4 Keys Missing From Your Keyboard and How to Add Them

Ben Stegner 14-07-2017

Are there keys on your keyboard that you haven’t pressed for weeks? Even with the most common keyboard shortcuts Windows Keyboard Shortcuts 101: The Ultimate Guide Keyboard shortcuts can save you hours of time. Master the universal Windows keyboard shortcuts, keyboard tricks for specific programs, and a few other tips to speed up your work. Read More , you might never have reason to hit keys like Scroll Lock, some of the F1-F12 keys, or Pause. What you’d appreciate more are keys that let you access certain functions that you actually use immediately. Even better, you can add many of these to your existing keyboard.


That’s what we’re going to accomplish today. Here’s how to stop wasting keyboard space with functions you don’t use and add some useful new keys under your fingers!

1. Browser/App Shortcut Key

Chrome OS gets a lot right The Chrome OS Challenge: A New User's Day on a Chromebook What are Chromebooks like for someone who's used to a Windows or Mac setup? As a newcomer to Chrome OS, I'm here to tell you. Read More in the simplicity department. It’s the only operating system (OS) that ditches the Caps Lock key in favor of a more useful Search key.

Since you probably only ever hit Caps Lock by accident and end up typing out a paragraph that looks like you’re shouting, you won’t miss the key.

Thankfully, it’s not hard to rework the key into something better. We’ve written all you need to know to turn Caps Lock into a shortcut key to open your browser or a specific app. This relies on SharpKeys, a simple utility that lets you remap keys. Windows allows you to do this via editing the Registry 5 Windows 10 Registry Tweaks to Improve & Unlock Features The registry editor is the only way to enable some of Windows 10's hidden features. Here we'll show you easy tweaks like enabling the dark theme or hiding folders. Read More — SharpKeys does the heavy lifting for you.

Install the software, then open it by searching for SharpKeys in your Start Menu. You’ll see the main program window — click Add to create a new key mapping. For a quick shortcut, hit the Type Key button in the left window and hit a key to select the one you want to replace. Then, do the same on the right or scroll through the list to select the key’s new behavior.


sharpkeys remapping

You can simply map one key to another — for instance, make Caps Lock into another Shift key. But SharpKeys also supports functions, like App:Calculator and Media:Play/Pause. Take a look through the right list to find what’s most useful for you. When you’re done, click OK then Write to Registry. Then log out of Windows and back in to solidify the changes.

Caution: SharpKeys will not check what you’re changing for safety. Thus, if your computer requires the Ctrl + Alt + Del combination to log in and you disable the Del key through this software, you’ll have to reset Windows.

2. Clipboard Manager Shortcut

Everyone should use a clipboard manager Hold That Thought: 5 Reasons You Need A Clipboard Manager When you think about it, copy paste is kind of weird. You copy stuff, but there's no way to see it. And if you copy over what you had, it's gone – forever. Read More . You likely copy and paste text, images, and URLs constantly throughout the day. Being limited to one item on the clipboard at a time hinders productivity.


Someday Windows will include its own clipboard manager, but for now you’ll have to settle for one of the best free tools 6 Free Clipboard History Managers to Track What You Copy & Paste You need a clipboard manager because it can remember all the things you copy and paste. We have compiled five of the most functional tools to manage your clipboard history . Read More .

ditto keyboard shortcuts

Depending on which software you use, you can set your own keyboard shortcut for pulling up your clipboard history. This should be at the ready for you at all times since you surely paste more than you press Pause. For instance, by default, Ditto clipboard manager’s shortcut is set to Ctrl + ` (above Tab). You could abbreviate this even further to just ` on its own if you don’t type tildes or accents often, such as when learning a new language 5 Unusual Ways to Learn a Language on PC or Mobile Learning a new language is hard work. But there are some apps and tools to make it easier. Read More .

Now, whenever you press that key or key combo, you’re instantly ready to paste anything you’ve copied for the past several hours. That’s worth adding for sure!


3. Special Symbols With Alt Codes

Your keyboard contains a few common symbols like @, &, and =, but Windows holds hundreds more. Obviously, there isn’t room to fit them all on a standard keyboard, so they’re tucked behind the number pad on the right side of your keyboard. Hold Alt, type a series of numbers, then let go of Alt to insert a particular symbol.

You’ll have to remember the codes for each one you need, so it will take some memorization. We’ve covered 15 useful symbols 15 Common Symbols You Can Insert With the Alt Key Your keyboard has lots of symbols, but there are plenty more that aren't immediately accessible. Read More to get you started — check out a full list for more.

If your laptop doesn’t have a number pad, look for numbers usually placed on the 7-9, U-O, J-L, and M keys. These act as a makeshift number pad. Press Fn + Num Lock to lock these keys into their listed numbers. Hold Alt and you can use these just like a desktop keyboard.

Can’t remember these codes? You can create a custom shortcut 12+ Custom Windows Keyboard Shortcuts for the Geek in You Windows includes hundreds of keyboard shortcuts, but you can create your own shortcuts to nearly anything you'd like. Here's how to customize your Windows shortcuts. Read More to open the Character Map, a Windows utility that lets you copy and paste these symbols anywhere you need.


4. Use a Gaming Keyboard for Shortcuts

If you didn’t find the special keyboard keys you were looking for with the above methods, there’s another way. Many gaming keyboards have lots of extra buttons that you can program to perform whatever you want.

Even if you don’t play games on your computer, you can put these buttons to work for productivity. Plus, you enjoy the benefit of having a mechanical keyboard Which Mechanical Keyboard Should You Buy? 6 Keyboards for Typists and Gamers While CPUs and GPUs remain essential to computer performance, there's an underappreciated peripheral: the keyboard. Everyone uses keyboards, but few people think about them when buying a new PC. Read More !

The exact instructions will depend on your specific keyboard. If you have a Razer product, we’ve walked through the steps to record macros with Synapse Have A Razer Keyboard? Recording Macros Is Easy With Synapse If you use Razer peripherals but don't take advantage the Synapse software, you're missing out. Here's how to use macros effectively and how they can supercharge your gaming. Read More . You could assign an awkward keyboard shortcut to a single key, or even set a shortcut key to open a website or app. Since many gaming keyboards have extra keys, you don’t have to sacrifice an existing key (like one of the F keys) that you might need at some point.

What Extra Keys Have You Added?

We’ve covered five major ways to add extra functionality to your keyboard by re-purposing existing keys and even adding new ones. With a bit of work, you can make those keys more useful and ignore the functions you don’t use anyway. You’ll be more productive than ever! And if your keyboard is having issues, you can also use these tricks to fix your keyboard layout Missing A Key? How To Remap & Fix Your Keyboard Layout Whether you're missing a key on your keyboard or just want to improve your productivity, remapping can be extremely useful. We'll show you how. Read More .

Continue your quest for keyboard mastery by reviewing the coolest tricks that few people know Some Cool Keyboard Tricks Few People Know About Your mouse disrupts your workflow. Every time you use it, you're losing a tiny bit of focus and time. It's high time to learn powerful keyboard shortcuts for Windows, your browser, and more. Read More .

Which new keyboard keys have you added? Do you have another method not listed here? Tell us your thoughts down in the comments!

Related topics: Clipboard, Gaming Tips, Keyboard Shortcuts, Windows Customization.

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  1. salkis
    July 15, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    Texter is my favorite, you can use that to change the keys or key sequence.

    I regularly use autohotkey also.
    use this script to make Capslock behave as Enter,
    Shift+Capslock will trigger toggle the usual Capslock .
    there is no Enter button on the left side of the key board. This script will help you to accomplish that.


  2. Fik of Borg
    July 14, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    Sometimes I use Caps Lock, but Scroll Lock? I don't even remember what it was for (now it controls my KVM switch). Another key is Pause/Break, I seem to remember having used it, but it has been years ... I think it is the only clean key in my keyboard.

  3. billdehaan
    July 14, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    I've been using AutoHotkey for years. It not only allows the mapping and remapping of individual keys, it also allows for the mapping of key groupings. So I can not only remap the CapsLock key, I can and have mapped keys like A, and J.

    I've added so many hotkeys that each mapping set uses the "H" key to pop up a menu reminding me of what the other keys are :-) H shows all the mappings, H shows all the ones, H shows all the ones, H shows all the mappings, etc., etc.

    Keys can be mapped to applications, or macros, which can do stuff like switch to an application if it's running, or launch it if it isn't.

  4. Jon
    July 14, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    I miss a lot of characters on Windows that I have by default on the Mac. These are Option-key symbols like ™ or © or –, —„”…?•° I use all of these rather frequently on my Mac, and found it frustrating to get them on Windows. I even tried PopChar, but finally found the best way, for me at least, was to use AutoHotKey and program them all into a script file, substituting the Alt key for the Option key, and mapping them all to the same keys as on my Mac keyboard. Put the script file in my auto startup folder, and I'm good to go. Honestly, I don't know how Windows users put up with the Alt-numpad combos. :-)