“re-legend-able”: You can change the labels (legend) on these keys.
Did I mess up the spelling? My spellchecker didn’t know the word relegendable, but I suspected it to be a fault of my dictionary for aspell…
It’s fine. My eye saw “rele-gen-dable”, so I didn’t understand what the word was or how to search the web for it. All the search results were for customizable keycaps… so I tried searching for “relegen” and got more confused, but the word “legend” did appear in those results, then I figured it out.. :)
Relegendable caps can be surprisingly expensive unfortunately, I usually order them from X-Keys even if not for an X-Keys device just because they’re a reliable source at a reasonable price. Unfortunately they use a different style that aren’t as easy to hand-cut, I’d be curious if anyone knows of a source of the square ones that’s less ridiculous than US$4+ each.
As for macropads, while I don’t necessarily want to besmirch the new open-source designs, I’ve usually stuck to used industrial products. They tend to be cheaper and more durable. The Genovation CP-24 is a good choice that’s regularly available on eBay for very reasonable prices. If you are crafty you can fit a Raspberry Pi Zero or similar into some empty space in the back of the case to make a compact wall-mount controller (I use this arrangement for lighting scene selectors). Other brands to check for on used markets are Cherry (the actual POS and industrial control keyboards Cherry makes) and PrehKeyTec, although the PrehKeyTec products are dome switches unfortunately - they feel great new but the used ones are sometimes sadly squishy. A nice thing about Preh though is that they make a popular line of what I call “140% keyboards,” full-size 101-key keyboards with extra rows of macro keys. Almost all vendors other than Preh use Cherry switches. All of these are programmed on-board, meaning no software required for remaps/macros/layers, but the programming software does tend to be an eccentric Windows-only tool.
And of course X-Keys is a well-established manufacturer of “macro pads” that predates the macropad concept (goes back to train sim controllers, of all things, originally), and Kinesis Advantage keyboards are on-board programmed with multiple layers and so I use the left side of mine as a macro pad when on the numpad layer (which I trigger via foot pedal).
My full-size keyboard has two rows of five macro keys on the far left side of the board (where the F-keys used to be on XT keyboards, if anyone remembers those). I haven’t for the life of me figured out what to do with them, but that may be because I’m an Emacs user and am used to chords for everything.