Just a couple days ago I stumbled on the Techkeys.us website from the subreddit r/mechanicalkeyboards. They’ve got a whole lot of really cool stuff, but what really caught my eye was the SixkeyBoard. It’s a 4 or 6 key custom macro keyboard. There are several different ways to order it. You can buy just the PCB, a 4 or 6 key plate, or a totally assembled kit featuring Gateron Blues for the six key version, or the 4 key with Goate Red switches.
I went for the $45.00 six key version which includes a beautiful gunmetal grey anodized aluminum anodized case. The device has a premium feel to it; it feels sturdy under your fingers when pushing buttons. Mine even survived a toss to the tile floor after my toddler picked it up off the kitchen table. Note that none of the models come with keycaps or mini USB cord, I purchased a set of six dice themed caps from eBay for $6.99 I ordered on Sunday night and the product was at my door Wednesday afternoon. That’s some quick shipping.
I plan on using the SixkeyBoard at work, I do a whole lot of data analysis and data formatting. Taking data from raw data sources and pasting it into a formatted Excel document, then using the Excel file to paste my tables into a PowerPoint deck that’s read by our executives. Much of the work is copy> paste special> paste values in Excel, and a right click and paste keeping source formatting in PowerPoint. The keyboard shortcuts for these actions aren’t any faster than right clicking and navigating the sub menu. Here’s where the SixkeyBoard comes into play, the device requires no additional software and is seen as a keyboard by Windows. This works out well since I can’t install any software on my work laptop. Programming my most frequently used commands to the keys should help me speed up my workflow.
Once you’ve got it plugged in you open up notepad or any other text editor. Hold down the key you want to program for five seconds. The device will output text to the screen with some instructions on how to program it next. It’s quick and easy to input which keys you want it to assign to your macro. It took me about five minutes to program all six buttons on the keypad.
I programmed my macro setup like below, you’ll notice that several are Microsoft Office shortcuts:
- Copy (CTRL+C)
- Paste Special Values (SHIFT+F10, S, V)
- Paste Keep Source Formatting (SHIFT+F10, K)
- New Email (CTRL+N)
- Delete Message (CTRL+D)
- Paste (CTRL+V)
How is it working out for me? It certainly is a time saver, it plugs into my docking station via USB cable, no software needed on my work laptop. It took a few days to get used to it at the left of my keyboard, and it feels good under my left hand. Initially I had the 6 key assigned to ALT + F4 to close windows as I often let them pile up, I instead changed this to a regular paste shortcut as it seems to get more use that way. It’s great to be able to accomplish more and working a little simpler throughout my day. Since using it I’ve showed it off to several of my friends at work as an option to help speed up workflows. A great little device, however I’ve already ordered some replacement switches for the Gateron Blues I just can’t stand clicky keys.
- Easy to program
- No additional software needed
- Superior build quality
- Shipped for FREE
- No choice for switches unless you build your own with the PCB, either Gateron Blues for the six key or Goate Reds for the four key version
- No Rubber feet included
Update 3/25- swapped in some Gateron tactile switches XOXO