General keyboard topics, including keyboard hardware and keyboard functionality in software.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

202
votes
7answers
13k views

Purpose of a “mystery key” on an IBM PC 3270 keyboard

A colleague has just come into possession of a large number of IBM PC 3270 keyboards (don't ask!). These keyboards have a number of very interesting looking keys, but the one that most intrigued us ...
83
votes
8answers
87k views

In Mac OS, what is the keyboard shortcut to switch between windows of the same application?

I often use the Cmd+Tab shortcut to switch between different applications (for example: Xcode and Google Chrome), but is there a shortcut to switch between different windows of the same application ...
61
votes
7answers
63k views

How do I type Home/End/PageUp/PageDown on a MacBook Pro?

What combination of keys (fn, control, option, command, arrow keys) is the equivalent of the Home key on a MacBook Pro? What about End/PageUp/PageDown?
46
votes
5answers
41k views

Differences between Cherry mechanical keyboard switches?

I want a comfortable, responsive mechanical switch keyboard. My only concern about mechanical switch keyboards is the noise. Boards based off of the Cherry MX Blue seem to be the loudest, but ...
44
votes
12answers
68k views

How to avoid keyboard layout automatically changing on windows

I have two input languages in my language bar (windows xp). The problem is that windows likes changing between them without any intervention. That's really annoying! I know about the shortcuts and ...
36
votes
6answers
36k views

How do you type Unicode characters using hexadecimal codes?

This is in Windows, but answers for other operating systems can be handy to others. Most guides say something to the effect of "hold down the Alt key and type in the code on the keypad". This works ...
36
votes
5answers
14k views

Getting macro keys from a Razer BlackWidow to work on Linux

I picked up a Razer BlackWidow Ultimate that has additional keys meant for macros that are set using a tool that's installed on Windows. I'm assuming that these aren't some fancypants joojoo keys and ...
32
votes
7answers
1k views

Can I put keyboards in the dishwasher?

After a few years, keyboards develop a fine patina of what I refer to as "hand jam". I've heard that they can be safely cleaned in the dishwasher as long as you let them thoroughly dry out (like for ...
32
votes
9answers
9k views

Switching keyboard layout in Windows globally

I'm searching for a solution to switch my keyboard layout in Windows globally for all windows quickly. When I switch the current layout by pressing the magic combination Alt+Shift or when I choose ...
31
votes
7answers
45k views

Apostrophes and double quotes don't show up until I type the next letter

in Windows XP, when I type an apostrophe ' or dumb quote (a.ka. typewriter quote) ", no character is displayed. If I type another character, the apostrophe or dumb quote and the next character appear ...
29
votes
12answers
18k views

Typing the tab character in browser text boxes

A lot of the time, when I want to format text within a web page's text box I'll hit the Tab key. Unfortunately, that doesn't insert the tab character but instead moves the control to the next form ...
29
votes
5answers
19k views

My windows keyboard is being “clever” with the quote keys - how can I stop it?

I'm using windows 7 on a laptop. On the laptop keyboard, for some reason, the quote key (which has both double and single quote on it) is doing some "clever" annoying things: When I press ...
26
votes
12answers
29k views

What's the best way to get ants out of laptop keyboards?

What's the best way to gets ants out of a laptop?
26
votes
10answers
5k views

Reassigning the caps lock key on Windows or OS X

How can I remap the caps lock key in Windows or OS X? Is there for example some way to map caps lock to a key combination like alt-tab on Windows or command-tab on OS X?
26
votes
4answers
90k views

How do you customize Excel 2010 keyboard shortcuts?

How do you customize Excel 2010 keyboard shortcuts? This article from microsoft.com provides instructions for "Microsoft Office 2010" but seems only apply to Word, not Excel. ...
24
votes
0answers
690 views

Why are the keys named Ctrl & Alt? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What are the origins of the control and alt keys? I use these keys often as modifiers for shortcuts including the infamous copy and paste and some tab-switching but I ...
23
votes
19answers
7k views

Considerations for keyboard with integrated mouse for HTPC dedicated to the TV?

I have just dedicated a computer to my living room TV, to watch Hulu, movies, etc. You can think of it as a Media Center TV but I hardly use Media Center itself. What features would distinguish a ...
23
votes
9answers
6k views

How do I hit the CTRL key without straining my pinky?

When I'm using Chrome, Powerpoint, Notepad++, etc. I take a lot of advantage of the keyboard shortcuts in those programs. However, this gets a bit tedious and straining, having my pinky stretch down ...
23
votes
8answers
23k views

My keyboard has no “media” keys, can I control media without them?

My USB keyboard does not have "media" keys -- that is, dedicated keys for play, stop, next, prev, volume up/down, etcetera. For the sake of this question, I would prefer not to install additional ...
23
votes
2answers
28k views

Weird symbols for key combinations on a Mac

Where am I supposed to learn the meaning of the weird key-combination symbols on a Mac? I'm specifically talking about the hollow up arrow, the broken switch circuit symbol, the hollow up arrow with ...
21
votes
4answers
9k views

Altgr randomly stops working on windows 8

usually AltGr Works fine on my computer but latelly it stops working. I can still use Ctrl+Alt but it's a pain as I need it to write {} and I'm a c# programmer :S Any idea on what can happen? If I ...
21
votes
7answers
24k views

Remap Copy and Paste shortcuts on a Mac

I use Windows at work and a Mac at home. One of the biggest issues is the difference between the copy paste shortcuts on Windows vs the Mac i.e. Ctrl + C & Ctrl + V on Windows and on the Mac its ...
21
votes
3answers
4k views

Dedicated Mouse and Keyboard on VirtualBox VM

Currently I am trying to run VirtualBox on my second monitor, with a dedicated mouse and keyboard. However, doing so has not proven easy. There has been times where the mouse works, but not the ...
20
votes
7answers
18k views

Forward delete using Apple keyboard

How to do a forward delete in Mac, like <-backspace on windows keyboard?
20
votes
4answers
29k views

How to type special characters in Linux?

In windows there is possibility to type from keyboard special signs by holding alt key and typing a few numbers, that depends on with sign you want to use. Does it work with linux in the same way?
19
votes
5answers
51k views

How can I remap a keyboard key?

One of my laptop's keys has fallen off. Is there any way I can remap the key, to another key which I'll 'sacrifice' cause I never use it?
18
votes
13answers
3k views

How to protect the keyboard from your cat

Question for any programmer and cat lover working from his home office. So many times my keyboard is taken over violently by my two cats who think it's the right place for a sleep - and almost every ...
17
votes
2answers
3k views

What is this thing on the cord of my IBM model F keyboard?

I found an IBM Model F keyboard (the AT version, not the PS/2 or Terminal versions) at a yard sale for $1. When I opened it up, the cord has a black box with a wire and a ring connected to it. What is ...
17
votes
13answers
723 views

Do “Natural” keyboards make it harder to use standard keyboards?

I am considering purchasing this style keyboard with the split keys. I found it a bit awkward to use at first but I'm sure I will get used to it. That's the problem. If you use this style ...
17
votes
5answers
7k views

Simulating the Windows key on an old keyboard

I'm using a very old keyboard that doesn't have a physical Windows key — it does have a 5/180° connector and an AT/XT switch on the back — but I don't want to completely miss out on the ...
16
votes
6answers
19k views

show keys pressed in linux

in windows there is a program called keyboard jedi that shows what keys are pressed on the keyboard. is there an equivalent for linux?
16
votes
3answers
13k views

Do USB or PS/2 keyboards respond faster?

Do USB or PS/2 keyboards respond faster in terms of end-to-end input latency, keystrike to character appearing on the screen? Related: Under either connection, is the time between keystrike to ...
16
votes
3answers
2k views

OS X: using the keyboard to select an option in a message window / box?

I'm still a new Mac owner, and I've struggled with the message windows / boxes / popups that sometimes appear and ask me to choose an option, like "save" "don't save" and "cancel" in TextEdit's case. ...
16
votes
3answers
12k views

Dedicated mouse and keyboard for a virtual machine, is it possible?

Let's say I have a PC with two monitors atached. I'm running e.g. Windows Vista natively, and start up a virtual Ubuntu PC. I change to fullscreen mode so that on one Monitor, I see my Windows ...
15
votes
6answers
5k views

Use Caps Lock LED as HDD LED (or custom) indicator

I have my Caps Lock key remapped to Esc, so now I have a LED on my keyboard that is never on. I'd like to use it for something useful, like HDD or LAN activity. Especially that I'm using a computer ...
15
votes
6answers
10k views

Cleaning a Microsoft Natural Ergonomic 4000 keyboard

This is one of the best keyboards for programmers. I read an article saying that running a keyboard through the dishwasher would clean it, but I'm unsure about a keyboard like this which has a faux ...
15
votes
6answers
7k views

Why can't I use two or more keyboards/mice at the same time on one computer?

This is just a question of curiosity. Why cannot I use two keyboards at the same time in Windows? For example, typing in Notepad using 2 keyboards in real parallel mode. Is there any multitasking ...
15
votes
2answers
32k views

Swapping Function (Fn) and Control (Ctrl) Keys on Lenovo ThinkPad W500

I'd like to swap the Fn and Ctrl keys on my ThinkPad W500 (like many others! See: How can I switch the function and control keys on my laptop? and Intercepting the Fn key on laptops) Numerous folks ...
15
votes
4answers
7k views

Shift and Control keys out of sync with normal keys over RDP

I spend quite a lot of time working on various machines via RDP (usually RDPing to one machine and from there RDPing to other computers outside our LAN) and have an issue where the modifier keys ...
14
votes
2answers
6k views

What is the keystroke to quickly change a file's name in Windows?

I've seen friends quickly hit a key on the left side of the keyboard and then change the name of a file they had selected. What is the keystroke to do this?
14
votes
5answers
6k views

NumLock is completely useless, and I want to disable it completely on Linux

Forget all the rants about Caps Lock, Num Lock is the most useless key of them all. It's never, ever useful. You don't want to use your numpad as an arrowpad, since the arrows are 1cm away from it. ...
14
votes
4answers
4k views

How can I disable the F Lock key on my Natural Keyboard 4000?

How can I disable the F Lock key on my Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 (v1.0)? I don't want to physically disable the key so I would like a software fix. The keyboard is connected by USB ...
14
votes
3answers
4k views

How to type unicode characters in KDE?

This answer has tips on how to do it on Gnome or Vim, but these don't work on KDE. This bug shows that KDE don't support the ISO notation with Ctrl+Shift plus the character's hex code. Is there any ...
14
votes
2answers
5k views

What does the SysRq key do?

On my keyboard, the key the functions as the Print Screen key when the F-lock is on has "SysRq" below it (presumably to be used when F-lock is off). What is it and what does it do?
13
votes
3answers
908 views

What are the origins of the control and alt keys?

Crtl and alt have become common place on just about any computer keyboard sold anywhere in the world (I even saw a picture of them on a typewriter...). But what were these sacred modifier keys first ...
13
votes
5answers
5k views

Is it safe to hot swap a PS/2 keyboard?

I've always powered down machine to change out PS/2 peripherals. Is it necessary?
13
votes
3answers
8k views

How to swap the “fn” use of Function keys on al Apple Keyboard in Linux

I have an apple slim keyboard (USB) and if I want to use one of the Function Key as-is, I also have to press "fn " key first. Otherwise, it will try to perform the other function of the key, such as ...
13
votes
9answers
19k views

Can't Type Tilde character in Mac OS X

Hi this is a new problem that I did not have a few weeks ago. I have a Logitech Illuminated Keyboard running on Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard). The problem is that I cannot type a tilde. Instead when ...
13
votes
5answers
5k views

How to type zero-width space character (U+200B) on a laptop keyboard?

There is a very similar question to this one already (How can I type U+200B character?) but all the answers are about how to type this character on a PC keyboard with a num pad which is not my case. ...
13
votes
5answers
5k views

Use 'Shift + Caps lock' instead of 'Caps Lock'

I have a Japanese keyboard at home on which the Caps Lock functions differently to the standard UK/US keyboard. To toggle Caps Lock you need to use Shift + Caps Lock which pretty much eliminates ...