If you’re tired of the way certain keys on your system work, you can re-map them to function as a different key by using a free utility named SharpKeys. Here’s how it works.
You can actually remap your keys the hard way using a Registry hack like the one we cover for disabling your Caps Lock key. But why use the hard way, when there’s an easier—and free—way. That’s where SharpKeys comes into the picture. It’s a small utility that manages all those Registry keys and values for you, giving you a simple interface for mapping one key to another—or even turning keys off—without you having to bother with the Registry at all. Remapping keys is great for getting your keys working the way you want them. It’s also especially useful if you’re running Windows on your Mac via Boot Camp and the Opt / Cmd keys don’t translate correctly to the Windows and Alt keys.
We’ve tested SharpKeys in Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, and Vista, and it works just fine in all of them. Do note, however, that the exact keys available to you for remapping depend on your keyboard. For example, if you’re using a multimedia keyboard with extra volume, mute, and play/pause keys, those should show up in SharpKeys.
Update: While SharpKeys still works well, Microsoft now offers a PowerToy you can use to remap keys, too.
Start by downloading the latest version of SharpKeys from the project’s release page. You can download and install it by grabbing the MSI file or as a standalone app in the ZIP file. Either way, go ahead and run SharpKeys when you’re ready.
The main window shows any keys you’ve already mapped. If you’re starting from scratch, you won’t see anything listed. Click the “Add” button to create a new key mapping.
In the key mapping window, you’ll see two lists. The list on the left represents the key whose behavior you want to change—the “from” key. The list on the right is the new behavior you want it to assume—the “to” key. Select the key you want to remap on the left and the key to which you want to remap it on the right, and then click “OK.”
Here, I’m changing the Scroll Lock key—which I never use—to act as my Caps Lock key. After that, I’m going to disable the actual Caps Lock key so I’ll quit hitting it by mistake. But we’ll get to that in a moment
If you find it easier than scrolling through the lists, you can also click the “Type Key” button under either list and then just press the key you want to change.
The Best Tech Newsletter Anywhere
Join 425,000 subscribers and get a daily digest of features, articles, news, and trivia.
SharpKeys can also disable a key by mapping it to no action at all. From the list on the left (the “From” key list), choose the key you want to disable. On the right, select the top entry—“Turn Key Off”—and then click “OK.”
Here, I’m turning off that Caps Lock key.
When you’re done remapping keys and you’re back at the main SharpKeys window, click the “Write to Registry” button to confirm your changes.
SharpKeys will let you know to log off or restart your PC for the changes to take effect.
After your PC comes back up, the key remapping should be complete.