How to Use Macro Keys for Gaming? Are Macros Useful?


what are macro keys

When you first delve into the world of PC gaming you’re going to realize there is a wide variety of things that you can use to elevate your playing potential ranging from cheat codes to macro keys. But what are macro keys and how to use them for gaming?

There are plenty of shortcuts that are acceptable to use in offline games, such as RPGs but aren’t recommended for use in online environments such as with FPS games. Macro keys can prove to be quite useful in a wide variety of gaming situations for a couple of reasons.

What are Macro Keys?

The first thing to learn about is the true definition of macro keys and once you understand that, learning how to use them for gaming is incredibly simple. Macro keys are different keystrokes that you can playback repetitively to repeat the same action over and over again. For example, you can set a specific pattern of keystrokes to create a specific sequence that helps you attack a big boss or to mine for materials.

They are essentially an easier way of doing regular tasks without having to press the same keys repeatedly. They can also come in handy for offline fighting games, as you can do combinations without having to try to remember what all of the hotkeys are.

How Do You Set Macro Keys

The Downfall of Using Macro Keys

As mentioned, there are plenty of games where you can benefit from the use of macro keys and in all honesty, once you learn how to use them for gaming, you can have an advantage in every game that you play. However, there are times when using them is appropriate and times when using them aren’t; in fact, there have been numerous players who have attempted to use macro keys in online games only to get banned from the servers.

Is using Macro keys cheating?

How,  you might ask? The answer is simple. If you’re able to input a sequence of movements into a macro key, then instead of having to push multiple keys when you come in contact with another person in a PvP situation, you’re going to have a leg up in the match and as a result, beat them to the punch every time. This in itself is referred to as “automation” and can lead to a direct ban on game servers because it’s seen as cheating.

With all of that being said, there’s absolutely no reason as to why you can’t benefit from using macro keys in an offline environment, especially in a game that has an exploitative glitch to help you get more materials to better your offline characters. Even if you find that you’re going around fighting NPCs (Non-Playable Characters) on a regular basis, you can program a macro to do the fighting for you with the help of a single button.

The Downfall of Using Macro Keys

How to Safely Use Macro Keys in an Online Game

It’s always recommended that you avoid using macro keys as often as possible when it comes to online gaming, especially PvP games because you never know what could be classified as an offense that could get you banned. However, there may be “loopholes” in the game’s terms of service that you can use to your advantage if you want to learn how to use macro keys for gaming.

The vast majority of online games allow users to program a single action to a single macro key, as this is no different than using the traditional keys on the keyboard. For example, you could program your shooting button to “G2” and your dodging button to “G3”, but you wouldn’t be allowed to program a dodge-shoot-dodge function to “G2” alone.

Although this doesn’t mean that you’re going to be able to completely rule the leaderboards, it can make it slightly easier for you to learn how to use macro keys and to get the hang of computer gaming if you’re relatively new to it. Instead of having to focus on pressing several keys on opposite ends of the keyboard, you can have all of the most important keys in one section.

How to Find a Gaming Keyboard with Macro Keys

Not all gaming keyboards come equipped with macro keys, though the vast majorities do. The easiest way to find one is to take a quick browse around the internet and carefully read through product descriptions as they will typically tell you whether the keyboard comes with macros or programmable keys.

If all else fails, you can also look at the design of the keyboard. In most cases, macros are placed on either the far left or far right of the keyboard in a series of one to 18, similar to the numeric keypad. These keys will be separate from the rest of the keyboard and easy to spot.

How Do You Set Macro Keys?

This may differ depending on the type of gaming keyboard that you have, but in general, most gaming keyboards offer a set of macros keys. Depending on which device it is and which manufacturer the product comes from, the type of programming can differ. Often certain macro keys are already assigned commands.

It is the easiest to program the keys using the software supplied by the manufacturer or the driver app that comes with the keyboard.

Keyboards with Macro Keys

Corsair K55 RGB Gaming Keyboard – IP42 Dust and Water Resistance – 6 Programmable Macro Keys – Dedicated Media Keys - Detachable Palm Rest Included
  • Dynamic RGB backlighting across three zones, with full customization of colors and lighting effects
  • Dust and spill resistant design rated up to IP42 protection guards against accidents so your gameplay never has to stop
  • Six programmable macro keys give you the in-game advantage of powerful macros or key remaps
  • Detachable, soft rubber palm rest reduces stress on your wrists so you can play longer in comfort
  • Dedicated volume and media controls give you direct control over your audio without having to interrupt your game

Last update on 2021-01-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Razer Cynosa V2 Gaming Keyboard: Customizable Chroma RGB Lighting - Individually Backlit Keys - Spill-Resistant Design - Programmable Macro Functionality - Dedicated Media Keys
  • The #1 Best-Selling Gaming Peripherals Manufacturer in the US: Source - The NPD Group, Inc., U.S. Retail Tracking Service, Gaming Designed: Keyboards, Mice, PC Headsets, and PC Microphones, Based on dollar sales, Jan. 2017- June 2020 combined
  • All-Around Gaming Performance: Able to execute up to ten commands at the same time with built-in key rollover anti-ghosting
  • Ultimate Personalization & Gaming Immersion with Razer Chroma: Fully syncs with popular games, Razer hardware, Philips Hue, and gear from 30+ partners; supports 16.8 million colors on individually backlit keys
  • Spill-Resistant Design: Built to withstand most accidental liquid splashes
  • Fully Programmable Macros: Razer Hypershift allows for all keys and keypress combinations to be remapped to execute complex commands

Last update on 2021-01-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Razer Ornata Chroma Gaming Keyboard: Hybrid Mechanical Key Switches - Customizable Chroma RGB Lighting - Individually Backlit Keys - Detachable Plush Wrist Rest - Programmable Macro Functionality
  • The #1 Best-Selling Gaming Peripherals Manufacturer in the US Source - The NPD Group U S Retail Tracking Service Keyboards Mice PC Headset/Pc Microphone Gaming Designed based on dollar sales Jan 2017- Dec 2019
  • High-Performance Mecha-Membrane Switches Provides the tactile feedback of mechanical key press on a comfortable soft-cushioned membrane rubber dome switch suitable for gaming
  • Ultimate Personalization & Gaming Immersion with Razer Chroma Fully syncs with popular games Razer hardware Philips Hue and gear from 30+ partners supports 16 8 million colors on individually backlit keys
  • Fully Programmable Macro Support Razer Hypershift allows for all keys and keypress combinations to be remapped to execute complex commands
  • Ergonomic Magnetic Wrist Rest Made of soft-touch leatherette to maximize comfort over extended gaming sessions with built-in magnets for convenient alignment

Last update on 2021-01-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Corsair K95 RGB Platinum Mechanical Gaming Keyboard -  6x Programmable Macro Keys - USB Passthrough & Media Controls - Tactile & Quiet - Cherry MX Brown – RGB LED Backlit
  • Aircraft grade anodized brushed aluminum frame: Built to withstand a lifetime of gaming. Lightweight and rugged durability, necessary for a keyboard that's going to see a lot of action
  • 8MB profile storage with hardware macro and lighting playback: Allow access up to three stored profiles on the go, independent of external software
  • Dynamic multicolor per key backlighting with Light Edge: Adjust each key's color and illumination level in addition to 19 zones on the top edge light bar for sophisticated and dramatic animations
  • 100percentage CHERRY MX Brown RGB mechanical key switches: Light tactile feedback for fast performance and precise timing with less distraction
  • 6 programmable G keys keys for in game macros: Assign single keystrokes or complex multi key combos to any of the 6 dedicated macro keys

Last update on 2021-01-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


So what are macros? Macros are recorded commands or command chains that can be programmed into the input devices. These type of command shortcuts allows you to work faster or react faster to certain situations occurring in games were reacting as quickly as possible is critical.

Once you have found the right gaming keyboard and have programmed the macro keys according to your preferences, you’ll be able to sit relaxed in your gaming chair, and play away and complete trickier actions in less time as you’ll only have to press one button instead of three or more.

Although they should never be used in an online game, learning how to use macro keys for gaming can be quite useful for offline play and everyday work-related tasks.