Here's how to remove and replace keycaps from a keyboard

Read this if you want to learn how to remove and replace keycaps from your mechanical keyboard.

There are several reasons why you might want to remove the keycaps from a keyboard: an unfortunately spilled cup of tea, requiring a careful wipe down; exciting new HX3D keycaps – like the RPG Icon Pack to match your in-game actions – ready to take their place beneath your fingers; a general cleaning session to clear out dust and hairs; or perhaps pure curiosity as to the most amusing word you can spell across the length of the board. 

Whatever your reasons, this article will explain the basics of removing and replacing the keycaps from a keyboard.

How to remove and replace keycaps on your keyboard

Step 1: Preparation

Preparation for Keycap Removal
Preparation for keycap removal.

First, find a good tool that you can use to remove the keycaps. We recommend a keycap puller, (one is included with most HyperX keyboards, as well as some of our keyboard accessories). Some people will recommend using a fork or a butter knife to remove keycaps if you don't have a keycap puller. On some keyboards, it's even possible using just fingers. While this is possible, it can damage the keycaps or even the keyboard, so we’d recommend playing it safe and waiting until you have a proper keycap removal tool to start this process.

Once you have the right equipment, unplug your keyboard and find a clear space where you can start the removal process. Ideally, you'll want somewhere with enough room for you to lay out the keycaps in an arrangement that corresponds to their placement on the keyboard. The more organized you are from the start, the easier it'll be to get the new or cleaned keys in the right place.

Step 2: Removing the keycaps

Removing the Keycaps
Removing the keycaps

To remove a key, take the keycap removal tool, place the edges under the key in question, and pull directly up. This should dislodge the keycap from the keyswitch. Once the keycap lifts free of the board, drop it into your spare hand or place it gently next to the keyboard.

Once again, you want to have some way to remember where each keycap goes before you remove all of them. If you don’t, the reassembly process can get kind of tricky. Good options include keeping the layout of the keyboard up on another screen or taking a photo of the keyboard before you start removing keys. We also recommend placing them in the same layout as they are on the keyboard, as this saves a lot of time when repositioning them.

When removing keycaps be sure to take extra care with bigger keys such as the space bar. These keys may have a metal support bar that can easily be broken. Make sure the removal tool is in the center of the key and lift slowly and carefully so you do not damage any part of your keyboard. The same applies to larger HX3D models. Make sure you are gripping the key itself and not the model on top as you lift.

Step 3: Replacing the keycaps

Reapplying the Keycaps
Reapplying the keycaps

Once you have successfully removed your keycaps and have done with them what you set out to accomplish, it’s time to begin putting them back onto your keyboard. To accomplish this, simply line up the keycap with the keyswitch and slowly push down. If any resistance is met, this may mean that the keycap and keyswitch are not properly aligned, so take the keycap off and try again.

At this stage, you may be replacing keys with new designs such as 3D-printed HX3D keycaps. These can come in unconventional (though extremely entertaining) shapes like a plate of cookies or a vampire bat. The same principle applies as regular keys. Just make sure you are applying pressure uniformly downward to avoid snapping or damaging your 3D keycap model. For 3D models, you should also consider carefully which keys you replace. You probably don't want to swap out keys you use regularly for typing or gaming unless you're replacing keycaps with practical designs like the MMO abilities set. The function keys, numpad, and even escape key are great options for larger, more obstrusive designs.

The MMO Abilities set of keycaps - How to replace keycaps hx3d
The MMO Abilities set of HX3D keycaps.

When placing keycaps back onto your keyboard be sure to pay close attention when applying bigger keys such as the enter key, the space bar, and the backspace key. Sometimes these keys are attached to support bars and you must correctly place them back onto the support bar for everything to work as intended. Position carefuly, and press down directly over the keyswitch. Being extra diligent will avoid serious damage to the keyboard, as the underlying support bars can be very difficult to replace, depending on the type of keyboard and its manufacturer.

General tips to remember:

RGB Gaming Keyboard
RGB gaming keyboard
  1. When removing keycaps make sure you're using the proper keycap tool to avoid damage to your keyboard.
  2. When removing keycaps, make sure you pay close attention to larger keys such as the enter key and the space bar because they may be attached to support bars that can get damaged in the process if you are not careful.
  3. Make sure you remove your keycaps in groups or place them on a surface in the same layout they would appear on your keyboard. This helps you know where to replace the keycaps once they are all off your keyboard. Remembering where every keycap should go from memory is tougher than it looks!
  4. When reapplying keycaps, make sure you do so slowly and carefully and don't force anything into place to avoid damaging your keyboard.
  5. When reapplying keycaps, pay close attention to larger keys such as the enter key and the space bar and make sure that if they have a support bar that it is properly realigned with the keys so that no damage is done to your keyboard or the support bar.

Looking for an excuse to pop some keycaps from their place? Check out HyperX's 3D-printed keycap lines to see creative options like the Abilities Set and RPG Movement Set. Decide which best fits the mood of your game space, then start plucking those basic keys!

Nicole is a fan of gaming, music, and movies. Feel free to reach her at for questions, concerns, or just good music and movie recommendations!


Shop Now


Shop Now