A programmable, multifunction keyboard system in which the key configurations and the relationships between key configurations are fully specified by a data base. The keyboard system comprises a keyboard (16) having a plurality of keys (18), each key comprising a switch (68) and display means (66) for displaying a legend visually associated with the switch, and actuation control means (46) for monitoring the switches and providing an actuation signal identifying an actuated switch. The system further comprises a processor (12) that includes means for storing a data base (80). The data base comprises a plurality of control pages (82), each control page (90) including legend data (96) and next page data (98). The legend data specifies a legend for display in association with at least one of the switches, and the next page data specifies a next control page associated with at least one of the switches. The processor further comprises means for designating one of the control pages as the active control page, and means responsive to the actuation of a selected switch to redesignate the active control page based upon the next page data corresponding to the selected switch. The actuation means may comprise means for detecting a switch that may be inoperative, and the processor may include reconfiguration means for reconfiguring each active control page such that legend data and next page data is not associated with an inoperative switch.