Update: If you are here for The Key V2, please see this post below for information regarding flashing an updated stock configuration with hotkeys for changing LED modes and a more user-friendly Copy and Paste default action.
Thank you for purchasing your Stack Overflow The Key Macropad. We hope you’re enjoying it so far. If you’ve landed here, you probably want to take full advantage of the keyboard’s custom configuration so you’ve come to the right place.
What Does The Key Come With?
Out of the box, The Key comes built in with three keys that act as the “ctrl”, “c”, and “v” keys. It also includes a USB-C to USB-A cable to connect to your computer. Users that only have USB-C ports would need to provide their own USB-A to USB-C adapter.
How do I configure The Key?Creating a New Custom Configuration
The Key can be reconfigured and remapped so that each key press results in a different character, or set of characters. Users commonly find it helpful to remap these to media keys (Play, Stop, Next Track), utility keys (volume up/down) or application shortcuts (launch Chrome).
To get under the hood and start reprogramming your The Key:
3. Upload TheKey.json by pressing the “Upload” button under the text ‘Upload Keyboard Firmware Builder configuration’. This is what you’ll see:
4. Now the fun begins. There are many areas to play with and a lot more can be read on QMK Firmware here. To keep this instruction set simple, we want to scroll to the Tab that says “Keymap”. By default this JSON file has a keymap where the three keys are the numbers 1, 2, and 3.
5. Select the leftmost key. Click on the “KC_1” button and it’ll unfurl the functions you can bind your first key to. Choose a function. Repeat the process for the remaining two keys. A full list of keycodes and what function they perform is given here.
6. It is now time to compile this new configuration into a file that you can use to flash The Key with your new functionality. Go to the “Compile” tab and press the button “Download .hex”. You will see a file downloaded named 3key.hex.Quick Note on Adding Layers
Adding a layer requires one of the keys to activate a layer. For example, the function “MO()” momentarily activates a layer. We are posting some images below for an example on how one could create a new layer.
Again, as mentioned above, a full list of keycodes and what function they perform is given here. You can further look into “Layer Switching” and “RGB Lighting” on this page.
Uploading the New Custom Configuration onto The Key
This part of the process is where you will take the 3key.hex file you’ve created and “flash” it onto The Key’s PCB. What this means is that we are uploading a file to The Key and telling it to perform the functions we defined in the step above.
2. Install and launch the software. This is what you will see. Please make sure that the MCU shows “atmega32u4”
3. Click “Open” and select the 3key.hex file you created above. In the image below you can see the filename is not exactly 3key.hex and that is because we tried to create many different configurations. Note that the “Flash” button is not activated at this point.
4. Unscrew the back of The Key and take off the back plate. You’ll see the exposed PCB. Connect The Key to your MAC or PC. Once connected, press the button on the back of the exposed PCB of the macropad. Go back to the QMK Toolbox and you will see text in yellow saying that a device has been connected, along with the “Flash” button now being activated.
5. Click the “Flash” button. QMK Toolbox will show that it is trying to flash The Key and once the flashing is done will show a yellow prompt saying that the device has been disconnected.
6. You can now test whether the macropad is performing as you had configured it. You now have your version of The Key. Enjoy and please share what you created with the community.
Let us know if you have any questions in the discussion. We also look forward to the community sharing the custom layouts and functionality they are building with The Key.