Second Keyboard for Macros

Introduction: Second Keyboard for Macros

If you have any spare keyboard or number pad. You can use it as a macro keyboard. Such as when you press a key, a pre-programmed task happens. For example, an app is started or an autohotkey script is executed.


You need the following things:

  1. A spare keyboard or number pad
  2. Arduino uno
  3. Arduino UNO Usb host shield

Step 1: Choose a Keyboard

You can use a full keyboard or a small number pad.

  • Number pad

A number pad is small and is easier to place on your desk. It is best if you do not need many macros.

  • Full keyboard

It takes up a lot of space on your desk but you do have a lot of keys of different shapes and sizes

(Note: You can also use a wireless keyboard)

Step 2: Multiboard

Windows cannot see the difference between 2 keyboards so we use an Arduino UNO with a usb hostshield to distinguish the second keyboard. And we need a program to let the keys of the 2nd keyboard do certain tasks. We use MultiBoard for this.

Here is a guide for installing MultiBoard.

Step 3: AutoHotkey

You can get the most out of Multiboard if you use it with AutoHotkey. AutoHotkey is a scripting program with which you can make very complex scripts. for example, you can make a key combination or move your mouse to a specific location.


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    Question 1 year ago

    can this method block the second keyboard input?, so only the macro keys that can be pressed.


    Answer 1 year ago

    All input on the second keyboard is hidden from Windows. Even key combinations like "ctrl + alt +del" are not detected by windows.


    2 years ago

    I guess you don't know (or care) about the free HIDMacros software for Windows. It will eliminate the need for the Arduino hardware, as it CAN detect individual keypresses on different USB keyboards, mice, gamepads, etc.

    Each key can send keystrokes, launch programs, or run AutoHotkey scripts or VBscript/JScript. There are ways of getting it to trigger AHK macros, but is kind of a kludge.

    NOTE: Be sure to download 'HIDMacros version 2.3', which is a few lines down the page. The first download link is for LUAMacros and is not what you want.


    Reply 2 years ago

    I know about HIDMacros. But it falls short on certain aspects. HIDMacros has difficulty recognizing system level keys (Windows key, ctrl + alt + del, NumLock, ...). It is also no longer maintained.

    I have plans to remove the hardware (arduino) aspect from the software. But running a home-made keyboard driver on windows cannot be done without causing many problems. Or I have to request a license for the driver and that costs money.

    Multiboard has a complete interception on all inputs of the keyboard, which makes it work more stable.


    Question 3 years ago

    Does it works for mor than 2 keyboard ? (whith an arduino + usb shiel for each)


    Answer 3 years ago

    Yes, you can connect more than 2 keyboards if each keyboard has a separate Arduino + USB shield. Note that each Arduino needs a unique uuid.