Free Keyboard Remapping Software
Create Hot Keys and Keyboard Macros
Free Keyboard Macro, Remapping and Hot Key Software
If you work many hours on the keyboard each day, these free keyboard macro utilities will allow you to map keystrokes, abbreviations, characters and so on to shortcut keys (or key combinations) so that you can work faster. A single keystroke sequence, or hot key, can then invoke a the actions that you assign to it. Some of the tools also let you assign actions to the Windows key (the key on your keyboard that looks like the Microsoft Windows logo). Others also allow you to reconfigure your mouse and joystick buttons. Depending on the software, you either configure them by adjusting their configuration file, or invoking the macro keyboard recorder, and then doing the actions you want the software to assign to your keystroke. The recorder then creates the necessary configuration for you.
You can also use the tools to remap your keyboard or to create keys for characters that your keyboard currently does not have (eg, the euro character).
Free Keyboard Remapping and HotKey Software
- ZenKEY (Windows)
ZenKEY allows you to map hotkeys to numerous actions on your computer, including things like spreading groups of windows around and moving between them; move windows on an almost infinite virtual desktop space; make windows transparent or reposition/minimize them; control various media players; open documents, folders, or Internet resources; access hidden Windows utilities and system commands (eg shut down the computer, start the screen saver, open/close the CD/DVD drive door, etc); simulate a series of keystrokes; etc. The program is free, and released under the BSD licence.
- AutoHotKey: Free Mouse and Keyboard Macro Program (Windows)
AutoHotKey allows you to create keyboard, mouse and joystick hotkeys. It also lets you set up abbreviations, so that as you type those abbreviations, the program will replace them with the full form of the words you intend (for example, you can set it up so that when you type "eg", the software expands it to "for example"). It is more than just a keyboard or mouse button remapper however. You can use it to automate tasks, since the software creates scripts with those actions, which you can compile into an EXE and distribute to others. Supported keys include the usual character keys, Alt, Ctrl, Shift, the Caps Lock key, and the Windows key. The software can even map actions like changing the volume of your speaker (or mute it), converting keyboard keystrokes and joystick movements into mouse movements, disable or override Windows default shortcuts (like the Win+R key), display dialog boxes, automate game actions, work with the registry and INI files, etc. You can hand code your keyboard macros, or use the software's keyboard macro recorder to record a series of actions that you do. The software will then create the keyboard script for you. The program works under Windows.
- Hot Key Plus (Windows)
Hot Key Plus lets you define your own Windows keys shortcuts. You can define them to launch programs, control panel applets, open a document, or visit a web address (URL). You can also use it to invoke a screen saver, or resize the window of a program. It is handy if you only want to redefine some simple keys and don't want the baggage that comes with more fully-featured software. The program is written by the same author of the Sizer program I mentioned in my article How to Test Your Website Under Different Screen Resolutions under Windows the Easy Way.
- HoeKey (Windows)
HoeKey lets you assign keys to certain actions. It is able to reassign your Windows key, shift key, control key, and alt key in combination with some other normal key. Actions that you can assign to the keys include running a program, displaying a message box, moving windows, closing windows, hiding windows, adjust the volume control, toggle a window's transparency, create characters that you currently don't have on your keyboard, etc.
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