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How to Use the X-Bows QMK Software

The QMK keyboard configurator is considered to be the most powerful open-source configuration tool in the industry. It allows for virtually limitless customization option, and best of all is very easy and intuitive to use. 

In this article, we will walk through some common customizations. If you ever have any questions about the QMK configurator, feel free to reach out to us at and we'll be happy to assist.

What is QMK?

The goal of the QMK software project is to develop a completely customizable, powerful, and enjoyable firmware experience for any project - keyboard or otherwise - and to provide helpful, encouraging, and kind support and feedback for people with any software development experience.

You can configure our X-Bows version 3 through the QMK Configurator.


How to use the X-bows QMK Software

First, open our QMK website: All our instructions will be based on this page.

1. How to customize your keyboard layout

Step 1: To select the key you want to customize, simply click it, then select the new function from below. 

For this example, we will add Home and End keys to the middle section of X-Bows. We'll also add Print Screen to the Left Space key. 


Step 2: When you finish your customizations, you need to click COMPILE, When you see the loading potato graphic (screenshot below), wait a minute and then download your new firmware file.


Step 3. Download the QMK tool box. When you have finished Step 2, click "Get QMK Toolbox" and the following page will appear.












Choose your system's installation file to download the QMK toolbox. To open the QMK toolbox, you need to install the driver by right-clicking the lower part of the window (as shown below). In the process of software installation, the window reminder will appear. Click install.












Step 4: When your software is installed and opened, it will automatically recognize your keyboard (atmega32u4). Press FN+ ESC to enter DFU mode. Open the firmware you have downloaded in step 2, and then click “Flash”. Finally, when you see “DFU device disconnected”, you're ready to use your new layout.












2. How to add a new keyboard layer

On our website, we have a total of 16 layers for you to set up. Usually, we will use “MO” or “TO” to switch layers. You can see that there is a box under MO and TO, and you can fill in the sequence number of any layer, and this number represents which layer you want to switch to.

When you set a key as “MO 1” in layer 0, and press it, the keyboard will be in layer 1, (The keyboard is on layer 1 only when you hold down this key.) and when you release it, the keyboard will go back to default layer ( layer 0)

When you set a key as “TO 1”, and press it, the keyboard will be in layer 1 all the time though you release the key. If you want to go back to layer 0, you should set a key as TO 0 in layer 1.(Shown in picture)

If you want to set toggle layer 2,3,4..It's the same logic.



Finally, you should click :COMPILE - FIRMWARE, and use the QMK toolbox to upgrade your firmware. ( As the picture shown in step 2 and 4)

3. Setting the FN function

After looking at the operation of layer switching, we can take advantage of this capability to customize the functionality of FN. Typically, we use FN as the toggle button for each layer (that is, we often set FN as either "MO" or "TO ").

First, you can open "Settings" in the top right corner of the page, and then open "Fast Input", so you can type directly from the keyboard without having to drag and drop ICONS.















Second, you can set FN key as MO 1 in layer 0, and then customize your layer 1.(The following pictures are for example) If you have several layers, you can also set some keys as TO2, TO 3,TO4, etc. in layer 1. In this case, when you press FN+1, the keyboard will be in layer 1, when you press FN+2, the keyboard will be in layer2, etc. And when you press FN again, the keyboard will go back to layer 0. (Please make sure that you have set FN key as TO 0 in each layer.)

In addition, with picture 2 as an example, press Fn+R= CUT, press Fn+T=Copy...

Finally, you should click :COMPILE - FIRMWARE, and use the QMK toolbox to upgrade your firmware. (As shown in step 2 and 4)


4. How to set RGB lighting in QMK

In our default setting, you can press Fn+Q to switch the lighting (there are 22 types of default lighting to choose from), and you can also adjust the brightness using the Fn key combinations. (See FN function description below)

Also, you can set any key to switch lighting or turn up the lighting. As soon as you hover over the function selection, the corresponding explanation will appear below, which you can set according to your own needs. And then you just need to COMPILE your settings, and download the new file. (The same operation as Step 2 and 4)


5. How to reset a previously set layout

If you have already downloaded the settings to the keyboard and you want to modify the layout, you will first need to download your settings after the first layout is completed. (See the keymap. JSON location in the image below.) When you want to change it again, click Upload and you can upload your original layout and change it again.










6. Some more tips for using the QMK keyboard

* Before you save and download your settings, fully set up all the customizations you want (including keys, lighting, and settings for each layer) so you don't have to go back and forth frequently. The step-by-step explanation above is just to illustrate that you can set everything up before proceeding to steps 3 and 4.

* If you have changed the value of the Fn key in layer 0, the default Fn function will disappear. (Default Fn function refers to the functions listed in the manual, but we don't suggest you change the Fn in layer 0, because you still need Fn+Esc to flash the keyboard)

* If you'd like a more sophisticated setup, you can check out the QMK documentation: QMK is an open source site where you can use your imagination and creativity to explore the possibilities of your keyboard!