Last Updated on September 5, 2023
In the world of keyboards, size matters, and for many users, the numpad is an indispensable part of their typing experience. However, modern computing has seen a rise in compact and space-saving keyboard designs, such as the 60% keyboard, which lacks a dedicated numpad. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t worry! There are various ways to access a numpad on a 60% keyboard, both virtually and physically.
If you’re using a compact 60% keyboard without a dedicated numpad, you can still access numeric input efficiently. Here are quick solutions:
1. Basic Key Functions:
- Utilize the Function (Fn) key, often found on 60% keyboards, to access secondary functions like media controls, backlight adjustments, and navigation shortcuts.
- Explore layer switching, where you can switch between different key functions using dedicated keys or combinations.
- Make use of macro programming to automate repetitive tasks.
- Customize keymapping to reassign keys for specific functions, including emulating a numpad.
- Familiarize yourself with navigational shortcuts and function key combinations for tasks like refreshing a page or adjusting screen brightness.
2. Windows 10 and 11’s On-Screen Keyboard:
- Access a virtual numpad through the built-in on-screen keyboard.
- Use keyboard shortcuts (
Windows key + Ctrl + O) or enable it through Windows Settings.
- Customize the numpad appearance and functionality.
3. Numeric Keypad Emulators:
- Download numpad emulator software to create a virtual numpad.
- Adjust button size, key spacing, and layout to fit your needs.
- Input special symbols using alt codes without a physical numpad.
4. Keymapping The 60% Keyboard:
- Utilize software keymapping tools provided by your keyboard manufacturer.
- Consider using third-party keymapping software like SharpKeys (for Windows) or Karabiner-Elements (for macOS) to remap keys.
- Create custom macros for specific tasks.
- Experiment and customize keymapping to enhance your workflow.
5. Laptop NumLock (If you are using a 60% keyboard on your laptop):
- Activate the hidden numpad on some laptops by using the NumLock key.
- Look for the Fn or Alt key that matches the alternate numbers and press it in conjunction with the Number Lock key.
- Turn off Number Lock when done.
6. iPhone and iPad Number Pads:
- Use apps like NumPad along with a VNC server like TightVNC to turn your iPhone or iPad into a numpad emulator.
7. Using AutoHotKey as a Number Pad:
- Create custom scripts in AutoHotKey (AHK) to emulate a numpad using your keyboard’s existing keys.
- Customize AHK scripts to suit your specific needs and preferences.
8. Buy an External Numpad:
- Consider purchasing an external numpad that connects to your computer via USB or Bluetooth for dedicated numerical input.
These solutions allow you to access a numpad’s functionality on your 60% keyboard, enhancing your productivity and convenience.
The Importance of the Numpad
Before diving into the methods to access a numpad on a 60% keyboard, let’s understand why the numpad is essential and why some users can’t do without it. The numpad, short for numeric keypad, is a separate set of keys typically found on the right side of a full-size keyboard. It consists of numbers, arithmetic operators, and sometimes additional functions like Home, End, and Page Up/Down.
The numpad is highly valued by professionals who work with numbers extensively, such as accountants, data entry specialists, and gamers who use it for in-game commands. Many productivity applications, including spreadsheet software, benefit from the efficiency provided by a numpad. However, with the trend toward smaller and more portable keyboards, the numpad is often sacrificed to save space.
Why 60% Keyboards?
Before we explore the solutions for accessing a numpad, let’s take a closer look at 60% keyboards and why they’ve become so popular. A 60% keyboard is a compact mechanical keyboard that retains only the essential keys, omitting the numpad, function row, and even the navigation cluster. They are called “60%” because they typically contain 60% of the keys found on a full-size keyboard.
The appeal of 60% keyboards lies in their portability and minimalist design. They are smaller and lighter, making them ideal for on-the-go users and those who prefer a clutter-free workspace. However, for tasks that require numeric input, the absence of a numpad can be a hindrance.
Accessing a Numpad on a 60% Keyboard: Solutions
Now that we understand the significance of the numpad and the appeal of 60% keyboards, let’s explore various solutions to access a numpad on your compact keyboard.
1. Basic Key Functions Using Numpad on a 60% Keyboard
In addition to accessing the numpad, understanding basic key functions on a 60% keyboard can greatly enhance your productivity. Here are some essential key functions:
1. Function (Fn) Key
Many 60% keyboards include a Function (Fn) key that acts as a modifier. By holding down the Fn key and pressing another key, you can access secondary functions. These functions often include media controls (volume, play/pause, etc.), backlight adjustments, and navigation shortcuts.
2. Layer Switching
Some 60% keyboards offer multiple layers, allowing you to switch between different key functions. Layer switching is typically done using a dedicated key or key combination. For example, you might have a layer for multimedia controls and another for programming shortcuts.
3. Programming Macros
Many 60% keyboards support macro programming. Macros are sequences of key presses that can automate repetitive tasks. You can record and assign macros to specific keys, streamlining your workflow.
4. Custom Keymapping
As mentioned earlier, custom keymapping can be a game-changer. Reassign keys to functions that suit your needs, whether it’s for gaming, coding, or data entry. This flexibility is one of the strengths of 60% keyboards.
5. Navigational Shortcuts
On a 60% keyboard, navigating without the traditional arrow keys can be a challenge. However, most 60% keyboards offer arrow keys on secondary layers. Learn how to access these keys quickly to enhance navigation.
6. Mastering the Function Row
Since 60% keyboards omit the function row (F1-F12), you’ll need to use function key combinations to access these functions. Familiarize yourself with these combinations for tasks like refreshing a page, opening the task manager, or adjusting screen brightness.
By mastering these basic key functions, you can harness the full potential of your 60% keyboard, even without a dedicated numpad. Customization is key, allowing you to tailor your keyboard to your specific needs and preferences.
2. Windows 10 and 11’s On-Screen Keyboard
Windows 10 and Windows 11 offer a built-in solution for accessing a virtual numpad through the on-screen keyboard. While it may not be as quick as a physical numpad, the customization options available make it a valuable numpad emulator.
How to Access the On-Screen Keyboard:
- Using Keyboard Shortcuts: The fastest way is to hold down the
Windows key + Ctrl + Oto open the on-screen keyboard. You can also toggle it on or off with the same shortcut.
- Through Windows Settings:
- Press the
Windows key + Ito open Settings.Select
Ease of Access(Windows 10) or
Keyboard.Turn on the
Use the On-Screen Keyboard(Windows 10) or
On-screen keyboard(Windows 11) slider.
Optionsbutton in the lower-right corner, then check
Turn on numeric key pad. Click
OKto apply the changes. You can activate the numpad by pressing the
- Press the
The on-screen keyboard also offers hover functionality, allowing you to hover your cursor over a key instead of clicking it. You can customize the hover duration to control when it registers as a keypress.
If you prefer using an in-built keyboard but want to conserve screen space, you can minimize the keyboard to focus primarily on the numpad.
3. Numeric Keypad Emulators
For a more specialized and customizable option, you can download numpad emulator software. Numerous options are available, allowing you to tailor the virtual numpad to your specific needs.
Numpad Emulator is one such software that offers a range of features. These include the ability to adjust button size, key spacing, key layout, and even input special symbols using alt codes, all without needing a physical numpad.
4. Keymapping The 60% Keyboard
In addition to the methods mentioned above, keymapping can be a powerful tool for maximizing the functionality of your 60% keyboard. Keymapping allows you to reassign certain keys or key combinations to perform specific functions, including emulating a numpad. Here are some additional tips on keymapping:
Software Keymapping Tools
Many 60% keyboards come with software that allows you to customize key functions. Take advantage of these tools to remap keys to numpad functions. For example, you can assign the keys in the top row (1-0) to act as a numpad when a specific modifier key is pressed.
Third-Party Keymapping Software
If your keyboard doesn’t come with dedicated software, you can use third-party keymapping software like SharpKeys (for Windows) or Karabiner-Elements (for macOS) to remap keys. These tools provide a user-friendly interface for assigning new functions to your keyboard keys.
Create Custom Macros
Keymapping can also involve creating custom macros. For instance, you can create a macro that, when activated, simulates numpad input. This can be particularly useful for repetitive tasks that require numeric input.
Experiment and Customize
Keymapping is highly customizable, so don’t hesitate to experiment and find a configuration that works best for you. Consider your specific use cases and tailor the keymapping to suit your workflow.
Remember that keymapping is a versatile solution that goes beyond numpad emulation. It allows you to adapt your 60% keyboard to various tasks and preferences, making it a powerful tool in your arsenal.
5. Laptop NumLock ( If you are using 60% keyboard on your laptop)
Many laptops come without a dedicated numpad, but some provide a hidden numpad that can be activated using the NumLock key. These numpads are usually indicated by different-colored numbers, often sharing the keys 7, 8, and 9 in the top number row.
To activate the hidden numpad:
- Locate the Number Lock key (often labeled NumLock, Num Lk, or Num).
- Look for the Fn or Alt key, whose color matches the alternate numbers.
- Press the Fn or Alt key in conjunction with the Number Lock key.
You’ll know you’ve succeeded when the Number Lock key’s indicator light turns on or off. Now, the alternate color keys will function as your laptop’s numpad. Remember to turn off Number Lock using the same key combination when you’re done.
6. iPhone and iPad Number Pads
If you own an iPhone or iPad, there are apps available that can transform your device into a numpad emulator. While not all of them directly support Windows, some, like NumPad, can work with Windows when used in conjunction with a VNC (Virtual Network Computing) server like TightVNC to connect to your computer. These apps can save space and money compared to purchasing an external numpad.
Download NumPad ($4.99)
Download TightVNC (Free)
7. Using AutoHotKey as a Number Pad
AutoHotKey (AHK) is a versatile scripting language for Windows that can turn your 60% keyboard into a numpad. AHK allows you to create custom hotkeys and automate various tasks, including emulating a numpad.
Here’s a simple script that converts your Caps Lock key into a toggle for sending numeric keypad keys:
#If GetKeyState("CapsLock", "P")
This script repurposes the Caps Lock key to send numeric keypad input when pressed. It also ensures that Caps Lock remains disabled. Note that this script is designed for AutoHotKey v1. If you’re using AutoHotKey v2, you may need to download the previous version for compatibility.
Alternatively, you can modify the script to use the Caps Lock key as a toggle for numeric keypad input:
#If GetKeyState("CapsLock", "T")
With this script, when Caps Lock is on, your keyboard’s number keys will function as a numpad.
AutoHotKey offers extensive customization options, allowing you to create hotkeys tailored to your specific needs.
8. Buy an External Numpad
If you find yourself needing a numpad frequently and none of the above options suit your needs, consider purchasing an external numpad. These compact devices can be connected to your computer via USB or Bluetooth, providing you with a dedicated numpad when required. While this option may come at an additional cost, it offers the convenience of a physical numpad and can significantly speed up tasks that involve numerical input.
With the 8 numpad access options outlined above, you can choose the solution that best fits your needs and preferences. Whether you require a numpad for everyday work or occasional tasks, there is an emulator or external numpad option available to enhance your typing experience.
If you’re contemplating the purchase of a tenkeyless (TKL) keyboard, these solutions are especially valuable. You can still enjoy the compact form factor of a TKL keyboard while having access to a numpad when necessary, eliminating the need for a larger keyboard.
In an era of technological advancement, you no longer need to be concerned about the absence of a dedicated numpad on your keyboard. Embrace these alternative solutions and make the most of your 60% keyboard without sacrificing numeric input capabilities. Enjoy the best of both worlds—space-saving design and efficient number entry!
FAQs: Accessing Numpad on a 60% Keyboard
What is a 60% keyboard?
A 60% keyboard is a compact mechanical keyboard that retains only the essential keys while omitting the numpad, function row, and navigation cluster. It typically contains 60% of the keys found on a full-size keyboard.
Why are 60% keyboards popular?
60% keyboards are popular due to their portability and minimalist design. They are smaller, lighter, and clutter-free, making them ideal for on-the-go users and those with limited desk space.
Is a numpad essential for typing?
A numpad is essential for tasks that require numeric input, such as data entry, accounting, and gaming. While not required for all users, it greatly enhances efficiency in specific applications.
How can I access a numpad on a 60% keyboard?
You can access a numpad on a 60% keyboard through various methods, including using Windows’ on-screen keyboard, downloading numpad emulator software, activating the laptop’s hidden numpad, or utilizing keymapping solutions.
Can I use an external numpad with my 60% keyboard?
Yes, you can use an external numpad with your 60% keyboard. External numpads can be connected via USB or Bluetooth and provide a dedicated numpad when needed.
What is keymapping, and how can it help on a 60% keyboard?
Keymapping involves reassigning certain keys or key combinations to perform specific functions. It allows you to customize your 60% keyboard’s keys to emulate a numpad or perform other tasks efficiently.
How can I create custom macros on my 60% keyboard?
Creating custom macros on your 60% keyboard depends on the keyboard’s features and software. Most mechanical keyboards offer macro programming capabilities that allow you to record and assign macros to specific keys.
Are there software options for keymapping on a 60% keyboard?
Yes, there are third-party software options like SharpKeys (for Windows) and Karabiner-Elements (for macOS) that enable keymapping on your 60% keyboard. These tools provide a user-friendly interface for reassigning key functions.
Can I use AutoHotKey with a 60% keyboard to create custom key functions?
Yes, AutoHotKey (AHK) can be used with a 60% keyboard to create custom key functions, including emulating a numpad. AHK is a versatile scripting language for Windows that allows you to create hotkeys and automate tasks.
What are some basic key functions to master on a 60% keyboard?
Basic key functions to master on a 60% keyboard include using the Function (Fn) key for secondary functions, navigating layers, programming macros, custom keymapping, utilizing navigational shortcuts, and accessing functions typically found on the missing function row (F1-F12). These functions can greatly enhance your productivity on a 60% keyboard.
Kizaru is a fan, collector, and has a huge addiction to mechanical keyboards. Kizaru has a collection of dozens of mechanical keyboards that come in different sizes and use different switches. He also frequently contributes to various forums that discuss keyboards such as Reddit and GeekHack.