The equals key is missing from my keyboard. If I need to press it I am currently using a pencil to stick in the hole and push the little internal button.

Any ideas how to continue using my keyboard efficiently?

  • 3
    What type of device is this? On a calculator the answers may well be different than a PC for example. Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 18:25
  • If you have a 3D printer, you might be able to "print" a replacement key and stick it into your keyboard.
    – kevin
    Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 7:45
  • 1
    Could always go to a thrift shop, grab a cheap keyboard for use as a parts board, in case your preferred board loses more keys. Or do what I do when you get new hardware.....never toss the old hardware. Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 8:01
  • You can use onboard if you are using Linux.
    – Peaceful
    Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 17:59
  • Its a keyboard for my PC Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 4:38

8 Answers 8


Normally, the keys just pop out with a gentle lift. Find a key that you rarely use, pop it out and click it in place of your equals key. If you want, you can tape a piece of paper over the printed symbol saying "=". Use your pencil for typing the rare character once a month.

  • 3
    @OldBunny2800: The backslash is quite frequently used by those of us who do programming. For a standard PC keyboard, I think the least likely to be used would be the "Print Screen" or "Pause/Break" keys. In several decades of working with computers, I don't think I've EVER used them.
    – jamesqf
    Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 21:13
  • 3
    @jamesqf You've never taken a screenshot? Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 21:42
  • 8
    I'd say Scroll Lock.
    – Pedro
    Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 1:10
  • 1
    @wizzwizz4 - in excel it toggles moving the view vs moving the selected cell. Well, it did last time I tried it, my logitech keyboard doesn't seem to have a scroll lock any more... (which is quite telling) Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 11:35
  • 3
    ReplaceitwiththespacebarlikeIdid! Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 18:55

You can define another combination for it using a software like AutoHotkey. It's an open-source macro-creation tool.

The following code replaces = with Alt+], and also + with Shift+ Alt+]. Use any key instead of ] if you want. Save this code as a .ahk file and then run it using AutoHotkey.

SendRaw, =

SendRaw, +

Autohotkey is available for Windows. On a Mac you can use similar softwares such as Keyboard Maestro.

  • I'm new here but do I detect a "chicken-and-egg" situation with this solution?
    – SlySven
    Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 0:46
  • @SlySven No. You can copy the code from here instead of typing it.
    – Mostafa
    Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 0:49
  • Ah, ha - yes that would do it - assuming as is other answerers that it is a PC type keyboard device. I don't have the repution to suggest holding down the ALT key and typing in the digits 6and then 1 (for =) or 4 and 3 (for +) before releasing the ALT key but that is probably even more specifically a MS Windows OS solution...
    – SlySven
    Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 0:56

I don't know how efficient it would be, but you could use the on-screen keyboard.

For MacOS, you can enable the on-screen keyboard by selecting the "Show Keyboard Viewer" menu bar option, which can be enabled by checking the "Show Input menu in menu bar" under the "Input sources" panel.

For Windows, you can select Start -> Settings > Ease of Access > Keyboard.


If the key is just missing (not being damaged still there) you might find a replacement key in a shop where they recieve old keyboards.
Like in shops where they refurbish used computers or where they put together several old computers to make one usable one.

Or you might be able to order one online, if you search on your make of keyboard.
Sometimes other keys fit, as long as the bottom of the key is identical, and you can scrape off the text (if any) on the top.

This question from over in Arts and Crafts might show you what you need to know about the under side of the keys.
Two main versions shown, there are more different ones around.

There is an other solution, if you have a key on your keyboard you never use, you can switch the function of the keys.
I do not remember how, but I am pretty sure the help function on your computer should help you find it. 'Repurpose keys' I would look for. Depending on the layout of your keyboard and the country you are in/the language you use. On my keyboard I might use the one with ~ and `, or the one with | and \

If you repurpose your missing key for the one you repurpose, you can still use that set of characters with your pencil.


I had an issue on a business trip with the b key on my laptop's built-in keyboard refusing to work. I didn't have an external keyboard with me, and I was working. A LOT. For me, working means taking notes in meetings, writing up plans, sending emails, writing code -- typing, typing, typing.

I opened an existing document and copied a lower case b into my clipboard buffer, then pasted it into a notepad document I just kept open. I also did an upper case one. Then I just basically lived my regular life, using Ctrl-V to paste the b in wherever I might need to paste it. Type the first half of a word, paste the b, type the rest of the word. (Copy and paste from notepad, not from Word, because you don't want to paste any formatting, surrounding spaces, or other "helpful" features.) If I needed to do a normal copy-and-paste, I could flip back to the open file and get the b into the buffer again afterwards. At one point I was projecting my laptop and taking notes with this technique, and it wasn't until I had to re-get the b into the buffer that the other people had any idea I was doing it. (You get quick in a hurry if you do something enough.)

This technique should carry you until you can replace your keyboard, or at least get an external one you can connect.


Way #1:

  1. Get somewhere another keyboard with similar button shapes/sizes. Not necessarily new (it may be used by somebody else). Not necessarily working — you need just a "donor" of 1 button.

    • You can use forums/sites popular in your area to find that garbage. It should be relatively cheap (unless you have very rare keyboard with very specific button shapes). You can even publish announcement/post yourself ("I'll buy broken keyboard with specific button sizes for <specific price, small, but adequate for your area>") instead of searching within list of already published propositions.
    • If your have friends, working as system administrators or something like that, then you even have a chance to get one for free. As, due to specifics of their work, they have access to lots of broken hardware. Any non-functioning keyboard will probably have no value for them, but can act as "donor" for your keyboard.
    • Try using social networks.
  2. Try pulling some button from a "donor" keyboard and inserting into yours.
  3. You may need to repeat 1-2 several times, as similarly looking keyboards not necessarily have identical button shape and mechanism.

Way #2: Try crafting the button (or a surrogate) yourself. Probably the hardest way, even if you have access to 3D-printers or some other helpful equipment; at least if you want "real" button. But still theoretically possible. Also, I don't know mechanism of your keyboard, so I can't say anything more concretely. If the spring is still inside, it may be enough just to put a piece of eraser (or other easy-cut material) of a proper size on the top of it to avoid using a pencil.


This is likely completely over thinking this but you could 3d print one. I doubt you have a 3d printers but you might have a makerspace (also known as hackspaces) close by which is likely to have one. If you go along someone might design one for you or help you design one yourself (there might be one already designed like this one http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:468651), might cost more (the makerspace i go to is £5 per session and no other costs) than some other solutions but in my opinion it will be more fun.


Google change a key function on key board. Then you can easily change a function of less used key into what you want

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