I frequently type Japanese (and a few other languages) using an English keyboard using stock Windows 7 Starter with its standard Japanese Input Method Editor (IME).
Japanese keyboards have two or three special keys to switch "Input Mode", which western keyboards lack.
The functionality of at least some of these keys is available through combinations of modifier keys when using the English keyboard:
- SHIFT + CAPS LOCK
toggles between alphanumberic and hiragana input
- Right ALT + CAPS LOCK
switches to katakana input
- Right CTRL + CAPS LOCK
switches to hiragana input
But recently I've found my keyboard can get stuck in "Full-width alphanumeric" (Ｌｉｋｅ ｔｈｉｓ).
I can change modes using the above hotkeys, but I can't change back to "Half-width alphanumeric. The normal hotkey to change to alphanumeric always changes to Full-width, no matter whether caps lock is engaged or not.
I can switch using the mouse and GUI but this interrupts my touch typing speed and causes unwanted distractions.
This could be the result of a bug, but if there is a hot-key combination I'm unaware of for switching to Half-width it would well be worth knowing.
I definitely have not changed my preferences or settings for the Japanese IME hotkeys. I swear they were the default settings but have become changed without my intervention, possibly during the last Windows Update.
Besides the key combinations I mentioned earlier, I have discovered that I can toggle between hiragana and alphanumeric input now with this combination and no other I can find, including the old combination I used to use:
- ALT + `
I'll start adjusting to this and if I find no problems other than just being different I'll post it as an answer.