How do I fix a broken laptop key or put it back on?

Note: This document is meant as a general reference and may not apply to your laptop. If you're trying to remove or put a key back on a desktop keyboard, see the desktop keyboard steps.

Notice: Before removing any of the keyboard keys, make sure the computer is turned off or at the very least locked. This ensures that nothing is mistakenly typed, which could cause other problems.

Laptop keycap, key pad, and key retainerA laptop keyboard is designed differently than a traditional desktop keyboard. Unlike a desktop keyboard, each of the keys on a laptop keyboard have three components: the keycap, key pad, and the key retainer as shown in the picture.

Note: The keycap is the top of the key. It has two slots and two clips in the bottom or middle, each of which holds the key in place.

Fixing a loose keycap

If the keycap is loose but still attached to the laptop, it can often be fixed by pressing down on the keycap. If it's able to re-attach you should hear a snap while pressing the key down. If this does not fix the issue we suggest removing the key so it can be re-attached. The re-attachment process is shown below.

Fixing a broken keycap

Note: If a key, keycap, key pad, or retainer is physically broken or missing, it must be replaced.

If you're just having difficulty putting the key back onto the laptop follow the steps below. If you're trying to put the spacebar key back on, skip to spacebar steps.

1. Start first by inserting the key pad into the laptop. If you have a key pad like that shown in the above picture, we suggest putting it in after the retainer is in place to make things easier. Once the pad is inserted, it should lie flat and be able to bend like shown in the picture below.

Laptop keyboard key retainer

Tip: If you're not sure what direction the laptop key retainer goes, remove one of the other keys that surrounds it and examine how the retainer is positioned.

2. Insert the pad into the retainer.

3. Once the above two steps have been completed, position the key cap over the retainer in the proper orientation and press down lightly. The key should snap onto the retainer and work. If the key does not look right try pressing down on all corners of the key to make sure all clips are snapped into place.

Spacebar key steps

Unlike the other keys on the keyboard, the spacebar requires additional steps in order to get it back on properly. The image below shows the spacebar removed from a laptop. Before the spacebar keycap can be placed back onto the laptop, there is a bar (shown below) must be removed by inserting your flathead screwdriver beneath it and gently pulling upward.

Laptop spacebar key

Once this bar has been removed, place the new spacebar on the laptop, being mindful that it is properly oriented over the retainers, and push down to snap it back into place.

Additional information