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Products like the X-Keys programmable keypads are a great companion for anyone who uses hot-key heavy software like PhotoShop. They allow you to lay out all your hot keys on one small board complete with labels and with a push of a button activate any macro or keystroke programmed into the software.

But those products cost in excess of $100.00 even for the basic model. If you live overseas the cost of importing and the US Dollar exchange rate can balloon the price and make the products far too expensive.

It's possible to create your own custom macro pad with a basic USB number pad for much less cost. You can easily pick these up on ebay for under $10.

Step 1: Create your custom labels

I am creating a pad for PhotoShop.

I created a draft layout of paper to decide what functions I needed and where they should be. You can do this easily in Excel too. Put effort into this part so that you don't have to rip off your labels and do them again because you forgot a function.

Google image search each function you desire. I used terms like "fill bucket icon" and "brush icon", etc. In no time you will have a collection of all your buttons.

If you don't have photoshop this part will be hard for you to create, so I have attached a pre-made sheet sezed for A4 paper at 300dpi suitible for keys up to 13mm high by 12mm wide. Printing full size at native dpi will result in correctly sized labels.

<p>Oh....one more thing. There's some very inexpensive software called USB Overdrive that pretty much lets you map anything to anything else. It's for Mac OS.</p><p>http://www.usboverdrive.com/</p>
<p>I found a page concerning the wacom data tilt output .. <br><br>http://www.inkscapeforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=16290</p>
<p>Sadly the software is no longer supported, and appears to have a basic functionality problem (having a delay between key-strokes does not work). Looking for another option.</p>
<p>I realy like this this method to use old keyboards. thanks</p>
<p>Trying to figure out how to script 3 key sequences (i.e. Control Alt Delete). Also trying to figure out how to get it to send the current date. Any help appreciated.</p>
<p>I just installed HID Macros, but it is not working as expected. The expected output is generated when I use applications such as Notepad, WordPad, and Command Prompt, but not for applications not included with Windows OS (Word, Blender, Firefox, etc.). Does anyone have any suggestions to help resolve this issue?</p>
<p>How are you trying to invoke these other applications? Have you tried including the full path to the executable?</p>
<p>In April last year, it looks like HID macros has stopped development, and moved to LuaMacros. Has anyone tried using the new beta? or is HID still good for win10? </p>
<p>Very good guide! Exactly what I needed, altho I made it for AutoCAD. Big thanks!</p><p>But I can't seem to get HIDmacros to make '@' sign. I tried several different versions with both predefined and scripted macros. The problem is that with my language keyboard layout (Estonian) @ sign isnt Shift+2, but its Ctrl+Alt+2.</p><p>^%2 didnt work, neither did ^(%2) nor ^%(2). Tried with %64 (alt code) and %(64) which also didnt work.</p><p>Anyone has any good idea?</p>
I'm not sure. It's possible the keyboard itself of the computers config of the keyboard doesn't translate properly. <br><br>Either use another keyboard or you might need to use different software like phrase express which can do the same thing but only globally which will effect all the same keys on all keyboards, but it's easily disabled and enabled with Ctrl+Mouseclick.<br><br>Tough situation.
<p>Thanks for the reply!</p><p>The reason I need @ key, is to determine another point in AutoCAD that is related to a previous point. I thought that it would be much easier to just push one button, instead of stretching my fingers when trying to push 3 keys at the same time :D</p><p>Using another key combination wouldn't make things easier. I think that HIDmacros doesn't accept 2 modifier keys at the same time.</p><p>I was thinking of a script to change keyboard layout to english, push Shift+2 and then change back to estonian, but I also think, its too much of a hussle.</p><p>Guess, I'll just keep streching my fingers :D</p>
<p>I love this idea and really want to make it but I downloaded the software and there is no &quot;Save and Configure&quot; button as there is with the tutorial. Obviously not allowing me to save and configure :( </p><p>Any help appreciated :) </p>
Try running as Administrator and try running in &quot;compatibility mode for Windows XP&quot; too (google it if you don't know how please). I'm not sure why this could be happening.
<p>Thanx for the reply John. Tried that and still didn't work. Really hoping to get this to work! Looked on google and can't find anything, the forum isn't allowing me to post to it either. </p>
<p>After downloading multiple different versions and following your steps for all of them, I finally got it to work :) delighted. I wish the program was developed further though, I actually would not mind paying for it! Credit for the great tutorial! </p>
<p>This is very useful, it took me a while to figure out how to input multiple keys lol, but now it's working wonderfully. Very nice tip, thank you!</p>
<p>Hello, </p><p><br>Just like to say this is an absolutely great solution for those not willing to pay a silly price for a shortcut pad. I tried to do this a year ago with a mouse but had no luck. <br>Thank you for showing me the way to make it work! <br><br>Only question I have though about Hid macro. <br>I would like to program the command shift page up. But for the life of me I cant work out the page up command. I know shift is &quot;+&quot; but what is page up? <br>Any ideas? <br><br>Thanks!</p>
<p>Try the g600 mouse from Logitech, which is basically a nifty and ergonomic shortcut pad attached to a mouse - sounds possibly over the top but it's been a revolution for my work. Takes a *little getting used to, but well worth it.</p>
<p>Try the g600 mouse from Logitech, which is basically a nifty and ergonomic shortcut pad attached to a mouse - sounds possibly over the top but it's been a revolution for my work. Takes a *little getting used to, but well worth it.</p>
<p>Shift page up will be +{PGUP}</p><p>The help page within the HIDmacros program has a list of all the those functions that can be done with { brackets.</p><p>Glad it's worked out for you.</p>
<p>Thanks for posting this! I made this and it works! I did it a little different because I needed more hotkeys, so I mapped all the navigation, zoom, and the undo function to a trackball mouse. Then I mapped the most important tools to the keypad with Autohotkey. The application also made it possible to apply the shortcuts only while running Photoshop. Because Autohotkey could not easily interpret the holding down of a key, I used Sharpkeys to map the space (+) and shift (zero) keys to the keypad. Cnrl was not mapped because it was included in each hotkey if needed. I left the navigation keys so menus could be navigated through the keypad.<br></p><p>One thing is not all keypads are created equal. The first one was a generic cheapie and some keys were not recognized by photoshop. I settled on a Kenesis Freestyle 2 keypad because it has built in cut/copy/paste functions and 3 extra keys to remap. I spent $17 on ebay for the keypad. All in all, 30 hotkeys are mapped and there's room for 2 more. The only problem is that the &quot;tab&quot; key when used to turn toolbars on and off is error prone, but I believe that is because I am using Photoshop CS2 in windows 8.1. </p><p>The beauty of your project is that with all the major functions are available without having to move your hands. Because they are on an easy to learn set of keys, depending on what you are using Photoshop for, you don't have to look down at the keyboard or move either of your hands. I did not put decals on the keys because I am training myself not to look at the keypad. It significantly speeds up editing. The actual keyboard is only used for naming files and writing text. If anyone wants the Autohotkey script I am glad to post it. Thanks again for the great tutorial! </p>
<p>~Peasandcarrots -- I also use AutoHotKey but haven't quite figured out how to make application-specific scripts -- chiefly for Firefox. Can you provide any insight or the script you used? Many thanks! Looking forward to trying this out! :)</p>
<p>The program is not application specific. You need to either work around that with adding keyboards dedicated to each program or running different config files when using each program. No good for multitasking.</p>
<p>Can I just use elmers glue?</p>
<p>Hey, great instructable. I have a few questions. </p><p>1.) Can HID Macros be setup so that a key will open a program? I had a keyboard I used for a while with a calculator key, it was awesome, I miss it. Could I do that with like 10 different programs?</p><p>2.) I am using a highpowered laptop. If I want this set up at a base station on a USB hub, would I have any issues connecting and reconnecting? Would I have to reprogram or reset anything when moving around?</p><p>3.) If I had 3 different number pads for different programs (ARCgis, Google Sketchup, etc) when I plug in the hub would they all stay recognized as the one that it is set as?</p>
<p>I went ahead, bought a keypad and started the project, and answered most of my own questions. The issue I am running into is that everytime I unplug and replug the device it names it a new keyboard, so I constantly have to switch the macros. Is there any way to fix that? Could it have something to do with it being a 4 numpad? </p><p>Also, I can't seem to find how to put the function key in the macro. My volume down key on this computer is fn+f11, I can't figure out how to do that.</p>
<p>Typically it changes name when pluggen into a different USB port. If using a hub it's just the same. Remember which computer port and which hub port every time and it won't change.</p><p>FN buttons don't work. So no media keys.</p>
<p>I have a track ball and would like to try and use HID to deliver pen tilt / stylus wheel / pen pressure .. those kinds of things .. how / if possible , would this be done ?</p>
<p>This thing is amazing! </p><p>However I have one problem I'm not able to fix. It seems the macros don't work in some programs, Excel and Chrome are the two ones I've encountered, the numberpad keystrokes are supposed to trigger a macro in excel, but instead, I just get the numberpad entry. If anyone can help with that, I'd love to hear how to fix this!</p>
Now, if only this software worked in Windows 10. This is actually very good for sim pit builders..
<p>Running as administrator on win 10 worked for me.</p>
Try running compatibility trouble shooter and run as administrator.
If you own Windows, check out this application called Metro Studio from Syncfusion. It's free and it has just about every type of icon that you'd need and they're all colorless. It can export the icons in different formats, such as PNG, JPEG, SVG, GIF, and a couple more. It uses vector graphics so you can export in any size and you don't have to worry about loss of quality or anything. Then if you need to, you can bring it into Photoshop or whatever you use to do what you need to.<br><br>I just thought I'd mention this because it has all the icons you need, and it's a great piece of software to have if you ever need icons. I use it a lot because I'm a programmer and I find myself needing icons (like cut, paste, edit, etc.) for things like buttons or toolbar buttons. It has like over 4000 icons and they're separated in different categories so it's easy to find things. By the way, thanks for this guide. I just bought a new keyboard and I didn't want to buy one with macro keys. I would like to have one on the side for common tasks though so this is great. I'll definitely have to try this.<br><br>http://www.syncfusion.com/downloads/metrostudio
<p>Can somebody show a full script for windows for a keypad?</p><p>Cheers.</p>
amazing work .<br>Very useful <br>thnx a lot
Great instruct able. I had a question though, can we program a single key to do multiple actions? Kind of like a preset action in photoshop/lightroom
<p>Yes, you can program multiple actions in a script. There is the &quot;predefined&quot; tab and &quot;scripted&quot; tab under the actions sector. Use scripted instead.</p><p>When finished entering your script, click &quot;compile&quot; then save configuration. </p><p>Example:</p><p>HIDMacros.SendKeys &quot;%s&quot;</p><p>HIDMacros.Sleep 200 </p><p>HIDMacros.SendKeys &quot;m&quot;</p><p>HIDMacros.Sleep 200 </p><p>HIDMacros.SendKeys &quot;e&quot;</p><p>This will do ALT+S then M then E. I do this to bring up a deep menu in photoshop. Use the sleep function as I have so steps don't get missed.</p>
Awesome! Thank you so much. So if I wanted to have the shift key held down and hit the right arrow multiple times, how would I code that?
<p>Yes. The following will hold shift and hit arrow right 3 times while holding:</p><p>+{right 3}</p>
<p>Great i'ble! Seeing that I'm out of work right now and low on cash, but needing something like this really badly for work from home tasks, you really saved my day. Thanks you very much.</p>
<p>thank you so much!!! just made mine. drawing in PS was never this comfortable :D and one question. can I use 2 additional numpads with this?:)</p>
<p>Yes you can. And program them to do different functions each</p>
<p>If you have a full sized keyboard you can do this to the Numpad and have Macros for DAAAYYYYYYSSSS :)</p>
<p>Yes. You can do prettymuch whatever you need.</p>
Thank you for the awesome idea, but i'm having some trouble on binding the zoom+ shortcut which is a combination of Ctrl key and +. If anyone know how to avoid the program to translate it in Ctrl and Shift, please help me :3
<p>Use ^=</p><p>The + on this key requires SHIFT to be held, yet we are able to just push Ctrl which means that = is what's really performing zoom in. </p><p>Practically every program I've used accepts Ctrl = as zoom in.</p><p>But just for kicks I tried ^{+} and that works too.</p><p>Try both and see how you go.</p>
<p>This was just what I needed. Had bought a $10 keypad a while back at Office Depot in order to manage virtual desktops in VirtuWin but could only get output identical to keyboard's keypad. Keypad then sat gathering dust for 6 months until I stumbled on to your tut. </p><p>Like you say, HIDMacros is the key. Once I followed your clear instructions, I was able to quickly get my keypad working with AutoHotKeys and with a bit of work got it to cooperate with VirtuWin. Thanks again!</p>
<p>Tthat's great. I'm glad it worked out for you.</p>
<p>this is awesome, thank you for posting!! i ordered two, one for me and one for my boyfriend and i just finished mine for the program i use for drawing called Manga Studio. they are color coded instead of labeled and the diagonal dual-tone ones are with the num lock off. i made the copy/paste and save button super extravagant because i always forget to save haha. this is crucial for me at my desk job since i draw while im at work on the phones. i only have a tablet and this allows me to utilize the functions way quicker than before. now hopefully i can hide the ugly tool bars that i always seem to accidentally bump and mess up my settings. after i finished my [first round] of macro-ing, i hit close with out setting the config backup to 1 or 2, needless to say it was a little defeating, but it turned out better the second time :) </p><p>once again, thanks!</p><p>-shay</p>

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