How to Replace Keyboard Keys

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Updated July 22, 2022

Sometimes, even the best keyboards break down, and you have to either buy a new one or replace the broken parts. Keys are made up of various small pieces, and it’s often worth it to find the problem and replace it rather than purchasing an entirely new keyboard. Below, we’ll show you how to replace keyboard keys.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Replacing keyboard keys requires understanding how the keycaps and the internal plastic brackets work.
  • To replace your keyboard keys, you need to pry off the keyboard caps, then unhinge or unclip the key retainers.
  • Once the keys are removed, you must position the new retainers exactly how the old ones were placed and press on the keycaps.

And if you are someone who knows they want a keyboard that lets them change and customize their setup, you can read our guide on the finest hot-swappable keyboards.

DIY Keyboard Key Replacement

There are many different types of keyboards, and each one may require a slightly different method. In this guide, we cover replacing keys on mechanical keyboards. But regardless of the type, the process of replacing keys is relatively similar across the board.

Insider Tip

Once you have removed all parts, it’s a good idea to wipe down your keyboard switches with rubbing alcohol.

Before you do this, it’s good to understand things like how to reattach a keyboard key or how to remove a spacebar from a mechanical keyboard. Knowing these basic procedures will make the entire replacement process go smoother.

If you aren’t sure what kind of keyboard you have, check out our various resource articles, such as the one explaining what a butterfly keyboard is. Finally, once you complete your hardware tasks and want to move on to software, read our article on how to reset a keyboard.

  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Time Required: 15-60 minutes 
  • Total Steps: 5
  • Tools Needed: Key Removal Tool

STEP 1

Remove the keycap with a flat, firm piece of metal or plastic. This tool can be a flathead screwdriver, credit card, or anything that will work without damaging your device. Slide it underneath the keycap and pry the key upwards until the clips that attach it become undone.

STEP 2

Remove the keyboard retainer pieces. These are the small bracket-like plastic pieces that sit over the key switch. Depending on the laptop model, they are held on by hooks or clips. Again, pay attention to how the retainer pieces line up because you’ll need to replicate this later.

STEP 3

Take the new or cleaned retainer pieces, fit them together, and replace them over the keyboard switch. Make sure the plastic hinges snap or hook back into place.

Warning

Different keyboards can have slightly different keyboard layouts and mechanisms, so examine them thoroughly before removing them. Taking extra caution can help avoid additional damage.

STEP 4

Take the laptop key cap and place it over the keyboard base, and press firmly down until it snaps into place. Press the key to make sure it feels right.

STEP 5

Repeat this for the entire keyboard or however many keys you need to replace.

STAT: The average amount of keys on a full-sized keyboard is 104. (source)

How to Replace Keyboard Keys FAQs

What does it mean to remap the keyboard?

Remapping is when you enter into the keyboard device settings and assign different controls to different keys.

What are the main causes of mechanical keyboard failure?

The main cause of keyboard malfunction is moisture getting trapped in the electronics. Also, updating your driver and software can help avoid issues.

Where can you buy new keycaps?

You can purchase keycaps at many online retailers or call the manufacturer to try to get the identical version of your old keycaps.
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