to improve on your keyboard's defaults..

You may have never realized it, but you don’t necessarily have to settle for the keyboard defaults that you get on your laptop out of the box: If you want different keys to trigger different actions besides the default ones, it’s possible to customize them—and that opens up a wealth of new options for you in terms of productivity and getting stuff done. Here’s what you need to do to customize your key bindings on Windows laptops, MacBooks, and Chromebooks.

Microsoft’s very own PowerToys is perhaps the best option for remapping keys on Windows, and you can download it here . Besides keyboard customizations, there are other tools for keeping certain windows on top of others, splitting up your desktop into custom zones, picking colors from anywhere on your computer screen, and more besides. When PowerToys launches after installation, you’ll see all these tools listed on the left.

For our purposes, you need to click the entry marked Keyboard Manager . You’ll get a brief spiel about how it works, and if you select Open Settings you can start making changes: With the Enable Keyboard Manager toggle switch turned on, click Remap a key to do just that. You need to specify the physical key (the actual key on your keyboard) and the mapped key (what happens when the physical key is pressed), and this is done by either picking out keys from a list or typing them directly.

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The utility covers everything from individual key presses (make the E key put a B on the screen) to keyboard shortcuts (make Ctrl+V work like Ctrl+C instead) to function keys (make the F1 key work like the F2 key). For shortcuts, you need to choose Remap a shortcut from the main screen rather than Remap a key , but it works in the same way. On either dialog, click on the trash can on the right to remove a particular remap.

You do have a few third-party options when it comes to remapping keys and creating your own custom keyboard shortcuts on Windows. AutoHotKey is a more complex and more powerful scripting program, and it lets you do just about anything you like with specific key presses, from launching applications to filling out forms. There’s also an older tool called WinHotKey which still works with modern versions of Windows, enabling you to quickly and easily set up custom keyboard shortcuts.

There is some functionality built into macOS when it comes to remapping the keyboard, but it only applies to keyboard shortcuts (combinations of keys) rather than individual keys. Open up the Apple menu, choose System Preferences and then pick Keyboard and Shortcuts . You’ll be met with all the keyboard shortcuts that are currently set up on your Mac system—they’re organized by category, and you can use the checkboxes to toggle them on and off individually.

To modify any of these keyboard shortcuts, click the key press combination on the right to enter a new one. In some cases, there’s no current keyboard shortcut, so you can create a brand new one. If you try and set a keyboard shortcut that’s already been assigned to something else, you’ll see a warning in the form of a small yellow exclamation mark. To undo all of your changes, click Restore Defaults .

You can get more control over keyboard remapping with the help of a third-party application. The best one that we’ve come across for remapping individual keys is Remap Keyboard —it will set you back $7, but you can download and try it out for free to see if it suits your needs first. To set up a new customization, click the + (plus button) in the lower left corner, then tap the original key followed by the key (or shortcut) you want it to link to.

For even more control over shortcuts, Alfred is a comprehensive productivity tool for Mac that includes keyboard shortcut customizations as part of its repertoire of features—you can create some shortcuts for free while the most advanced ones require the Powerpack extension (that’s £29 or about $37). Another option is Keyboard Maestro , which can set up even more complicated shortcuts, tie them together, and take care of options like program launches and text macros—that will set you back $36, but there’s a free trial available.

Chromebook keyboards have their own set of particular quirks—like the way that the Caps Lock button is replaced by a Launcher button instead—but again, you don’t have to settle for the defaults if you don’t want to. This being Chrome OS though, you’re stuck with the options that Google has built into the operating system, and you can’t download and install third-party tools to tweak the keyboard further.

Click the clock (lower right) and then the cog icon to open up the Chrome OS Settings pane, then choose Device and Keyboard . You’ve got a few different options to play around with here: You can set the repeat rate speed for example, and change the language of the keyboard you’re using. The remap options are listed at the top of the screen, and these are the only customization options available on the Chromebook keyboard.

Pick from any of the entries in the list to reassign the function of the key. For example, you can click the entry for the aforementioned Launcher button and change it to the more conventional Caps Lock , if you want to. If you’re not happy with the Ctrl and Alt modifiers, then you can swap them around, or disable them altogether. The dedicated Assistant button can also be remapped.

Also note the Treat top-row keys as function keys toggle switch, which does exactly what the label suggests it might—you can use the top row of keys on your Chromebook for triggering conventional function keys instead of the default shortcuts. There’s also a link on this screen to see the built-in keyboard shortcuts on your Chromebook, although these can’t be edited.

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How to remap keys using Keyboard Manager in Microsoft's PowerToys


Windows takes advantage of a variety of keyboard keys and shortcuts to run different actions and commands. 

More how-tos

Num Lock turns on the number pad. F1 conjures up a Help screen. Ctrl+C copies an item. Windows key+E opens File Explorer. 

But you're not stuck with the existing keys or shortcuts. You can modify many of them with the help of a PowerToys tool called Keyboard Manager.

Using Keyboard Manager, you're able to set various commands to use different keys and shortcuts other than their default ones. For example, maybe you want F1 to turn on the number pad or Windows key+C to copy an item. 

As long as the key or shortcut follows certain rules and doesn't conflict with keys and shortcuts reserved by Windows, you can redefine it however you'd like. Here's how this works.

Also: Yes, you can still get a free Windows 10 upgrade. Here's how

1. Download the PowerToysSetup.exe file

If you don't yet have PowerToys on your PC, download and install the PowerToysSetup.exe file from the  program's GitHub page . PowerToys and its tools work the same in  Windows 10  and  Windows 11 .

2. Turn on Run at startup

For the changes you make in Keyboard Manager to always be in effect, PowerToys needs to run at startup. To confirm this, open PowerToys, select General , and make sure the switch is turned on for  Run at startup . Next, select Keyboard Manager and confirm that its switch is on.


Open Keyboard Manager in PowerToys.

3. Figure out what you can and can't do

Before you try remapping specific keys and shortcuts, you'll want to find out what you can and can't do. Click the link for  Learn more about remapping limitations  to see which keys can't be remapped. 

For example, you can't remap Win+L (locks Windows) or Ctrl+Alt+Del (gives you access to Task Manager) as those are reserved shortcuts. But you can remap the function keys F1-F12. If you try to redefine a reserved key in Keyboard Manager, you'll get a slap on the wrist to prevent you from proceeding.

4. Remap a key

Click the entry for  Remap a key . To choose the physical key you want to remap, click the + button. For example, maybe you want to redefine F12 to open a Help screen. You can select it one of two ways. 

Click the dropdown window and scroll through all the choices until you find the one you want.

Alternatively, click the Type button and press the key you wish to redefine. Then click OK to submit it.

Also: How to use free PowerToys FancyZones in Windows and why you should


Choose the physical key for remapping.


Type the physical key for remapping.

5. Select the key to which you want to remap the physical one

Next, select the key to which you want to remap the physical one. 

For example, to replace F1 with F12 as the Help command, choose F1 as the mapped-to key. Either click the dropdown menu and select the mapped-to key from the list, or click the Type button and press the key. When you're done, click OK to activate the remapping.


Define the mapped-to key.

6. Check if you receive a notice

Depending on the physical key you chose, you may receive a notice telling you that the keys do not have assignments. Though the message sounds strange, it appears simply to warn you that the physical key will no longer be assigned to its previous command. Click  Continue Anyway  to confirm the remapping.


Continue Anyway.

7. Open an application or window

Now, open an application or window in which you can try the new key assignment. For example, if you replaced F1 with F12 to display a Help screen, open an app that offers help and press F12.


Try out the remapped key.

8. Click Remap a key

Return to Keyboard Manager and click the entry for  Remap a key . Here, you can redefine either key for the remapping you just created, delete the remapping altogether, or click the + button to create another remapping. Instead, though, let's look at how to remap a keyboard shortcut.

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Add another key to remap.

How to remap a shortcut

At the main Keyboard Manager screen, click the entry for Remap a shortcut . Click the dropdown menu to select the physical shortcut or click the Type key to type it. The shortcut must start with a modifier key, meaning Alt, Ctrl, Shift, or Win. After choosing or typing the modifer key, select or type the accompanying key. For example, if you wish to redefine Win+F, choose Win in the first column and F in the second column.


Choose the physical shortcut.

Next, choose the shortcut or key that you wish to remap to the physical shortcut you selected. For example, if you want Win+E to be the mapped-to shortcut, choose Win in the first column and E in the second. You can also select an individual key instead of a shortcut.


Choose the mapped-to shortcut or key.

By default, your new mapping will work across Windows and all applications. But you may want to limit it to just a specific app, such as Microsoft Word or Google Chrome. 

To do this, you first need to find the name of the app's executible file. Right-click on the shortcut for the app in the Start menu, go to More , and select Open file location . Right-click on the app's icon in File Explorer and select Properties . The name of the executable file appears in the Target field. Copy and paste or type that filename in the field under Target App. When done, click OK .

Also: How to shrink your images with the PowerToys Image Resizer  


Limit the shortcut to a specific application.

If you limited the remapping to a specific app, open that app. Otherwise, go anywhere in Windows. Press the new keystroke you defined to make sure that it triggers the command from the original physical keystroke.


Try out the new shortcut.


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Missing a Key? How to Remap and Fix Your Keyboard Layout

Missing a key on your keyboard? Or just want to improve productivity? Learn how to remap your keyboard keys!

Whether you're missing a key on your keyboard or you want to improve your productivity, remapping can be extremely useful.

Remapping keys on your computer's keyboard lets you replace one key with another, allowing you to personalize your keyboard exactly how you like it. Don't like the location of a particular key? Don't worry, just change it.

But before you jump to remapping your keyboard's keys, let's first have a look at different ways in which it can be useful.

Improve Your Productivity

Here are a few situations where you might want to remap your keys, and we'll go through each of them to see how to do it best.

Interested in any of these? Read on to find out how to make the most use out of them—but first, let's look at the software that makes this possible.

Key Remapping Software

Several options are available for Windows users to remap their keys. Our favorite is SharpKeys, but KeyTweak and Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator are both viable options as well.

SharpKeys is great because it allows you to map a key by typing it. So if you want to change your Caps Lock to a Shift, you don't have to search through a long list for those terms. Just hit your Caps Lock button and then hit your Shift button, and you're done.

After you've selected the keys that you want to swap, click Write to Registry . The app will then ask you to reboot your PC for the changes to take effect. Save your other important work and hit Yes to restart your PC. On the next boot-up, your keys will have been swapped.

When you want to remove these changes, select the keys that you mapped, and click on Delete to remove the specific mapping. Click on Write to Registry again.

With a different layout that may be easier for some people to understand, KeyTweak is another good option. First, click on the key you want to change. Then, find the key you want to be switched from the drop-down menu in front of Choose New Remapping . It even has two Teach Modes at the bottom to help you get started.

Click Apply to make the changes. When you want to reverse the changes, select Restore All Defaults .

Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator

This option is nice because it comes officially from Microsoft. It's clean and easy to use, though it doesn't offer the most options since certain keys like Shift and Caps Lock cannot be remapped.

To get started, select File > Load Existing Keyboard . Next, pick a layout that you would like to customize. But before you go ahead, head to File > Save Source File As to create a backup in case something goes south.

Set the parameters from Project > Properties . Select any key and follow the instructions to replace it with some other key.

Change Keyboard Layout for Gaming

Gaming controls don't have to be so static. In fact, with some voice control and key remapping, even disabled gamers can play anything. Key remapping can be useful for everybody, though, disabled or not.

If the in-game controller options don't allow you to customize your keys, or they don't offer certain keys as options, change them with your chosen remapping software.

For left-handed gamers, switching everything from the right side to the left side can be extremely useful. If your keyboard has a number pad on the right side, simply assign all the numbers to the left for a better gaming experience.

Improve Browser Productivity

This is one of our favorite tweaks and has enhanced our productivity. Switching between tabs is an extremely common task, but the keyboard shortcuts aren't super intuitive.

On Chrome for Windows, switching to the next tab requires Ctrl + Tab or Ctrl + PgDown, while switching to the previous tab requires Ctrl + Shift + Tab or Ctrl + PgUp.

Neither are very intuitive options since the Page Up and Page Down keys are usually far away from Ctrl, and the Ctrl + Shift + Tab function just requires too many fingers in an awkward distribution to be comfortable.

The solution? Get rid of some unused keys and get a better tab-switching shortcut. A lot of keyboards have a right-click button in the lower right next to the Ctrl and Alt keys.

Mapping PgUp to the Alt key allows you to hold the Ctrl button in the bottom right and then, using the same hand, hit the Alt key to switch to your previous tab. Then, with the right-click button to the right of it, you can map that to PgDown and have a next tab button. Now, a simple two-button press moves you around tabs quickly in both directions.

The lists of Chrome keyboard shortcuts and Firefox keyboard shortcuts are extensive. Browse through them, and if you see any shortcuts that might be extremely useful but are placed awkwardly, remap some of your unused keys for them. Function keys along the top are usually good for this, or ScrLk, Insert, Home, and End keys.

Related: Keyboard Shortcuts Users Keep Hitting Mistakenly

Launch And Switch Apps Quickly

Launching your favorite apps is actually straightforward and doesn't even require remapping software. Simply create a shortcut for the application you want on your desktop, then right-click on that shortcut and select Properties. Go to the Shortcut tab, click on the field titled Shortcut Key , and press the key that you want to launch the app.

As this key will launch the app from anywhere on your computer (whether Modern or Desktop), it should be something you don't often use, like one of your function keys.

If you want to get a bit fancier, you can even launch multiple apps using a batch file.

For switching between apps, Windows already has a variety of shortcuts—the trick is making a shortcut that is easier to use (though you won't be able to use the browser trick mentioned in the previous section).

By switching your right-click key to a Tab key, the necessary shortcut for switching between apps (both Modern and Desktop), Alt + Tab , is much easier to reach. Just use your right hand to hold Alt and tap the " right-click " key to switch rapidly between all your open apps.

Related: Top Windows Apps That You Have to Install

Use a Foreign Keyboard With Ease

If you're used to a QWERTY keyboard and try to use a keyboard from another country, you'll probably run into some trouble. If you can find a deal on an AZERTY or QWERTZ laptop, don't let that keyboard hold you back—you can just remap the keys!

With the software solutions detailed above, just change the few keys that aren't in the correct places, and it's as if you're using your keyboard from home. Just don't change it on your non-tech savvy friend's computer and then forget about it!

Use a Better Keyboard Layout

Honestly, QWERTY isn't the best keyboard layout out there; it's just what most of us are used to. But there is a solution that can make your typing faster and reduce stress on your fingers: learn a new keyboard layout like Colemak or Dvorak.

With keyboard remapping, you can change a few keys at a time to get yourself acquainted with the new keyboard style, and once you're all in, just change all your keys. It's best to learn the new keys for memorization, but you can purchase small stickers to place over your keys to help guide you on your keyboard transition.

Make Use Of Your Underused Keys

The Caps Lock key seems to be pretty universally hated. In fact, many people are not a fan of the useless Function keys and the Ctrl and Alt on the right side of the keyboard. You probably hate or don't use some keys yourself. But don't let them go to waste. Change them into something you'll actually use.

For instance, your Caps Lock key can become any number of things: a shift key, a search button like in Chrome OS, or a backspace. Your function keys can be used to sleep or power off your computer or even as media controls.

Fix a Missing Key

Do you have a missing or broken key? Just map around it. It might take some adjustment because you'll keep reaching for where the key used to be, but it's a good temporary fix until you can get a new keyboard with functioning keys.

For example, if your backspace key is broken, you're bound to face difficulties at work. Just map it to a key right next to it and move that lesser-used key to a key you would never otherwise use, like a Function key.

Any Other Advice For Key Remapping?

These are just a few cases in which key remapping could be useful, but there are certainly more. Hopefully, you got what you came for, or at the very least, are more knowledgeable about key mapping in the Windows environment.

How to Remap Keyboard in Windows 10, 8, 7, and Vista

How to Remap Keyboard in Windows 10, 8, 7, and Vista

author-Team Beebom

Remap Keyboard in Windows 10 Using Third Party Tools

Why the need of remapping windows keyboard.

So, if any of these reasons make sense to you, here is how you can remap keyboard on your Windows 10, 8,7, and Windows machine.

Remap Keys on Windows 10 with SharpKeys

Add Key

Select Keys

Write to Registry

Reassign Keyboard Keys in Windows 10 Using Other Tools

1. keytweak.

KeyTweak is a tool which offers multiple ways – three, to be precise – to remap a key. The first is using the virtual keyboard. This method allows you to choose a key that you want to map, and then select the key, from a drop-down menu, to which you want to map it. The second way, the Half Teach Mode, works very similarly. The third (and the last) way is the Full Teach Mode. This allows you to press both the from and to mapping keys. Using this tool can get a bit of confusing as this uses scan-codes instead of the usual characters.


2. Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator

Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator

3. AutoHotkey

AutoHotkey takes a different approach for remapping the keys. Instead of the standard registry tweaking, it allows you to create scripts that you can run . A major advantage that you get with this tool is the ability to export the scripts as executable files. Though this does not have an interface as such, the steps for creating and executing scripts can easily be found in the tutorial of the tool. This tool brings more features and is really powerful. Not only you can remap keyboard keys but you can also create key binds, create keyboard executable automation, and more . Note that all these pro features also mean that you will have to invest time in learning this app. If you just want to remap your Windows keyboard, the above tools will be more than enough.


4. Key Remapper

4. Key Remapper

Remap Keys on Windows 10 with PowerToys

How to Remap Keyboard in Windows 10, 8, 7, and Vista

Install: ( Free )

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you fix keyboard typing wrong characters, why is my laptop not typing, how do i change my laptop keyboard back to normal, what are keyboard hotkeys, how do you fix keys on a laptop keyboard.

You’ll have to replace the laptop keyboard or remap the non-functional keys with functional ones using one of the apps like SharpKeys, KeyTweak, or PowerToys.

What is key mapping?

How do i unlock my keyboard on windows 10, why are my keyboard buttons messed up, how do you check if all keyboard keys are working, remap keyboard in windows 10 easily with these tools.

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tried keytweak and it worked for me

Programmable keyboard like Corsair. Take it with you.

I think it’s better to go with standard one:

Works with microsoft products only

Thanks will try. I spilled beer over my keyboard, cleaned it, almost all keys work except k and p for some reason. So i will switch keys with ; or [

Another reason to need this: my Lenovo Yoga 510 has the right-hand shift key *outside* the up arrow, meaning I keep hitting UP and finding I’m typing in the middle of the line above, when I meant to capitalise a word. I might eventually get used to this but looked for a way of remapping instead – a new skill for me, delighted to find it can be done. Off to try SharpKeys now, and if it’s easy as it sounds, I can see myself customising my keyboard in lots of ways… Having a right-hand Function key instead of the AltGr that I almost never use, for example… yabbadabbadoo, fun fun fun.

Thx for add end of the software, i really like that software :3 (i am not friend with that person, i am a person download this software for osu)

ANOTHER REASON TO REMAP: If you have a weak right hand pinky like me, you can remap the Shift key to the never used (by me anyway) but thumb-pressable right ALT key (just to the right of the spacebar).

I want to be able to press the “star” key and have it print my name. I could do this in windows 7.

AutoHotKey can do that. See the description in the article above.

Todas o no servían o era demasiado complicadas Excepto por la 4. Key Remapper

Muchas gracias

Do any of these solutions let you quickly switch between mappings? A *lot* of laptop keyboards nowadays are coming without the embedded numeric keypad, and it’s driving me nuts – I don’t want to have to carry a separate keypad that is easily broken or lost. The ability to quickly switch between normal and custom with a quick keypress would be invaluable.

I have a laptop PC with a US key layout. Which is mostly OK, except that I have the machine set to UK, and I also sometimes use a separate UK keyboard. If I remap the keys so that they do what they say on the keycaps, it will be wrong when I plug in the external keyboard.

Is there a way to have a different keyboard map depending on whether an external keyboard is attached or not?

Willing to use AutoHotKey if it’s clever enough.

thnx a lot realy helped me <3

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