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How do I switch between Windows, Mac, and PC mode?
The Advantage keyboard has three different Instant Configuration Settings: Windows Mode (Default), Mac Mode and PC Mode.
- To enter Windows Mode, press and hold the Program key and tap the F7/”win” key. The top four thumb keys while in Windows mode, from left to right, are: Ctrl | Alt | Windows | Ctrl.
- To enter Mac Mode, press and hold the Program key and tap the F5/”mac” key. The top four thumb keys while in Mac mode, from left to right are: Command | Option | Ctrl | Command. The keypad = key becomes a Mac keypad = key and Scroll lock initiates the shutdowndialogue (caution: on a PC this leads to an immediate shutdown!)
- To enter PC Mode, press and hold the Program key and tap the F6/”pc” key. The top four thumb keys while in PC mode, from left to right are: Ctrl | Alt | Alt | Ctrl.
See Section 5 of the User’s Manual for more information.
How do I reset my keyboard to the default layout and/or settings?
Press Program + Shift then tap F9 (lights flash) to reset the active layout file by erasing all remaps and macros and restoring it to Windows mode.
Press and hold Program + F9 while plugging the keyboard in (hold until the lights flash and release) to erase all remaps and macros from all QWERTY and Dvorak layouts and reset keyboard settings to the factory default.
How do I remap a key?
You can remap a key using the onboard shortcut or the SmartSet App.
- Press and hold the Program key and tap F12 to enter Program Remap Mode (lights will begin flashing rapidly). Release the Program Key
- Tap the “source” key action you want to copy (lights will slow down).
- Tap the “destination” key where you want to assign the copied action (lights will resume flashing rapidly)
- Tap the Program Key to exit Program Remap Mode (Program Remap Mode will remain active and accept remap pairs until you tap the Program key to exit)
Note: Remapping is a one-way process, to swap key actions you must perform two separate remap actions.
Note: To remap an action from one layer to another (e.g. top level to keypad layer), simply use the “Keypad” key to navigate between layers during the remap process.
Enable Power User Mode (Program + Shift + Escape) and open the v-Drive (Program + F1). Navigate to the “KINESIS KB” removable drive in File Explorer and launch the App. Select the desired key in App and either tap the key action on the keyboard or select from a list of Special Actions using the button at the top of the Programming menu.
How do I create a macro?
A macro is a sequence of key strokes that can be stored in your keyboard and played back with click of a single trigger key or key combination. You can record a macro on-the-fly using the onboard shortcut or you can build a macro using SmartSet App.
Onboard Macro Recording
- Press and hold the Program key and tap F11 to enter Program Macro Mode (lights will begin flashing rapidly).
- Select your trigger key or key combination (lights will lights will flash slowly). Up to two modifiers may be used as “co-triggers” in concert)
- Then type your macro content on the keyboard and tap Program when the macro is complete.
Note: Every keystroke is recorded so if you make a mistake, we recommend restarting the macro or using the SmartSet App to edit it.
Note: To delete an existing macro, begin as if you were going to re-program the same trigger key, but after selecting the trigger key, tap the Program key again. The LED will stop flashing and the macro will be erased for this key.
Enable Power User Mode (Program + Shift + Escape) and open the v-Drive (Program + F1). Navigate to the “KINESIS KB” removable drive in File Explorer and launch the App. Select the desired key in App and the use the Macro Editor to type out your macro, customize the playback speed, and assign up to two co-triggers.
Can I temporarily disable all my macros?
Yes. Press and hold the Program key and tap F10 to disable (but not erase) all macros.
To re-enable macro playback, repeat the command above.
Can I disable the beeps and clicks?
The Advantage2 keyboard produces two sounds: a soft “click” noise when pressing any key and a louder “Tone” noise when pressing Caps Lock, Scroll Lock, Num Lock, Keypad or Insert.
Press and hold the Program key and tap F8. Use the same shortcut to re-enable Clicks.
Press and hold the Program key and the shift key, and then tap F8. Use the same shortcut to re-enable Tones.
How should I clean my keyboard?
Basic cleaning should be performed regularly by using compressed air to remove any loose debris in the key wells.
A more thorough cleaning is possible, but take care not to damage the keyboard by getting it wet or forcing off the keycaps. Unplug the keyboard and remove all the individual keycaps to gain access to the keywell, which can collect lots of dirt after time. Use the included keycap removal tool and grab two sides of the keycap and pull straight up. If you do not have a keycap removal tool you can purchase one on Amazon or use two paperclips bent into the shape of a “J”.
- Soak the loose keycaps in warm soapy water lightly scrub to remove any gunk. Rinse the keycaps and let them thoroughly dry.
- Use compressed air to remove any loose debris in the key wells and use cotton swabs with rubbing alcohol to remove gunk.
- Use a microfiber cloth and a small amout rubbing alcohol to clean the outer plastic keyboard case.
Do not reconnect the keyboard to your PC until it is thoroughly dry.
I accidentally remapped a key, how do I reset it?
You can quicky reset a key to its default action by “remapping the key to itself.”
Press and hold the Program key and tap F12 to enter Program Remap Mode (lights will begin flashing rapidly). Release the Program Key
Tap the target key twice to restore it to its default function.
Press the Program Key to exit Program Remap Mode.
Can I program a mouse click to a key or foot pedal?
Yes, with firmware versions 1.0.400 and later single and double mouse clicks can be assigned using the SmartSet App.
It you prefer to use direct editing, below are examples assigned to number row keys 1-6, Keys 1-4 are remapped and keys 5-6 have macros assigned for double click using delays which may be necessary, depending on your computer settings:
If your Advantage2 is not working as expected, you have several options.
Step 1: Reference the FAQs above and the Troubleshooting Tips at right.
Step 2: Open any text editing program and use the onboard shortcut Program + Esc to “print” a Status Report of the active keyboard settings to the screen. The Status Report will tell you the active layout and the number of remaps, and macros in that layout along with the current Thumb Key Mode. If Status Report indicates any inadvertent reprogramming, the fastest way to get help is to download and search the User Manual (linked above).
Step 3: If your issue persists, we recommend installing the latest version of firmware (see below).
Step 4: If you still need help, use the link at the bottom of the page to submit a Trouble Ticket.
Check to see if the Keypad LED is on. If it is, toggle it off with the Keypad key. Have you remapped any of the shortcut keys? If so, you may need to use the new key location to trigger the onboard shortcut.
Check to see if the Keypad LED is on. If it is, you have inadvertently entered the embedded keypad layer where each key performs its pre-assigned secondary action (the right key well is an embedded 10-key). Tap the Keypad key to return to the top layer and default key actions.
On certain machines and operating systems the default Status Report playback speed is too fast for the computer to process. Early versions of firmware versions did not support the ability to set a custom Status Report playback speed. See Section 7 of the User’s Manual to learn how to slow the playback speed to enhance compatibility.
Note: You must replug the keyboard for this change to take effect.
In some instances a layout .txt file can become corrupted. Usually this happens from “closing” the v-Drive while the keyboard was still writing to a file. To prevent this from happening always “eject” the drive in the File Manager before using the onboard shortcut to close the v-Drive. If a file is corrupted, you can try to delete the file but a corrupt file usually cannot be deleted. In that case, you will need to Repair or Reformat (see below).
Unlike the original Advantage, the Advantage2 modifier keys cannot be remapped as a non-modifier and then used to trigger a macro. Modifier keys be used as co-triggers but cannot trigger a macro on their own, even if remapped as a non-modifier.
There are two primary ways to open the v-Drive (see Section 7 of the User’s Manual). If you are unable to open the v-Drive using the onboard shortcut (Program + F1), make sure you have Power User Mode enabled (Progm+Shift+Esc) and the keypad layer deactivated. If you have remapped over the F1 key you can download the latest version of firmware or use the new F1 key location in conjunction with the program key to open the v-drive.
The v-Drive can be forced open, even if Power User Mode is disabled, by holding Progm + Print Scrn briefly while plugging in the keyboard.
On some older computers, it can take up to 10-12 seconds for the v-drive to present itself to the computer, so be patient. For tips on locating the v-Drive on your computer, see Section 7 in the User’s Manual.
Plug the keyboard in and test the Keypad key. If the right LED illuminates, the keyboard is getting power. Are any LEDs flashing? If so, then you likely entered an Onboard Programming mode so tap the Program key to exit programming modes. Try switching to another layout (Progm+F3 or Progm+F4). If the capslock LED flashes briefly, the switch is happening. Run the status report to confirm the desired layout is active. If only one layout is non-responsive, the qwerty.txt or dvorak.txt file may be corrupt (see troubleshooting “Reformatting v-Drive”). If necessary, use the shortcut Program+Shift+F9 to perform a Soft Reset to erase any programming (remaps & macros) that might be causing problems with the active layout.
If the Keypad LED will not illuminate, the keyboard is not getting power. First try plugging the keyboard in to a different USB port on the computer. If that doesn’t solve the problem, try a different computer if you have one available.
Hard Reset (Progrm+Shift+F9)
If the keyboard still doesn’t power up, perform a Hard Reset by holding Program and F9 while plugging the keyboard in.
Rescue Command (Progm+F12 on plugin)
If a Hard Reset doesn’t solve the problem, try the “rescue” command which enumerates the keyboard without trying to read the v-drive. Hold Progm + F12 during plugin. The LEDs will flash several times. If the keyboard now works, this suggests the problem is with the v-drive and a corrupt status.txt file. If run you the status report (Progm+Esc), it should report “”Win Mode” but no layout file because it is using the firmware’s default QWERTY file. This should allow determining if the problem is in the v-drive or in some other component (e.g. the USB cable)
If after performing the rescue command you are still unable to open the v-drive, contact Kinesis Tech Support for help performing a “self-format” (available with 4MB v-Drive keyboards), If none of the above generates a “live” keybaord, there may be a problem with an internal component, so you will need to submit a Trouble Ticket.
Repairing the v-Drive
The Advantage2 uses a virtual removable drive on the keyboard to store custom layouts and settings. As with all removable drives, it is highly recommended to always use the “eject” feature in your operating system (in File Manager in Windows). In some cases it can be possible for the “v-Drive” to report errors. If the v-Drive can be opened, these can usually be fixed using the Windows “scan and repair” feature. Open file manager, right click on the v-drive and select “Properties,” then select “Tools,” then “Error Checking.” Click on the “Check” button.
Reformatting the v-Drive
If “scan and repair” does not fix your v-Drive, you can reformat the drive using a Windows PC and wipe the contents to restore the keyboard to its factory settings. There are different processes for reformatting depending on the size of the v-Drive on your Advantage2 (2MB or 4MB). Note: To determine the size of your v-Drive, run a Status Report (Program + Escape) in an open text editing window.
2MB keyboards- Quick Reformatting
4MB keyboards- Command Line Reformatting
Note: Reformatting on a Mac is not recommended.
Submit a Trouble Ticket below and a trained Kinesis agent will walk you through the reformat process.
If all of the keys are producing unexpected outputs, its possible that you accidentally loaded the onboard Dvorak layout. To switch back to the standard QWERTY layout, simply hold Program and tap F3.
Because the Advantage2 is a multimedia keyboard that can present itself to the computer as a virtual flash drive, it may not be compatible with all KVM switches and docks.
Unlike most keyboard programming software, the SmartSet App does not get installed on your PC. The App needs to be saved to the keyboard’s v-Drive and run directly from that location to access the various keyboard configuration files. If you have downloaded the App from our website, follow these installation instructions.
- If you have successfully copied the App to the keyboard’s v-Drive, try re-plugging the keyboard to regenerate the default configuration files.
- If the App still won’t open, delete the App from the v-Drive (your custom layouts won’t be affected) and try downloading a new copy and saving it to the v-Drive.
- If the App still can’t access certain configuration files, these may be corrupt. See the “reformatting v-drive” entry for information on repairing or reformatting. Once you have reformated, install a new copy of the SmartSet App and try again.
For best results, always “eject” the v-Drive in Windows or macOS before using the onboard shortcut to close it.
Advantage2 SmartSet App
The SmartSet App offers a GUI alternative to onboard programming of your Advantage2 keyboard. Unlike conventional software, the SmartSet App does not get installed on your PC, you run it directly from the keyboard’s “v-Drive”. A Windows version of the App is pre-installed on newer Advantage2’s (since Aug 2018), the macOS version of the App must be downloaded.
*Note: Older, 2MB versions of the Advantage2 must run the SmartSet App from the desktop (see Installation Instructions below).
Accessing the SmartSet App (Windows only)
If your keyboard has the SmartSet App pre-installed, simply enable Power User Mode (Program + Shift + Escape) and open the v-Drive (Program + F1). Navigate to the “KINESIS KB” removable drive in File Explorer and launch the App.
*Note: Mac users will need to launch the App once from their Desktop before moving the App to the v-Drive.
Updating the firmware on the Advantage2 is a quick and easy process. Open a text editor window and run a Status Report to see your current firmware version and your v-Drive size (2MB or 4MB), then download the appropriate version at right. Save the new firmware file to the v-Drive and then use a simple onboard shortcut to install it.
New Features in v1.0.516: Program Lock, Hyper & Meh Multi-modifiers, and Tap-and-hold actions (see Tech Notes at left)
2MB Advantage2 Firmware
4MB Advantage2 Firmware