What Do The G-Keys On A Computer Keyboard Actually Do?
The G-Keys on a keyboard are programmable switches that allow a multi-step task to be shortened into the single press of a button.
Also known as macro keys, these helpful features speed up workflow by reducing the amount of time spent on repetitive tasks.
With the ability to program multi-step commands to be instantly completed, repeated in real time, or incorporate delays, G Keys have become extremely popular in the gaming community, amongst productivity enthusiasts and those with sore wrists.
An almost infinite number of automations can be assigned to a G-key, with requests able to incorporate a combination of mouse movements, mouse scrolling, keyboard actions as well as delays.
I myself keep things fairly conservative with my own macros going for quick wins on productivity only. Here’s how I use my first three keys to save time on tasks I know I’ll have to complete either at the start, or end of each working day.
- G1 (‘The Every Morning Button’) = Open Outlook + Open Microsoft Teams + Open Chrome > Login into Podio
- G2 (‘The Website Start Up’)= Launch Chrome > Open WordPress Login Portal > Login into WordPress Dashboard
- G3 (‘The Timesheet’) = Open Google Drive > Open my timesheet in Google Sheets, enter today’s date into a new row and then move across to the adjacent cell ready for me to record tasks completed.
In reality there are unlimited combinations of tasks that can be programmed to a macro key (even ordering your favourite Pizza from a local takeaway can be automated to the press of a button)
How are G-Keys programmed for custom commands?
Software to record your multi-step commands and then program them to a particular key stroke is usually provided by the manufacturer. These programmes can come either in-built to the device or through an online app.
The user interface of macro software can be challenging to pick up straightaway but some of the market leaders such as Corsair’s iCUE and Logitech’s G-Hub are well covered with some excellent tutorials available for free on YouTube.
It might seem obvious but it’s worth stating that not all keyboards are blessed with dedicated macro keys, so don’t think you’re going crazy if you can’t find them on your board.
If however you wish to assign a macro command to a regular key it is possible with a little bit of work and the help of either Keyboard Maestro (Mac) or AutoIt (Windows). Each of these scripts records keystrokes and mouse actions to help you assign automation to any key you wish.
Although these tools aren’t free (at time of writing they are between $15 – $35), if you are regularly working back-to-back hours on repetitive tasks such as video editing or data entry, then the small fee will very soon have paid itself back.