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

learn more… | top users | synonyms

207
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 ...
124
votes
6answers
125k 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 ...
74
votes
8answers
78k 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?
56
votes
5answers
49k 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 ...
52
votes
12answers
83k 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 ...
43
votes
6answers
43k 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 ...
41
votes
8answers
34k 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 ...
38
votes
7answers
63k 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/typewriter quote ", no character is displayed. If I type another character, the apostrophe or dumb quote and the next character appear at the same ...
38
votes
5answers
19k 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 ...
37
votes
4answers
16k 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 ...
37
votes
12answers
26k 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 ...
34
votes
9answers
11k 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 ...
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 ...
28
votes
2answers
36k 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 ...
27
votes
12answers
36k 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?
27
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
113k 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. ...
25
votes
4answers
37k 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?
25
votes
9answers
32k 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 ...
25
votes
8answers
30k 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 ...
24
votes
9answers
7k 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 ...
24
votes
1answer
2k views

What do you call a keyboard with a bar-shaped Enter key?

I'm an programmer, and a touch-typist, and so type best when the keys I use are where I expect them to be. Perhaps because I'm American, and do most of my work on Apple computers, I expect the ...
24
votes
0answers
694 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
8answers
67k views

How can I remap a keyboard key?

One of my laptop's keys has fallen off. Is there any way I can remap another key to serve as that key? I'll 'sacrifice' the other key because I never use it.
21
votes
8answers
30k 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?
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
19k views

Forward delete using Apple keyboard

How to do a forward delete in Mac, like <-backspace on windows keyboard?
20
votes
3answers
11k 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 ...
20
votes
2answers
2k views

How to make Shift, Ctrl and Alt toggle like Caps lock

I can't use one hand so it's pretty hard to work with Photoshop and Illustrator. Is there any way how to make Shift, Ctrl and Alt modifiers toggle (like Caps Lock) instead of holding down?
19
votes
5answers
7k 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. ...
19
votes
3answers
14k 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 ...
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 ...
18
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 ...
18
votes
5answers
8k 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. ...
18
votes
4answers
17k 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 ...
18
votes
5answers
10k 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 ...
17
votes
13answers
737 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
13answers
36k views

How do I type accented characters in windows?

I heard that you can hold alt and type out some cryptic numeric code to get characters like accented letters. Is there a way to do this more like the mac way?
17
votes
3answers
3k 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
7answers
38k views

MacBook Pro Keyboard - How to Swap / Remap Keys?

I know this may be asked before in a different manner, but I still haven't really seen a solid answer. I'm hoping that providing these 2 specific needs will make it more clear. I specifically want 2 ...
16
votes
6answers
6k 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 ...
16
votes
2answers
36k 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 ...
16
votes
4answers
9k 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
8k 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?
15
votes
5answers
6k 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?
15
votes
4answers
19k views

How to re-map command and option keys on Mac OS X with a PC-keyboard?

in my keyboard the command key is mapped to the windows key (I'm using a regular PC keyboard) so I only have a left command, because the space on the right is occupied by the useless Fn key. I've ...
15
votes
4answers
27k views

How to type pound sign(£) using US keyboard, in Windows, Linux and Mac?

I have dual boot configuration with Fedora and Windows XP. Keyboard is normal US standard keyboard. Now that I am working for a UK based client, I need to use pound sign quite often. Currently I am ...
15
votes
4answers
3k views

Chrome: Selecting a link by doing search on its text

I'm trying to use my computer using the keyboard exclusively, without touching the mouse. When browsing the web it can get hard. I use Tab to select links, but there are often dozens of links on a ...
15
votes
6answers
9k 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 ...