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My computer keyboard look scruffy and old but works perfectly and is more comfortable to use than others I have owned. It's wireless and part of a set (keyboard, mouse and USB dongle) I don't want to replace the whole lot. In any case I can't remember the model and it isn't labelled.

The problem is that the letters have worn off the most used keys. I am a fast two-finger typist but have to glance down. I am making more and more typos.

Question

I hope to renew the lettering on my keyboard but haven't come up with a satisfactory method.

Transfers? I don't think they would last a week.

Paint new letters on? I don't have the brush skills to paint new, white letters on the keys. I'd like the letters to look nice or at least not scribbled.

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My keyboard is going the way of yours, but not yet so much.

Perhaps you could try engraving the lettering somehow, to prevent it wearing off immediately. Then run some paint into the engraving.

I don't have the tools to do that, so I might try to scratch the letter into the key top, and run paint into that.

Another thing I might to, is to drill one or more small holes near the corners of the worn key tops – one for the A, two for the S, and so on, and run paint into the holes with a toothpick or similar. I am sure I would soon learn that the one-hole key is the A. It's more information than a blank key top.

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  • Don't know why I didn't think of engraving. I'd welcome an excuse to buy a cheap engraving machine if such things exist. – chasly - reinstate Monica Jun 26 at 20:41
  • ... or maybe I can use my electric drill, and move the key provided I can prise the keys off the keyboard without damaging them. – chasly - reinstate Monica Jun 26 at 20:55
  • I see that engravers are cheaply available, as illustrated in another answer. Don't cut too deeply. – Weather Vane Jun 26 at 20:56
  • I've also discovered that cheap artists' pantographs are available. Or I could make one. That way I could trace the lettering accurately from large to small. – chasly - reinstate Monica Jun 26 at 21:02
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My Hack was inspired by Weather Vane.

Replace the letters on the keycaps of the keyboard you have come to love.

White Sugru™ mouldable glue would be wear resistant and highly visible against the dark plastic background on your keyboard for the most-used e_t_a_o_i_n_s_ keys, if not all.

  • You would etch the shape of the letter into the keycap with an engraving tool. Handheld engraving tool

  • Push the white Sugru into the hollow channel and let it cure.
    Use a little more than enough to fill the gap.

  • After it has cured a while (according to the instructions), remove the excess so that the Sugru is flush with the keycap.
    It will continue to cure becoming more resilient with your tapping.
    It won't rub off as would anything applied to the surface. It becomes part of the key cap.

If you don't feel confident wielding an engraving tool freehand, visit an engraver where trophies and name plates are personalized with an engraving machine. The size and style of the letters is adjustable. It is very precise and consistent.

It probably won't be very expensive.

Good luck.

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  • Now that @Weather Vane has mentioned engraving and you have mentioned white glue, I'm thinking of ways to implement this. – chasly - reinstate Monica Jun 26 at 20:51
  • Sugru™ is NOT white glue. Think of it as a material that is sticky that cures as resilient elastic. It comes in many bright colours, white, grey, and black. @chaslyfromUK – Stan Jun 27 at 11:55
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Frame challenge answer:

Instead of replacing the print, learn to type without looking at the keyboard keys. There are lots of (free) tools available and with a bit of practice you should soon be able to make good progress.

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  • Thanks for the suggestion, I had considered it myself. However after many years of finger pecking I have achieved considerable speed. In terms of preference (call me lazy if you will), I would rather spend the money on new equipment than spend the time on learning the new skill! – chasly - reinstate Monica Jun 26 at 14:18
  • No need to learn to type without looking, just to remember the position of the few letter which are completely rubbed of. That is a group of three starting with the A, an other group with the E, and likely an other group of two or three. And you do not have to start from zero, as you already know where to find most letter after a few years of typing on this keyboard. – Willeke Jun 27 at 12:04
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By accident I discovered the search term "keyboard stickers"

I found a selection on Amazon that look like the ones on my keyboard. They're not expensive so I've ordered some.

The reviews say they are durable so here's hoping!

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