Stack Overflow’s copy / paste keyboard is no joke

An April Fools joke that only three buttons (Ctrl-, Ctrl-, and V) can be found on a Stack Overflow keyboard is a clever and practical April Fools gag. Stack Overflow and Drop managed to make The Key a $29 accessory.
The Key appears to be capable of only two things, copying and pasting. Copying code from Stack Overflows thousands (millions?) is a shameless act. You can copy the code from Stack Overflows thousands (millions?) of contributors and then paste it into your work. It's that simple.

The Key is much more powerful than this. The Key uses QMK open-source keyboard firmware. It can be completely reprogrammed to do more than copy and paste. Although it is not the easiest process, it can make The Key a fun accessory. It might be worthwhile to track one down if Drop has more stock for next year.

Drop The Key Verge Score: 7.5 out 10 Good Stuff.

Fully programable

It is solidly constructed Bad Stuff, just look at it

Programming requires dismantling

It is difficult to obtain Buy for $29.00 at Drop

The Key doesn't do anything new or innovative in functional terms. You can search eBay for Macro Keypad to find many keyboard add-ons at a fraction of the cost. These include anything from one blank key to nine keys. Another option that I have seen is the Keebio BDN9

The Key succeeds where a smaller keyboard I purchased a few months ago failed. It is also preassembled unlike other boards, which are more targeted at hobbyists.

The Key is a beautiful piece of hardware. The aluminum case houses the key, while underneath each key is a Kailh Box Black linear Kailh Box Black button that is just a little stiffer than regular Cherry MX Reds. It will thunk when you press one. This is what you would expect from a mechanical switch. You can even connect to your computer via the modern USB-C port located on the back.

It also has very easy-to-follow instructions on Drop that will help you reprogram the device. The last macro board I purchased arrived in a plain cardboard box. Its eBay listing led me to a disorganized Discord server with confused customers and (admittedly!) helpful support staff. Although I'm sure there are better-documented cheap macro boards, my experience thus far was not ideal.

Before I begin to reprogramme The Key, I want to clarify that it is capable of copying and pasting from the box for most Windows users. The key with the StackOverflow logo acts like your Ctrl button, and the V and C keys work as expected. You already know the drill. I don't need to explain how copying or pasting works.

This is an issue for Mac users. The default copying/pasting shortcuts depend on Cmd rather than Ctrl. Any Mac users who wish to use The Key must reprogram their device accordingly. This was also an issue for me because I used the Dvorak keyboard layout instead of QWERTY. It caused The Keys to register the C key as a J and the V as a K. (Compare QWERTYs layout with Dvorak to see if this makes sense).

These problems required me to learn programming The Key. I'm glad I did. This allowed me to see the full potential of The Key's macro pad. It can do much more than copy and paste. QMK has a lot of commands. You can even use one key to perform multiple tasks with a modifier key.

You might use The Key to control a few media playback functions (play/pause, skip forward and back), or volume (volume up/volume down, mute). You might even want to program each key into a macro so that each key can respond to a series button presses.

After I made The Key into a Zoom shortcut macropad, I found myself in the same place as before. This was partly inspired by all the DIY projects I saw last year. It could turn my microphone and camera on or off, while the third button would stop the Zoom call completely.

Yes, copying and pasting work

QMK allows you to program multiple stages in addition to simple key combinations (Alt+V and Alt+A for microphones), You can program a button that will trigger Zoom's exit process by pressing the Alt+Q key. I can also program the Zoom to follow-up with a tap on the Enter key. My colleagues won't have to watch me staring into the distance when I forget Zooms confirmation dialog box.

Many keyboards already have macro keys. Logitech and Corsair have offered keyboards with additional programmable buttons for years. Elgatos $149.99 stream deck has more advanced devices, including small displays on every key that allow you to customize their appearance and function. The Key is only $29. This is an affordable and flexible alternative.

Although there are some drawbacks to using The Key in this manner, they are not too many. As I mentioned above, you can't change the legends of keycaps when reprogramming their commands. These PBT keycaps are beautifully made with legends printed using dye sublimation. However, no matter what fancy functions they perform, they will always look the same. You have two options: either commit their functions to memory or buy more keycaps. Or you can stick some ugly Post-it notes so that you keep track of which key is what.

Although it can't match a Stream Deck at $29, it isn't prohibitive.

The second problem is that, although Drops instructions are simple, flashing custom firmware to The Key can be a bit cumbersome. To expose the PCB, you will need to remove the screws from the board's underside. There is a button that can be pressed to activate flashing mode. This is fine if you plan to only set up The Key once, and then forget about it. However, it can be a bit annoying if the keyboard needs to flash. was an intuitive way to remap The Key. However, it is technically out of date and could be shut down. To design a layout, I tried (a QMK configurator) but it failed to recognize the configuration files Drop provided. Drop said that it was working on the problem and pointed me to a more complicated solution from the community.

The Key is a ridiculous novelty that comes out of the box. It is so common to copy and paste that I think every computer user has made it a habit. Your keyboards already have Ctrl and C keys, and they are right under your left hand. It is futile to train yourself to reach for another keyboard.

It is great that Drop and Stack Overflow have not abandoned The Key, despite it being a silly novelty. Although it isn't doing anything new or innovative, it's well-constructed, well documented and extremely flexible.

The problem with The Key is its difficulty to obtain. Drop says it has sold out of an extra production run due to ship in December. It also said that next year's run is planned, but declined to give more details. Drop can notify you when more are available. But who knows when?

Although the Key won't be giving Elgatos Stream Deck a fight, it is a great option for those who want to add macros or media keys to their keyboard after downsizing to a compact Happy Hacking keyboard. Drops supply may not catch up to demand for a while.