This article shows a simple way to remap keys in Windows. A pretty useful trick to repurpose unused or damaged keys on your keyboard.
Are you tired of constantly reaching for the mouse or struggling to remember keyboard shortcuts? Do you wish there was a way to customize your keyboard and make it work better for you? Well, good news: with the ability to remap keys in Windows, you can easily change the function of any key on your keyboard to suit your needs and preferences.
Whether you’re a gamer looking to gain a competitive edge, a designer in need of quick access to specialized tools, or just someone looking to streamline their workflow, remapping keys can be a highly useful feature.
Generally, most keyboards have several unused keys like function keys, insert, page down, page up, end, pause/break, end, home, scroll lock, properties key, etc. Why not reassign it to something else when you are not using a specific key on your keyboard? For example, I remapped function keys to launch programs I use frequently.
The same is true for damaged keys.
So why not give it a try and remap keys in Windows and see how it can improve your experience? Let me show you how.
Table of contents:
Why remap keys on the keyboard?
Users may want to remap keys on their keyboard in Windows for a variety of reasons. For example, if a key on their keyboard is broken or not functioning properly, they can use key remapping to assign a different key to perform the same function. This can be especially useful for gaming, where a missing or malfunctioning key can be a serious inconvenience.
Another reason to remap keys is to improve the usability and ergonomics of the keyboard. For example, if a user frequently uses a certain key combination but finds it difficult to reach or remember, they can remap the keys to make them more accessible. This can help reduce strain on the hands and fingers and make it easier to use the keyboard for extended periods.
Additionally, remapping keys can be useful for users who want to customize their keyboard to suit their specific needs and preferences. For example, a graphic designer might remap keys to provide quick access to commonly used tools and functions, while a gamer might remap keys to create custom hotkeys for in-game actions.
Overall, key remapping can be a valuable tool for users who want to improve the functionality and usability of their keyboards.
The steps below work the same in Windows 10 and 11.
How to remap keys in Windows
Since Windows has no built-in options, we will use a free, open-source software called AutoHotKey. If you don’t know, AutoHotKey is an automation software that lets you create custom hotkeys to execute a simple or complex sequence of actions, including remapping keys on your keyboard.
- Get AutoHotKey and install it.
- Right-click on the desktop.
- Choose “New -> Text Document.”
- Rename the file to “filename.ahk.”
- Right-click on the file.
- Choose the “Edit Script” option.
- Use the AutoHotKey syntax to remap keys. Here’s an example of remapping A to B., i.e., pressing A on your keyboard prints B on the screen.
;Remap a to b
- Do the same for other keys you want to remap.
- Press “Ctrl + S” to save the file.
- Close the text editor.
- Double-click on the AHK file.
- With that, you’ve successfully remapped keys in Windows.
Download AutoHotKey: https://www.autohotkey.com/download/
Steps with more details:
First, download and install AutoHotKey.
To remap keys using AutoHotKey, we need to create a custom script. So, right-click on the desktop and select “New -> Text Document.”
This will create a new text document. Rename the text document to anything you want while making sure that you replace the
.txt extension with
.ahk. For instance, I renamed the file to reassign.ahk.
After creating and renaming the file, right-click on it and select “Edit Script.” This action will open the file in your default text or code editor. In most cases, it’s the Notepad.
To remap a key using AutoHotKey, you must use the syntax below. With the below code, the A key is remapped to the B key. This means when you press the A key, it will print B on the screen.
;Remap a to b a::b
Another example: I use a ten-keyless keyboard with no dedicated Print Screen key. But for some reason, it has the Insert key. Since I regularly use the Print Screen key to take screenshots, I remapped the Insert key to the Print Screen key with the below code.
;Remap Insert key to PrintScreen Insert::PrintScreen
Using the same format, you can remap or reassign almost any key on your keyboard. You need to know the AutoHotKey names of the keys you are trying to remap. Thankfully, AutoHotKey has a dedicated key list page that lists all the keys. Please take a look at it.
Now, save the file using the “Ctrl + S” shortcut or select the “File -> Save” option and close it.
Finally, double-click on the newly created script file to run it. That is it. The script runs silently in the background and functions as it should. You will see the “AutoHotKey” icon in the taskbar.
From now on, the target key is remapped according to your settings.
That is all. It is that simple to reassign or remap keys in Windows. To get the most out of the script, add the AutoHotKey script to Windows startup. That way, you don’t have to launch the script manually for the remappings to work.
Additionally, there is also a dedicated doc page that lists different combinations in great detail. Check it out.
I hope this simple and easy Windows how-to guide helped you.
If you are stuck or need help, send an email, and I will try to help as much as possible.