Re-assigning Dell Latitude media keys (E6520 and up)

Tags: Autohotkey

The Dell Latitude E6520, E6530 and E6540 all come with a numeric keypad that contains an extra row of keys. These "media keys" are labeled Calc, Previous Track, Play/Pause and Next Track. By default, these are assigned using the Dell Feature Pack that comes pre-installed on the machines (or which you can re-install manually).

Dell media keys above the numeric keypad

Since these are obviously non-standard keys, you first need to find the keycodes (or "scan code" in AutoHotKey lingo) for these keys in order to be able to re-assign them. To do this, you can open any running AutoHotKey script by doubleclicking the tray icon. The default view shows you "lines most recently executed" (great for debugging scripts), but what you are looking for is the "Key history and script info" view (Control+K). This is pretty much self-explanatory: it lists all the recently pressed keys on the keyboard. Default history length is 40 keypresses, but you can reconfigure this to hold the last 500 keypresses if you need them.

So, steps in order:

  1. Run an Autohotkey script to be able to access the key history.
  2. Open the script window and switch to the "key history and script info" view
  3. Press the key you are interested in.
  4. Navigate back to the Autohotkey window, press F5 and review the results.

For the Dell keyboard, this gives you the following definitions:

; media keys on the Dell E6520
SC119::MsgBox,Next track key pressed
+SC119::MsgBox,Shift and Next track key pressed
SC110::MsgBox,Previous track key pressed
SC121::MsgBox,Calc key pressed