An average keyboard has 100+ keys. A gaming keyboard might have more. Each key has a purpose; but more often than not the purpose of some keys escapes us. In all my years of computing, I haven’t used all the Function keys for what they were meant to be used for. In the disuse of keys lies an opportunity to turn them around and make them productive in some way.
( Image credit: John Scalzi )
Just to give you three examples upfront:
- Some older keyboards lack multimedia keys. You can convert a couple of unused Function key to a volume (+) and Volume (–) key.
- You are more comfortable with a hard key that launches your email client. You can map an extra or unused key to your default email client.
- You can remap a key to another if the key is damaged.
Of course, there are many more uses when it comes to mapping keyboard keys to specific actions. But let’s check out the little software that makes it all possible in a very simple manner.
SharpKeys (ver. 3.5) is a very tiny Windows freeware that allows you to remap or even reassign computer keyboard keys in the couple of different ways we saw above. It does so by adding an entry to your computer’s registry. SharpKeys runs on Windows 7/Vista/XP/2000.
To start mapping an old key to a new custom one, run SharpKeys and click on the Add button. The key mapping dialog opens up giving you a long list of key positions to pick from.
You can also click on Type Key and manually select the key you want by pressing it on the keyboard.
Next, click the Write to Registry button and a reboot for the changes to take effect notification will come up. After the reboot, your keys will stand remapped. You can go back to Edit or Delete the mapping altogether.
SharpKeys is a nifty way to quickly enhance the use of your keyboard and bring your productivity up to speed. You can remap keys and give them new functions or disable keys if you find them irritating. You can shift a key from the right to the left if you find that it gives you a speed boost. Tell us about your remapping job and if it served to add to your productivity.