Video: DIY 87-Key Macro Keyboard – Because he has too many keyboard shortcuts!
Why on Earth would anyone WANT a second keyboard? Linus asked me when i tried to show him this project i've been working on for quite a while Well, let me tell you It's not for everyone, but if you are a productivity freak, like me The concept might really appeal to you Basically, this ENTIRE keyboard has been converted into a set of 87, fully programmable, macro keys [Intro] [You are now blinking manuallly] Intel brings DDR4 to the mainstream With their new Core i7-6700K and Core i5-6600K processors Check out the link in the video description to learn more So, to give you some background on why I NEED a second keyboard… I'm the video editor for most of the videos that go up on this channel That's a LOT of videos.
.. And the more quickly and efficiently i can edit them, the better Now, Fast and Efficient video editing relies heavily upon keyboard shortcuts So much so that inside Premiere, i assigned functions to all the numbers… Letters and symbols… All the function keys… The entire numpad… AND… Most of the reasonable combinations of Ctrl, Shift, and Alt That's a LOT of shortcuts, and yes, I do use all of those on a daily basis It's easy to remember single key shortcuts… But the more keys you need to press in a row… The more difficult it is to not only remember the key combinations… But also to physically press those keys That's what macro keys are good for If you don't know, a macro key will basically launch a pre-programmed series of keystrokes and/or mouse clicks… Which you would otherwise have to press manually everytime For example, let's say i'm editing a video in Premiere and i want to reverse a clip on the timeline To do this, i could.
.. Click on the clip… Mouse over to the Clip menu… Select Speed/Duration… Mouse over to the panel that appears… Click Reverse… And then mouse over to Enter and click on that This takes, a few seconds to do Alternatively… i could just press one single macro button which automatically executes the keystrokes… Ctrl + R + Tab + Tab + Space + Enter… Which accomplishes exactly the same thing, but in a fraction of a second That's the power and usefulness of a keyboard macro Gamers will use macros in games like WoW, DOTA, Starcraft, LoL, and so on… But, pretty much any game can be made easier with macros And keyboard macros are also really useful for certain jobs Like video editing, animation, graphic design, programming, music creation… And… I don't know.
.. accounting… maybe… I don't really know what accountants do all day… But pretty much anything that involves heavy computer use and repetitive tasks Usually, macros are just a series of blind keystrokes and mouse clicks But, you CAN make even more powerful macros using AutoHotkey AutoHotkey is a free, brilliant little program that you can use to completely automate repetitive tasks… Remap keys, intelligently simulate clicks… And keystrokes, and do a lot more stuff that i don't even understand I use AutoHotkey to program a TON of useful features for Premiere Pro that don't even exist in the app itself… Like, recalling saved transitions, and applying effects directly onto selected clips But my problem now is that i use so many macros and so many keyboard shortcuts…
That i have now physically run out of keys on the keyboard And what can you do then..? Well… We have a few of these cool little… TechKeys keyboards lying around the office So i experimented with those We also have a Razer Orbwaever Which is actually pretty awesome, and it's been designed for this exact purpose All of it's keys can be remapped to any key, or key combinations you desire Now, since you're still restricted to standard keyboard keys… What i like to do is program the keys on these extra keyboards to execute very obscure key combinations Like Ctrl + Alt + F1… And then i program AutoHotkey to listen to these key combinations… And then execute whatever function i desire The trouble is, if you do too much of this, it's tough to remember what combinations you've already used… And what combinations all your various different applications might already be using But you know what…
The TechKeys keyboards, and the Orbweaver… Still don't have enough keys for all the extra functions that i want AND… these keyboards are surprisingly expensive And that's when it hit me Why can't i just hook up a second keyboard to my computer? Well, it turns out that Windows will treat every keyboard that you plug in as one keyboard You can plug in all the keyboards you like… But your computer can NOT tell the difference between them Bummer… Fortunately, one of my Twitter followers linked me to this video by Tom Scott who successfully got 14 keyboards… to work as their own separate inputs He used a program called LuaMacros, which was actually developed for flight simulator enthusiasts… Who want to have a lot of switches and buttons for their virtual cockpits Great! so it is possible Now all i needed to do was figure out how to code in Lua…
[Uhh…] And find a way to get LuaMacros to communicate with AutoHotkey… Which is where all of my functions already are Tom Scott had done this, but he didn't provide any of the necessary details… Like… you know… sample code [Tom Scott] : Then, it presses the F24 key So, after quite a bit of frustration, i finally figured out how to do it My second keyboard now WORKS as it's own unique input And every single one of these keys acts as a macro button which will launch it's own unique AHK script So here's how you do it: First : Download LuaMacros and AutoHotkey Plug in both of the keyboards you want to use Run LuaMacros, and open up quickstart.lua Then, click on the play button you'll get a prompt asking you to identify device MACROS..
. Which will become the name of the second keyboard All you need to do is press any key on that second keyboard LuaMacros will now recognize it as such, and those keystrokes will now be intercepted… By LuaMacros, and therefore blocked from normal typing Once you get that working, you can write your own code, or download and use My Lua code… Which basically just writes a small string to a file on disk, and then presses the F24 key Download my AHK script, or write your own, and double click on it to get it running An icon for that script will now appear on the TaskBar Now, anytime the F24 key is virtually pressed by LuaMacros, This AHK script will read the string in that file… And execute the correct associated function TA-DA! I knew it would be difficult to remember which key did what..
. So i created a bunch of key cap images in Photoshop, printed them, cut them out… And taped them onto the existing keys If you do this, keep in mind that your keycaps will not necessarily be compatible with every slot on the keyboard… So you may have to be careful to maintain the underlined QWERTY layout Although for me i think it was just the F and J keys… The keyboard that i used for this project was the Logitech K120 And it's nothing special at all… Any cheap or old keyboard will work perfectly When using the second keyboard, it does take about two seconds to look down… find the key you want, move your hand over to that key, press it, and then move your hand back to the primary keyboard So it's best to use the secondary keyboard for secondary functions that you don't need all that often If You want to try building and programming a second keyboard..
I WILL be providing all the necessary code in the video description You're welcome 🙂 And before you say it, I know… that my code is sloppy and sub-optimal, i know… But guess what, it still works So if any of you real programmers out there who want to complain about my messy code… I sure would appreciate it if you can provide a functional sample of some code that will work even better A great place to do this will be in the Linus Tech Tips discussion thread that is associated with this video Also linked below There's still a lot top figure out, like using modifier keys and double tapping to launch a different function In fact, LuaMacros itself is just a side project of a single man with very little free time It's not even out of Beta, and it still got a lot of bugs The good news is the software is open source so if You can help to make LuaMacros better.
.. I really suggest that you do I think it would be great if we can use the power of our community to improve useful niche software… Like LuaMacros Personally, i'm very satisfied with my secondary keyboard… And i'm really looking to seeing what you guys come up with TunnelBear is the easy to use VPN app for mobile and desktop It allows you to tunnel through 16 different countries, and browse the internet and use online services… as if you're in one of those other countries They have apps for iOS, Android, PC, and Mac… And they also have a Chrome extension When you pick a country and pick TunnelBear on, two things will happen… Your connection gets encrypted with AES 256-bit encryption, the strongest available… And, your public IP address gets switched, so you can show up, as if you're in, a different country With TunnelBear, there's no need to mess around with port configurations, DNS, or router settings, or all that nonsense… It just handles all of that, by itself, you don't have to worry about it They also give you 500MB of data for free so you can try it out, no credit card required And if you want to upgrade to unlimited data, you can save 10% by going to TunnelBear.com/LTT Thanks for watching, guys! Give the video a like or a dislike, get subscribed, join the forum and talk about LuaMacros or whatever.
.. Uhh, you can support us by changing your Amazon bookmarks to one with our affiliate code.. so we can get a small kickback whenever you buy.. something… And you should check out another one of my videos, here or wherever… Where i talked about the FlyKly, and how incredibly dissappointing it was… No, the Smartped… i- i keep forgetting what it was called… it's terrible though….