How to Remap a Keyboard in Windows 10

Use Microsoft PowerToys to reassign keys and change keyboard shortcuts

What to Know

  • Download Microsoft Power Toys, open it, and then go to Keyboard Manager > Remap a Key or Remap a Shortcut.
  • To reset keys and shortcuts to the default, select the Trashcan icon beside the entry.
  • If you have an external keyboard and mouse, use the Windows Mouse and Keyboard Center tool to customize both.

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 Do I Remap My Keyboard 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:

  1. Download Microsoft Power Toys and install it on your PC.

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

    Keyboard Manager highlighted in Microsoft PowerToys
  3. Select Remap a Key.

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

    Remap a Key highlighted in Microsoft Power Toys Keyboard Manager
  4. Select the Plus (+) under Key.

    Plus (+) highlighted in the Remap Keys screen of Microsoft Power Toys
  5. Under Key, choose the key you want to reassign from the drop-down menu, or select Type and enter a key.

    Type under Key in the Remap Keys screen of Microsoft PowerToys
  6. 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.

    Type under Mapped To in the Remap Keys screen of Microsoft PowerToys
  7. Select OK.

    OK highlighted in the Remap Keys screen of PowerToys

    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:

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

    Keyboard Manager and Remap Shortcuts highlighted in Microsoft Power Toys
  2. Select the Plus (+) under Shortcut.

    Plus (+) under Shortcut highlighted in the Remap Shortcuts screen of Microsoft PowerToys
  3. Choose the key you want to reassign from the drop-down menu under Shortcut or select Type and enter a keyboard shortcut.

    Type under shortcut in the Remap Shortcuts screen of Microsoft PowerToys
  4. Under Mapped To, choose the new key or shortcut.

    Type under Mapped To in the Remap Shortcuts screen of Microsoft PowerToys
  5. Under Target Apps, enter the name of an app (if you leave this section blank, the change is applied system-wide).

    All apps under Target Apps in the Remap shortcuts section of Microsoft PowerToys
  6. Select OK.

    OK highlighted in the Remap Shortcuts screen of PowerToys

How to Reset Keyboard Mapping

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

Trashcan icon highlighted in the Remap Keys screen of PowerToys

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I remap keys on a Mac keyboard? 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.
  • How do I reassign a hotkey on my Windows 10 keyboard? 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.
  • How do I remap a Windows keyboard for use on a Mac? 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.
Was this page helpful?