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I have re-mapped several of the function keys on my 2013 rMBP's keyboard to execute tasks that have nothing to do with the original function (i.e., the function that is depicted in the image that is printed on the key).

To be clear, I am referring to these keys:

rMBP's keyboard

I had thought that I might be able to count on my memory to understand which key does what, based on the relative location of each key. But, I cannot. A couple of months later, I still regularly make mistakes. I need some sort of indicator, either text or visual.

I took a strip of masking tape, and placed it on the aluminum bar that is located directly above the top row of keys. I then drew vertical lines on the tape along the function keys, which allowed me to label the below key with a text abbreviation that describes the respective key's function.

I have found this method to be satisfactory in communicating the custom function of each key. However, there is one problem. This top bar location on my rMBP routinely becomes very hot. Hence, this heat lessens the efficacy of the tape's glue; the tape comes off and leaves a glue mess on the bar.

I am curious if anyone has a better idea. I am seeking a non-permanent way to label these keys. I wonder if I should write directly on the aluminum bar with pencil.


"Buy a new MacBook Pro w/ Touch Bar" is not currently an option.


  • Based on the application environment, I'd probably go for using some form of static cling vinyl tape/labels. – user3439894 May 11 '17 at 3:43
  • kbcovers.com used to sell completely white keyboard covers(which then you could write on with sharpie) but for some reason they don't anymore. Emailing support they said they didn't sell enough. Painting tap would work better and is what I have used. It doesn't leave a mess behind in my experience. – William May 11 '17 at 4:21
  • I have a second keyboard I have configured with various shortcuts, and code tags. I just print them on standard paper, cut them out and use a glue stick to adhere them to the keys. It works great. If I want to remove them, I use a hairdryer and some rubbing alcohol to soften and clean the glue residue – Allan May 11 '17 at 4:29
  • Maybe board tape? It's designed for theater sound and lighting consoles and shouldn't leave residence (although I don't know about adhesive strength vs heat – NoahL May 11 '17 at 6:30

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