My work laptop is a HP elitebook 8560w which I mainly use for programming. Usually I have a external keyboard but recently I have been working out of office and therefore have been using the laptops own keyboard.

One thing has really started to bug me. The keyboard layout of this 15.6" laptop contains numpad but the arrow keys are really bad (too small). Also when programming, I really miss a standard inverted T-arrow keys and the home/end/PgUp/PgDn buttons. Then it occurred to me; I would rather give up a numpad than a standard arrow keys. (The keyboard real estate in 15.6" laptop would allow this, and I really have to agree with Jeff Atwood here http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2009/02/have-keyboard-will-program.html)

Which brings me to my question. Do any laptop manufacturers make custom keyboards for their laptops or is there some third party manufacturer who could supply these kind of special keyboards? Quick googling on this doesn't give any meaningful results. Looks like that I have to carry an external keyboard with me if someone here can't give any pointers.


Seems I was a bit ambiguous. What I was looking for was a keyboard like this in the laptop when the current one contains numpad. But like I suspected not such parts seem to exist. (Of course with Finnish/Swedish layout, but layout of the "main keyboard" is irrelevant here.)

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  • Can you confirm you mean a custom layout which fits onto your laptop as opposed to an external keyboard? – Dave Sep 20 '12 at 7:40
  • @DaveRook: Yes, I am looking a custom part that would replace my laptops keyboard (though I am a little pessimistic that those exist) – Ahe Sep 20 '12 at 7:59
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    @HaydnWVN sorry for being ambiguous. Now updated the question. – Ahe Sep 20 '12 at 10:52

I'm not aware of anything like that. Laptop keyboards are highly proprietary parts, designed for each particular model, sometimes with additional features like backlighting, tracpoint, liquid drain channels, custom Fn-hotkeys, etc. It doesn't make financial sense for laptop makers to offer multiple keyboard layout options, and it just isn't feasible for any third-party manufacturer to offer custom keyboards for all existing laptop models. I'm afraid you're stuck with what you have.

If you want a 15" laptop with standard arrow and navigation keys and no numpad, check out the ThinkPad W5x0 series (W520 and W530 are the latest models).

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  • I though so :(. My annoyance is not the numpad, but the lack of standard arrow/home/end/pgup/pgdn key layout. Hopefully one day these kind of options will awailable. The keyboard at least in HPs is a separate component which can be removed, too bad the only spare parts are identical to the original. – Ahe Sep 20 '12 at 8:34
  • There will be 'regional specific' keyboards for the laptop model (usually, some laptop models will change depending on the country of issue, possibly also with other hardware changes). – HaydnWVN Sep 20 '12 at 9:22
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    @HaydnWVN That's true, and there are even some slightly different mechanical layouts for each laptop model (ISO, ANSI, JIS), but these don't differ in terms of arrow or navigation keys that the OP is talking about. – Indrek Sep 20 '12 at 11:05

You will be very lucky to find a complete replacement keyboard that suits your needs.

You could probably pay for one to be made, but it wouldn't be cheap!

Or another option (used by many users) is a custom keyboard layout. This will change the function of certain keys to be whatever you need, obviously without changing the actual keyboard key tops themselves.

Information on SOF.

Keyboard Layout Editor.

Further information regarding regional layouts.

You will find lots of information about this when you start digging around... Many small countries and different subsets of languages will have people who have custom layouts for specific characters even when using a 'western' style keyboard. Remapping certain keys to others (ie exactly what you wish to do).


Looking at the image you've added to your original question. You can clearly see 'Arrows' on the numberpad keys (2486) and Home (on 7), Pg Up (on 9), End (on 1) and Pg Dn (on 3). So just turn Num Lock off? (key above 7.)

Providing this is exactly how your keyboard looks then you have a solution already!

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    I know about numlock :). Using arrow keys / home etc keys from numpad is not the same (buttons are in different positions and reassinging them by software wont move the physical buttons, nor will it add space between the up arrow and end keys). I know, I'm picky :(. Thanks for your time trying to help me. As you and @Indrek said, no laptop manufacturer makes these kind of keyboards. – Ahe Sep 20 '12 at 18:41
  • Sounds like your existing solution (ie external keyboard) is still the best option for your needs. Certainly without changing the laptop anyway! Keep your programming needs in mind when the next upgrade option comes along! :) – HaydnWVN Sep 21 '12 at 14:35
  • Would be nice to have some feedback regarding the -3 votes please guys! – HaydnWVN Sep 26 '12 at 9:41

As answered by HanydnWVN, reassigning of the keys to your needs is your best bet and then add these key stickers to the key caps (page up, page down and arrows) Key cap stickers

to the newly reassigned keys. They can be purchased at a place like Hooleon. I realize this is for an apple keyboard, but it was to give you an idea that these stickers are out there in many colors and sizes.

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