There are several reasons why you might want to remap keys in Windows 10: the layout might not seem right, or the keys might be broken. Unfortunately, Windows does not allow direct key remapping. You can match them by modifying the registry yourself, which we do not recommend, or by using third-party software.
SharpKeys is one of the simplest keyboard layout programs you can use on Windows. This free and open source software allows you to map one or more keys to another key, although it only supports keyboard keys as mouse or touch pad keys are not supported. Here’s how to remap keys in Windows 10 using SharpKeys
Install SharpKeys on Windows 10
The Windows Installer file for SharpKeys is available on the SharpKeys GitHub repository, as is the portable version that you can download for use on flash drives to take your SharpKeys installation with you. SharpKeys is open source, so you can download the source and compile it yourself if you like.
- To remap keys on Windows 10, download and install the latest SharpKeys from the releases section of the SharpKeys repository on GitHub. The installer file is listed as MSI installer file, or you can download and extract the portable ZIP version.
- After installing SharpKeys, open it from the Windows Start menu or run the executable file from the extracted folder for the portable version. SharpKeys will warn you that using it will modify the registry by adding one key to it to remap your keys. Click OK to accept the warning and allow SharpKeys to do so.
The SharpKeys main window will open after accepting the alert.
Reset Keys on Windows 10 with SharpKeys
After installing SharpKeys, you can use it to start remapping keyboard keys. However, before you start, you should check if the keyboard locale is set correctly for your location. This can solve problems when, for example, the at and quotation marks on the keyboard are swapped.
You can check this by right-clicking the Windows Start Menu and choosing Settings. From here, click Time & Language> Language and check the locale listed under Preferred Languages.
If your locale is correct and you still need to reassign other keys, you can start using the SharpKeys software.
- In the Add New Key Mapping window, you can choose which keys you want to map. You map key options from the list on the left to physical keys listed on the right. You can scroll through and select them manually or press the Type Key button below each section to find them automatically. After completing the key mapping, click OK.
- You can repeat the step above to match multiple keys. To edit any of the options you’ve made, select them from the list in the SharpKeys main menu, then click the Edit button.
- Select an item and click the Remove button to remove a specific key mapping from the SharpKeys list. To remove all key mappings at once, click the Remove All button instead.
- Key mappings that you create, edit, or delete with SharpKeys will not apply until you add them to the registry. To do this, click the “Write to Registry” button in the main SharpKeys window.
Export SharpKeys Configuration to other PCs
You can export SharpKey settings to other Windows 10 PCs if you want to use the remapped keys across multiple devices. You might want to do this before resetting and reinstalling Windows on PC using SharpKeys
- First you will need to export the SharpKeys configuration. Open SharpKeys and click the “Save Keys” button in the main window to start.
- In the Save SharpKeys List window, choose a suitable location to save the SharpKeys configuration file. Give it a memorable name and click “Save” to save the file.
- Transfer the SharpKeys configuration file (SKL file format) to another Windows PC with SharpKeys installed. Open SharpKeys on this computer, then click the Download Keys button in the main window.
- Find the SharpKeys configuration file in the Open SharpKeys Key List window and select it. Click “Open” to load the configuration file and add new keys to SharpKeys
- The exported configuration will be imported into SharpKeys and the key list will be updated to reflect the new key mappings. Click the Write to Registry button to write the updated list to the registry.
Using the Keyboard with Windows 10
If you remap keys in Windows 10, you can get around broken keys or a bad layout, but that’s not the only way to use your keyboard more efficiently. One way is to try using keyboard shortcuts so you don’t rely on your computer mouse or trackpad.
This, of course, depends on whether you have a fully working keyboard. Key remapping is one option, but you might have to find more drastic ways to fix a water damaged keyboard if you’ve spilled a drink on multiple keys. If you have your own keyboard repair tips, leave them in the comments below.