April, 2010

  • Never doubt thy debugger

    Make your own keyboard for free

    • 1 Comments

    I’ve been using the new Arc Keyboard for a few weeks now and I’m very pleased with it, I like it especially for typing. But (there is always a “but” Winking smile)… Unfortunately I have to say this keyboard is not very practical when working with Windbg or Visual Studio (at least with the Italian layout) where you have to type special characters such as tilde (~) or braches ( { } ). Well, it is possible to get braches with the key combination ATL GR+SHIFT+è for the open one and ALT GR+SHIFT++ or ALT+123 and ALT+125 on the numpad if available and despite the weird key combination I got used to press it with only one hand and my typing flow was acceptable, even on a laptop where the numpad cannot be used. Anyway I’ve not been able to find how to get the tilde sign on an Italian keyboard without using the numpad combination (ALT+126), this means I cannot use neither my laptop nor the Arc Keyboard for coding… Should I use two different keyboards, then? No way Shifty

    Bing came to the rescue and pointed me to the Keyboard Layout Creator that, among other things, allows to modify and extend an existing keyboard layout adding new keys and key combinations, and it’s easy to use, too Smile.

    So I started loading the Italian keyboard layout and decided to use the ALT GR key as my function key for my new key combinations: it’s easy to check which keys are already assigned and which are free:

    Italian standard keyboard layoout

    Now just double-click a key on the keyboard to get this dialog:

    assign new key

    Now just add the new key in the box with the corresponding control key combination (I chose CTRL+ALT+<key>) to assign it; after some quick tests I came up with the following layout which I’m using on all my machines now:

    custom keyboard layout

    From the Project menu is possible to validate and test the new keyboard layout and also the Build DLL and Setup Package that creates a MSI setup package to install the new keyboard. Once installed, the new keyboard can be enabled from the Text Services and Input Languages dialog (click on Change keyboard on Region and Language dialog, Keyboarda and Languages tab), choose your custom keyboard layout as the Default input language:

    input languages

    Hope you’ll enjoy your new keyboard layout as I’m doing with mine Nerd smile.

    Carlo

    Quote of the day: Read, every day, something no one else is reading. Think, every day, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to be always part of unanimity. - Christopher Morley
Page 1 of 1 (1 items)