If you are a Mac, iPhone or iPad user who has trouble seeing or decoding the legends on your physical keyboard, what are your options? They include using a special keyboard with large type keyboard labels printed on it, getting a keyboard skin with large letters printed on it, buying stickers with large font labels for your current keyboard, and more.
These adaptions are helpful for users with low vision and also those with certain neurological problems making reading difficult.
Large print keyboards are keyboards where the actual keyboard labels are oversized. These labels can’t be moved or changed, they are printed onto the keyboard itself just as a regular keyboard’s labels are printed.
For Mac OS X users, LogicKeys sells genuine Apple USB keyboards which have been adapted with large keyboard labels in several high-visibility colour combinations including black on white, white on black, and black on yellow. KB Covers also have Apple Wired keyboards with large labels in black on white and white on black.
For iPhone and iPad users, Chester Creek offers iPad cases with bluetooth keyboard featuring large bold high-visibility print in white on black, or white on bright colour-coded keys.
Several companies offer PC-style keyboards with large labels and most of these will function with Apple products but on some occasions PC-style keyboards are not 100% compatible and you may have trouble with some of the less common keys such as “Fn”, F-keys, media controls, etc. Also if you use a keyboard designed for PCs some of the labels will not fully match their Apple functions – for example PC keyboards will not have a key labelled “option” and users must remember to use the “alt” key for this purpose.
If you are trying to buy a keyboard with large-print labels, also be careful about the size of the actual keys. Most users looking for large-print key legends don’t actually want larger keys – these interfere with touch typing, amongst other things, and keyboards do exist which are designed to have physically larger keys. These larger keyboards can be useful for users with motor control problems, but would be a problem if you just wanted oversized key legends.
Large-print Keyboard Cover/Skin
A simpler option, for many situations, is to purchase a keyboard protector which has large sized letters printed on it. This will fit over your existing keyboard to make the letters easier to see, and additionally keep crumbs and grit out of your keyboard.
Keyboard skins are generally made of silicone and just sit on the keyboards – they stay in place well but are easy to remove, and may not be ideal for users who are prone to fiddling with the edges or removing covers.
LogicKeyboard large print keyboard covers come in several high-visibility colour combinations suitable for use on most Apple keyboards with and without number pads.
KB Covers’ large print keyboard covers come in white on black and black on white and fit the full range of Apple keyboards including the old G5 keyboard.
iSkin ProTouch Visual Assist keyboard covers also fit MacBook keyboards and Apple’s USB and bluetooth keyboards, though only models without the number pad.
Large-print Keyboard Label Stickers
Another option are individual label stickers which can be stuck on the top of each key.
These are available in Braille as well as large print, and allow the greatest customisability for labelling unusually-shaped keyboards or labelling keyboards in unusual ways.
The biggest drawback to individual label stickers is that their lifespan is somewhat limited – frequently-used keys tend to eventually lose their stickers as adhesive degrades over time – and of course there are even more opportunities for users who may fixate on peeling stickers off one by one.
Because large print or braille keyboard stickers are widely available I won’t link to any specific providers here – web search for “large print keyboard stickers” or “braille keyboard stickers” or similar should find you many of these.
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