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

Wondering what are macros in gaming and what are macro keys? Compared to normal computer input devices, gaming keyboards and gaming mice have additional keys which can be programmed with special commands. You’ll find that with proper programming of those macro keys, there are a variety of things you can do to increase your gaming potential.

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 Macros?

Macros are commands or command chains that are called up by a combination of keys (e.g. Ctrl + Alt + Del, etc.) or with the help of dedicated Macro Keys that are found on special gaming keyboards and gaming mice.

Pressing a macro key executes the programmed command sequence, which effectively saves time.

Macros are not only used in gaming, they can be found in all software applications such as word processing, spreadsheets, and databases. There the macros make extensive work easier with just one push of a button and can help save a lot of time.

What are Macros in Gaming?

So a macro is a stored command that simplifies information input. Gamers call the special keys on the Gaming mouse and gaming keyboard simply macro keys.

Macro keys are different keystrokes that you can press repeatedly to repeat the same action over and over. For example, you can set a specific pattern of keystrokes to create a specific sequence that you can use to attack a big boss or search 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 isn’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 press 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 most gaming keyboards offer a set of macros keys and macro software for gaming.

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 macro software for gaming supplied by the manufacturer or the driver app that comes with the keyboard.

Let’s Recap What Are Macros In Gaming

So what are macros in gaming? 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 where reacting as quickly as possible is critical.

Once you have found a good mechanical 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.