Peripherals forum

General discussion

Keyboard letters wearing out.

by keyhoti / November 29, 2004 10:40 PM PST

I replaced my original keyboard after a year, because the letters were wearing out; but now, after six months, the same is happening on my "new" Labtec board.
Does anyone know of more durable keyboards? (My local supplier says that all have printed, rather than engraved letters.)
Or else does anyone know of stick-on letters.
I am in Australia, incidentally.

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Re: Keyboard letters wearing out.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 29, 2004 11:01 PM PST

Have you looked at Logitech and Microsoft keyboards?

As for me, the keys I wear out are the ones I know best. I have been able to get by on those typewriters with not letters on them. That typing class I took decades ago was a great idea.


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Re: Keyboard letters wearing out.
by keyhoti / November 29, 2004 11:37 PM PST

I was always too stubborn to take typing lessons and got by well on my old manual typewriter (with durable keys)with the two finger approach, which also still serves me well now that I am a bit arthritic, except that I need visual cues and doubt that I can break the habit now.
I'll have a look at Logitech and Microsoft options: thanks for the suggestion.

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You can but replacements at the URL below
by CPUTECH / May 12, 2005 10:04 PM PDT

You can buy replacement letters for keyboards by visiting

My wife is constantly wearing out the letters on her keyboard. She uses her computer so much she even wore a hole in the touch pad. I had to make a thin plastic patch to repair it. I have used these letters several times in the past. Just peel them from there sheet and stick them right onto your keys. They have a good feel and you can barely tell that they are replacements. They only cost about 14.95 each and 5.00 or so for shipping. They will ship to Australia I think.

For 14.95 per they last about one year each time you replace them. It works for me.

Hope this helps.

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Worn out keyboard letters
by Golda Quesinberry / April 28, 2005 5:59 AM PDT

I wonder if you have gotten any feedback on the computer keyboard letters wearing off. About a month ago, we purchased a new keyboard. I have always typed and did not notice that the keys were gone. E, R, & T were no longer visible. I took it back to the store and they gave me another one. I have used it for about a week and the letters on the same keys are already almost invisible. This was on a Windows Comp/USA keyboard.

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Look where yours was made and...
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 28, 2005 6:04 AM PDT

Don't buy one made there.

It is that simple.

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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 28, 2005 6:06 AM PDT
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Keyboard Skin
by ramusson / April 29, 2005 3:14 PM PDT

Here, one can get a "skin" for almost all types of KB's. Made of synthetic membrane, it protects the KB from dust, spills,...

Maybe something like this will be useful, if available.

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Keyboard Covers
by John46947 / April 29, 2005 4:45 PM PDT
In reply to: Keyboard Skin
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Stick-on keyboard leters
by Nonnarosie / March 30, 2008 5:54 AM PDT

I have worn out the letters on our computer. My husband cannot type by feel and this is becoming quite a problem for him. I found a company on the net that makes adhesive replacement letters for keyboards - ASF Lightware Solutions. They advertise this product. The fee is $12.00 for four sheets. The black letters come with either white, yellow or grey background as well as black background with yellow letters. I am considering ordering.

For more information:;

This company located at Box 625 Morrick NY 11566 USA

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engraving letters on your laptop key board
by niko100 / April 29, 2008 5:22 AM PDT

there is a new company in NY that can engrave any letter in any language on your laptop key board .
the engraving will never wear out !
( the lady over there told me that only when the manufacturer print on the notebook key board it may wear out but if you engrave on the laptop keyboard it will stay forever!)
The name of the company is called IKBS - - international key board solutions .
They are located at 545 8th avenue b/w 37th and 38th street.
Their phone # is

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adding a 2nd language to a notebook with permanent engraving
by maanlamaan / May 27, 2008 12:07 AM PDT

- If your laptop, PDA or cell phone needs to "speak" a foreign language, IKBS will engrave the characters on its keyboard, turning it bi-, tri- or even quad-lingual.

Foreign Diplomats, who commonly buy laptop computers in the US - or, for that matter, Chinese students taking university courses in New York, translators, or anyone else who needs access to a language other than the one on their keyboard - have had to make do with "sticker solutions," where they affix a sticker with the alternative language on the keys.

While stickers are readily available and cheap, they look cheap, says Orfeli. CTO of IKBS-USA a New York City based compnay. Besides which, they often fade after several months' use and sometimes come loose. Basically, it's a messy look - one that doesn't go down well with the professional demeanor of businesspeople who need to make a good impression, or students who want to make a cool one.

"People are fed up with those messy stickers, or overlays," Orfeli says. "They look so unprofessional and cumbersome. Imagine an executive going into a meeting with a half-peeling sticker on his key. Not a great first impression."

Instead, he suggests engraving the characters of the language directly onto the keyboard. The engraving is done with a laser, creating a thin depression in each key, which is then filled with paint. With this process, up to four languages can be "installed" on a keyboard, achieving both the utilitarian goal of being able to more easily identify keys, as well as keeping laptops clean and sober.

Orfeli has perfected his company's unique engraving techniques to such an extent, that today the IKBS system can help on-the-go users of not just laptops, but also PDAs and cell phones.

IKBS recently opened a sales office and production facility in the US ( called IKBS-USA ); the company has already struck deals with several large laptop retailers, who will recommend the company's service to potential customers, and ship laptops to IKBS's offices for customized engraving.

Orfeli first got into the computer keyboard business 20 years ago in Holon. "Laptops were brand new to the computer market and only had English characters on the keys," he recalls. "Customers also wanted Hebrew letters on the keys, so I took white-out and painted onto the keys."

They soon faded, though, to the chagrin of Orfeli and the dismay of livid customers; stickers, the stopgap solution, were also unsatisfactory. Eventually, he got the idea of using a laser device to engrave characters onto a keyboard. But it took years to prefect the "light touch" necessary to pull off an engraving job successfully, an especially challenging job because you get only one chance to do it right.

So far, the response has been extremely positive, Orfeli says. He has contracts with a number of entities to engrave organization keyboards, including a large US government institution that provides advisers to foreign countries.

With laptops all the rage on college campuses, he says, IKBS has student representatives at schools in the New York area with significant immigrant populations ( students from the Far East have especially taken to the system ), and the company is even working with several Jewish high schools in the metropolitan area, outfitting student laptop keyboards with Hebrew engraving.

And, of course, the IKBS team is also active in Israel, with customers traveling from near and far to get their keyboards engraved at the company's Holon workshop - while they wait.

The service's applications extend far beyond the office or college lecture hall, according to Orfeli. "For example," he says, "if there was a very expensive piece of medical equipment that was produced with an English-language keyboard that was to be used in a country where English was not widely understood, we could engrave the device's keyboard with native-language characters, or even pictures, to ensure that users know what button to press and when."

The company even has a deal with the American Association of Retired Persons, whose growing numbers of baby boomer computer-hip retirees are seeking keyboards with larger characters than those on standard keyboards.

Industries using specialized high-tech equipment can also benefit, Orfeli says. "When users need access to just a few keys, we can engrave those keys appropriately and paint over the ones not in use, preventing operators from pressing the wrong button, as well as speeding up data entry."

Engraving is likely to be the only way to get alternative languages on a keyboard under these circumstances, Orfeli points out. "The laptop factory in China, or the US manufacturer of a sophisticated medical device, is not going to add characters for use by Finnish staff, unless they order thousands of units," he says, adding that it's a situation tailor made for IKBS's engraving service.

The engraved key can appear in a variety of colors - white, black, yellow, blue and purple - making it easier for users to identify when switching between functions. And IKBS will even remove stickers already placed on the keyboard by customers who have decided to take "a step up."

Orfeli sees only success with the company's foray into US markets. "We have worked with all the major computer and consumer electronics manufacturers," he says. "Included in this list are the industry leaders like IBM, HP, Dell, Apple and Microsoft."

IKBS can offer keyboards in no fewer than 54 different languages, Orfeli says. And while developing a method to engrave keyboards may seem like a "lightweight" achievement compared to many of the other innovations by Israeli high-tech firms, it's one that has potentially a far more practical impact than most.

"Everyone today uses a laptop, PDA or smartphone, and with globalization, more and more people need access to additional languages as well as their native tongues," says Orfeli. "The market for IKBS's services is huge."

IKBS-USA is located at 545 8th Avenue in midtown Manhattan. They can be reached at 1-212-629-5500 or

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"Laser etching" means nothing at all
by Truckles / January 22, 2009 7:40 PM PST

Just caught up with this thread so apologies for late addition.

A number of posters here refer to "laser etched" keyboards as if this is somehow a guarantee of durability.

It isn't.

"Laser etching" is just another way of getting the characters onto the keys -- not an assurance that they'll stay there.

I'm fed up with keyboards which barely manage a year's usage. Six months ago I decided I'd hunt down the keyboard that must, somehow, somewhere, exist, and finally found it in the form of a comparatively expensive Saitek Eclipse II keyboard, said by many users to be ultra quiet in operation and having the "added benefit" of laser etched keys.

Six months on, and the thing has completely lost e, r, t, i, o, a, s, d, l, c and n -- and as for "whisper quiet", it's no different from any other keyboard I've ever owned: that it doesn't "click-clack" in operation isn't a sign of high quality, merely an indication that the mechanism is one step up from a sub-$10 offering.

If anyone knows of a keyboard that is built to last rather than to almost instantly degrade, I'd love to hear about it. but please don't tell me about "laser etching", thanks!

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by huskersintexas / April 22, 2009 7:26 AM PDT

as a parent of 4 kids, I just look at keyboards as being replaceable anyway, and buy the $10 keyboards, and plan on buying a new one every 6 months. This way, I don't have to worry about keys wearing out, or anything getting spilled in them.

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by 22639 / June 18, 2010 5:07 PM PDT
In reply to: keyboards

I completely agree with huskersintexas. I don't have kids but I am hard on keyboards. Being a fast hunt and peck (and the peck borders on light typist and a smoker who also eats at her computer...I am having to constantly replace them due to dust, ashes, crumbs, etc. getting down inside (no matter how much I try and blow it out). Plus I prefer the white keyboards because I haven't found a black one that wasn't glossy black and produces a glare from my desk lamp. Unfortunately the white ones tend to use gray paint for their letters, numbers, etc. which quickly disappears. I have tried the flexible KBs (which I'm sure the touch typists can use successfully) and finally just gave in to buying blank white labeling stickers from either Walmart or the 99 cent store and writing the letters & numbers on them with a permanent marker. At least I can see which keys are which in the short time before I end up having to replace it.

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Another great place to get keyboard stickers
by tbenton / April 8, 2009 2:03 AM PDT

I have looked at a lot of sites that sell keyboard stickers and has the 'most used' key stickers for $8.95 and they are all the main keyboard keys rather than paying $15-20 for all the stickers which include keys rarely used. I just ordered some. I am a touch typist but seems w/o the letters I can't find them sometimes...I know how silly that sounds!

My former GWay PC with white keyboard and black 'engraved' keyboard letters never wore off in many years of use but my new Dell has black keyboard with painted on letters and they wore off in one year. Love the PC but the keyboard is not durable.


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Keyboard sticker site...
by 900megawatt / May 11, 2009 5:03 PM PDT

Thanks, tbenton. Your url was helpful.

Actually, you meant I just bought the $8.95 sticker packet from that site.

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