Replacing Worn Off Keyboard Letters

May 21, 2013

Black keyboard: Silver Sharpies. It's not as neat as the stickers, but cheap. Silver Sharpies are great for writing on black surfaces (putting kids names on stuff, etc.)


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5 Questions

Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

March 27, 2011

Does anyone have a suggestion for replacing the letters on the keyboard? The most used ones which in my case are a, s, d, e, r, and t are almost completely gone.

By glo from Rockford, IL


March 27, 20110 found this helpful

Don't buy Dell again!!! I love it when you buy a product and they deny any responsibility!!! Stay with known, quality manufacturers.


or, for about $9 more, I'd get a back-lighted keyboard [something I occasionally wish I had :) }


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March 27, 20110 found this helpful

If your keyboard is part of a desktop you can do one of two things: replace it or replace the worn keys. Keys on a keyboard come off fairly easy with the exception of the space bar. If you can find a similar keyboard at a yard sale or maybe check with a place that repairs computers to see if they have similar keys than it can be a cheap fix.

Another option is to buy a small tip permanent marker and write the letter back on the keys. You could paint them as well. But to keep them from wearing off again you should treat the keys with a spray on clear coat. To do this you will need to remove the keys. Take a small screw driver and pry the key from the side. Take note of where each key goes so you can get them back in place without incident.


Once you have the keys off write or paint the letters on them. Set them in a circular pattern on a piece of cardboard and spray them from one side to the other with the clear coat paint. Let them dry and push them back on the keyboard.

If you do not feel comfortable with the clear coat paint or pulling the keys there is another way. Write or paint the letters on the keys while they are on the keyboard. Give them time to dry and then brush over them with clear nail polish. It may smear or it may make the letters blurry. But you should still be able to make them out for typing. This said you may consider treating the top of the other keys so they wear down slower.

Good luck.

March 27, 20110 found this helpful

I had the same issue! DELL sucks!


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March 28, 20110 found this helpful

If you've had the computer less than one year, call Dell. Tell them what the problem is and have them give you a new one. Even if it is not under warranty call the company.


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March 28, 20112 found this helpful

You can buy replacement alphanumeric stickers for your keyboard, but consider the cost and shipping. It might be your better option to buy a new keyboard.


I owned a Smith Corona typewriter, and other computer keyboard brands and they all started to wear off on keys mostly used, so I don't think it has to do with Dell only.
Here's the link where you can order:

March 29, 20110 found this helpful

If the letters are slightly indented, just paint over the indentations with white correction fluid. Sure, it will wear off. But, it is a quick, easy, and cheap fix. When it wears off, just give them another coat.


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March 29, 20110 found this helpful

Use white nail polish (like the type used for French Manicures) and a fine tip artists toothbrush to repaint the lettering. It wouldn't hurt to brush a little clear coat over it once lettering has dried for some extra protection. ;-)

March 30, 20110 found this helpful

What about some small peel and stick letters? Then when they wear down, you can peel them off and put on new ones or just put new ones on top of the old stickers. I wouldn't try paint.

August 14, 20110 found this helpful

Well, this problem is NOT just a Dell problem! I bought my first PC in 2/2004. It was an eMachine! The keyboard was tan & I never had a problem with the keys wearing off! I bought a Microsoft keyboard approximately 2.5 yrs ago. The letters started wearing off, so, I later bought a Logitech.....same problem.


Last year I bought an HP desktop & the keyboard started to wear off. I did get hold of them & they sent me a new started wearing off, too! Then In Dec. 2010, I bought an HP laptop & it did the same thing! I was told to send it in & HP replaced the keyboard last week!

Now I am wondering how long before this one starts wearing off! So, it's not just a Dell problem! They are making everything cheaper, now, & we are made to pay for it! That being said, HP has great customer service! when I got my laptop back last week, I called & told them nothing was done about the battery that lost it's charge in 1 1/2 to 2 hours. I am to receive a new one later today!

May 15, 20161 found this helpful

paint keyboard with clear varnish

June 15, 20160 found this helpful

That's what happens when these profit seeking companies use cheap parts from CHINA !

May 2, 20180 found this helpful

use extra fine point silver sharpie to write letters. coat with thin layer of sally handsen hard as nails clear polish. ta da

July 10, 20180 found this helpful

I have an HP Laptop that has the same problem!

July 3, 20190 found this helpful

I have to agree with you on that. I have a keyboard that I will paint then use clear coating to make it say. I am tired of buying keyboards all the time.


I use one daily so the lettering is not going to stay that long on it.

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January 31, 2017

I have a black Dell keyboard on my computer. The letters and numbers are wearing off. Can I stop this from happening? How do I fix rubbed off letters?


February 1, 20170 found this helpful

to savae the ones you have try clear nail polish over them ... the one s that are gone, paint on with white paint and then clear nailpolish.... ot print off a letter and glue on using fabri tak .


Silver Post Medal for All Time! 255 Posts
February 1, 20170 found this helpful

Mine did the same. I found some stickers of the letters and put them on the keyboard.

February 2, 20170 found this helpful

Try using a silver or gold paint pen and carefully paint them back on. If you can print neatly this is probably your cheapest option.

February 5, 20170 found this helpful

You may be able to put a couple of coats of mod Podge on the ones that are starting to wear this should stop it from getting any worse. If I were in your situation I would touch them all up with a black paint pen and then put mod Podge over them. Good luck.


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February 7, 20170 found this helpful

A friend cleaned her keyboard off with alcohol and let it dry. Then she used a french manicure pen (has a very pointed brush) and printed needed letters on and let dry for a couple minutes. Then she used clear polish over the keys.

Since I would never have a french manicure pen and either I had a laptop or just wanted yo keep my old keyboard, I would opt for an overlay. You can Google for these but here is a reliable company that sells replacements/overlays:

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March 20, 2012

I was just wondering if anyone has the same problem as I do. Some of the letters on my keyboard have been rubbed off. I have tired to mark some of them with Wite Out and they just rubbed back off. It is mostly the keys on the right hand side of the keyboard that have been rubbed off.

Any help with my problem would be appreciated as I have to look at my keyboard from time to time. Thanks so much.

By Mary from Mendenhall, MS


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March 20, 20120 found this helpful

I have this problem too, but mine is mainly on the left side. I think it is my fingernails. I would have to cut my nails a couple times a week in order to keep them short enough not to bother the letters on the keyboard. I would like to find a keyboard where the letters are slightly indented. I would think that would eliminate the problem.

March 21, 20120 found this helpful

There really isn't much you can do. It's just from constant use of the keyboard. You can try putting little stickers with the certain letter on the keys that are completely rubbed off.

March 21, 20120 found this helpful

I also have the same problem. I live with it until I can't live with it any more then I go buy a new key board. Usually they cost 10 bucks.

April 21, 20160 found this helpful

I bought a white paint pen and clear nail polish. I wrote the letter back on the key -- odd but visible -- that lasted longer than without the coat of clear polish

April 5, 20220 found this helpful

hi I have lost the n,m a,s,d on my keyboard so where can I buy where do youget the white paint pen from
something to write the letters onto the keys so I can se them again

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

March 27, 2011

The letters on my brand new Dell keyboard are wearing off. Anyone have an idea of how to stop this? I tried clear nail polish.

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