Optical keyboards are the latest trend in gaming and productivity. They use light to detect key presses instead of physical switches, which makes them faster, more durable, and quieter than traditional mechanical keyboards.
But did you know that you can also customize your optical keyboard with different themes and layouts? In this blog post, we will show you how to do that and why you should try it.
What are Optical Keyboards?
Optical keyboards are a type of computer keyboard that uses infrared light and sensors to detect when a key is pressed. When a key is pressed, the infrared light is interrupted and the sensors detect the change in light, registering the keystroke.
This process is much faster than the mechanical process used in traditional keyboards, which requires a physical switch to be pressed down and released.
Optical keyboards also have the advantage of being more durable than mechanical keyboards, as they have no moving parts that can wear out or break.
They are also generally quieter to type on, as there is no sound made by the physical act of the key switch being depressed. Optical keyboards come in various sizes and layouts, from full-size to compact 60%.
They also have different types of switches, such as linear, tactile, or clicky, depending on your preference. Some optical keyboards are also hot-swappable, which means you can easily change the switches without soldering.
Why Customize Your Optical Keyboard?
Customizing your optical keyboard can make it more fun, comfortable, and personalized. You can change the look and feel of your keyboard by choosing different keycaps, lighting effects, and software settings.
You can also change the functionality of your keyboard by choosing different layouts, macros, and shortcuts. Here are some reasons why you might want to customize your optical keyboard:
To Match Your Aesthetic
You can choose keycaps that match your style, mood, or theme. For example, you can go for a minimalist look with white or black keycaps, or a colorful look with rainbow or gradient keycaps.
You can also choose keycaps with different fonts, symbols, or legends.
To Enhance Your Gaming Experience
You can choose lighting effects that suit your game genre, mood, or preference. For example, you can go for a reactive effect that changes color based on your keystrokes, or a breathing effect that fades in and out.
You can also choose lighting effects that sync with your game audio or visuals.
To Improve Your Productivity
You can choose layouts that optimize your typing speed, accuracy, or comfort. For example, you can go for a QWERTY layout if you are used to it, or a Dvorak layout if you want to try something different.
You can also choose layouts that support different languages or symbols.
To Increase Your Functionality
You can choose macros and shortcuts that automate your tasks or commands. For example, you can assign a macro to launch a program or website with one keystroke, or a shortcut to copy and paste text with one keystroke.
You can also choose macros and shortcuts that suit your specific needs or preferences.
How to Customize Your Optical Keyboard?
Customizing your optical keyboard is easy and fun. You just need some basic tools and software to get started. Here are some steps to follow:
Choose Your Optical Keyboard
The first step is to choose an optical keyboard that suits your needs and budget. There are many brands and models available on the market, such as Corsair K100, Razer Huntsman V2, Keychron K8, Epomaker SK96s, etc.
You can compare their features, reviews, and prices online before making a decision.
Choose Your Keycaps
The next step is to choose keycaps that match your aesthetic and preference. Keycaps are the plastic covers that go on top of the switches. They come in different colors, shapes, sizes, materials, and profiles.
You can buy keycaps online from various vendors or platforms, such as Amazon, AliExpress, Drop, etc. You can also join group buys or pre-orders for custom keycaps from designers or communities.
Choose Your Lighting Effects
The next step is to choose lighting effects that enhance your gaming experience and mood. Lighting effects are the colors and patterns that illuminate your keyboard. They are controlled by software or hardware settings.
You can use the software provided by your keyboard manufacturer to customize your lighting effects, such as Corsair iCUE, Razer Synapse, Keychron Software, Epomaker Software, etc.
You can also use third-party software or plugins to sync your lighting effects with other devices or programs.
Choose Your Layouts
The next step is to choose layouts that improve your productivity and comfort. Layouts are the arrangements of keys on your keyboard. They affect how you type and access different functions.
You can use the software provided by your keyboard manufacturer to customize your layouts, such as Corsair iCUE, Razer Synapse, Keychron Software, Epomaker Software, etc.
You can also use third-party software or tools to create or modify your own layouts, such as AutoHotkey, QMK Firmware, VIA Configurator, etc.
Choose Your Macros and Shortcuts
The final step is to choose macros and shortcuts that increase your functionality and convenience.
Macros are sequences of keystrokes that perform a specific task or command. Shortcuts are combinations of keystrokes that perform a specific function or action.
You can use the software provided by your keyboard manufacturer to customize your macros and shortcuts, such as Corsair iCUE, Razer Synapse, Keychron Software, Epomaker Software, etc.
You can also use third-party software or tools to create or modify your own macros and shortcuts, such as AutoHotkey, QMK Firmware, VIA Configurator, etc.
Some Additional Tips
Experiment With Different Switch Types and Colors
Optical switches come in different types, such as linear, tactile, or clicky, and different colors, such as red, blue, or brown. Each type and color has a different feel and sound. You can try different combinations to find your favorite.
Lubricate Your Switches and Stabilizers
Lubricating your switches and stabilizers can make them smoother and quieter. You can use a small brush and some lubricant, such as Krytox or Tribosys, to apply a thin layer of lube on the contact points of your switches and stabilizers.
Be careful not to over-lube or spill the lube on other parts of your keyboard.
Add Some Foam or Dampening Material
Add some foam or dampening material inside your keyboard case. Adding some foam or dampening material inside your keyboard case can reduce the hollow sound and vibration of your keyboard.
You can use any soft and thin material, such as neoprene, Sorbothane, or shelf liner, to fill the empty space between your PCB and your case. Make sure to cut the material to fit your case and avoid blocking any screws or ports.
Add Some Rubber Feet or Risers
Add some rubber feet or risers to your keyboard. Adding some rubber feet or risers to your keyboard can improve the angle and stability of your keyboard.
You can use any adhesive rubber pads or bumpers to stick on the bottom of your keyboard. You can also use some adjustable risers or stands to prop up your keyboard at different heights.
Clean Your Keyboard Regularly
Cleaning your keyboard regularly can keep it in good condition and prevent dust and dirt from accumulating. You can use a soft cloth and some alcohol wipes to wipe down your keycaps and case.
You can also use a compressed air can or a vacuum cleaner to blow out any debris from between your keys.
Optical keyboards are an amazing innovation in computer input devices. They offer many benefits over traditional mechanical keyboards, such as faster response time, higher durability, and lower noise levels.
But they also offer many possibilities for customization, such as different themes and layouts. By customizing your optical keyboard, you can make it more fun, comfortable, and personalized.
You can also make it more functional, productive, and convenient. All you need is some basic tools and software to get started. So what are you waiting for? Grab an optical keyboard and start customizing it today!