The Amazing Shortcut Keypad is a USB keypad capable of automating anything your keyboard or mouse can do in any combination. This includes keyboard shortcuts, media commands, typing text and controlling the mouse.
By combining these with delays and repeats, you can quickly create powerful computer automation to overcome repetitive tasks – saving you time and effort.
If you'd like a little more detail on how you can use the drag and drop editor to set up automation on the keypad, you can check out this video:
It’s All About Open Source
It’s as simple as this – if this campaign reaches its goal, every part of this project will go Open Source and I’ll give you all the digital files you need to create your own shortcut keypad.
This will include the keypad software (which is 100% Arduino compatible) as well as STL files for 3D printing, build instructions, circuit diagrams, circuit board files, tutorials and, of course, the drag and drop automation editor.
Even better, I’ll be releasing four different designs of keypad – they’re all pretty much identical in terms of software and circuitry, but they use different price components so you can choose a design which fits your price range. You can read more about the different designs further down the page.
Whilst affordability was a major driver in creating the keypad, there are two elements which really set it apart – drag and drop automation and hackable hardware.
Drag and Drop Automation
All automation is set up using a simple but powerful drag and drop automation editor. You simply select the button you want to programme and then drag and drop the automation you’d like to happen when that button is pressed. It’s really quick to get working and is designed to be as intuitive as possible.
At the heart of The Amazing Shortcut Keypad is an Arduino-compatible microcontroller (a Pro Micro to be exact) which is programmed entirely using the Arduino IDE.
This means that both the software and the hardware can be easily adapted to suit your automation needs.
By tweaking a small piece of code, you could trigger automation using toggle switches, a potentiometer, a distance sensor or anything you like. If you can wire it up to an Arduino, you can use it to trigger automation using The Amazing Shortcut Keypad software – it’s that simple!
The Four Designs
1) A Button On A Breadboard
It’s super simple, it’s super adaptable and super cheap (should be less than £10 to build).
A single press of this button has all the functionality you see in the video and is programmed with the drag and drop automation editor – this is true of all four designs.
This version was designed as a bare-bones version for people who either just want a basic circuit to adapt for themselves or who want to give the whole thing a try without investing too much up front.
2) Matrix Keypad Design
This version uses a little matrix keypad which is loved by hobbyists and is also a really good price. This is a nice entry – level version which gives you plenty of buttons to automate with.
3) Silicon Button Design
This is a light-up version which uses squishy silicon buttons and is built around the Adafruit Trellis Monochrome Driver PCB. It's compatible with any 3mm LEDS so get creative with your colours!
4) Cherry MX Design
This is the top end design which uses mechanical keys like you’d find in a high quality keyboard. In particular, it uses Cherry MX keys which are fitted with brightly-coloured keycaps.
This is my favourite design as it’s an absolute joy to use and it gives you the opportunity to customise how it looks through your choice of keycaps.
Where Did It Come From, Where Will it Go?
I started this project because I wanted a shortcut keypad for myself as there was nothing on the market which had a good combination of speed to set up, ease of use, and affordability.
Even more so, I wanted to automate like 10 different things one after the other at one button press, not just a single keyboard shortcut which is what most commercial keypads offered.
Having made one for myself, I found it really useful and wanted to share what I had made so that others could experience the benefits of increasing their productivity and minimising wasted time/effort.
Here’s what the first one looked like:
My hope in the future is that this will become something which belongs to the community and it can be adapted to a wide range of applications. It could be used in assistive technology, uploaded to other keyboards, built into home automation systems or adopted as an office productivity tool.
The only question remaining is, what will you use it for?
Thanks for reading through and feel free to get in touch with any questions!