How to easily find + use the arrow keys without having to look at your keyboard: braille stickers!
Thread poster: Michael Joseph Wdowiak Beijer

Michael Joseph Wdowiak Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:39
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Sep 1, 2014

some_text

Yes, I suppose this makes me a geek.

I was getting increasingly annoyed at how hard it was to find the arrow on my keyboard, which I use a lot, so I gave it some thought and decided to try braille keyboard stickers.

WOW. What a difference!

Don't be put off by how dusty and awful the stickers look in the above photo. I assure you, they look a lot better in real life

I might also use them to help my fingers locate various AutoHotkey scripts I have assigned to number pad keys.

Michael


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 01:39
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
Poor keyboard design Sep 1, 2014

On a REAL keyboard the arrow keys will be separated from the others.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Max Deryagin  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 22:39
Member (2013)
English to Russian
This is odd Sep 1, 2014

I don't think I have ever struggled with finding the arrow keys in the dark.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Michael Joseph Wdowiak Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:39
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
@Lincoln: Sep 1, 2014

Yeah, tell me about it. I have been on a hunt for The Perfect Keyboard all my life, and have tried so many my wife once even (tried to) put an official ban on buying new ones for a year

I totally agree. Ideally, the arrow keys should have their own separate little area, so your fingers can find them easier. I got pretty close recently, with a Bakker Elkhuizen S-Board 840 (the keys above the left + right arrows are dead keys, which allows you to use them to orientate yourself nicely re: the arrow keys):

some_text

It's a compact keyboard (or ‘Tenkeyless’), which I find quite important, as really wide keyboards interfere with the fact that I like to use a mouse to the left of my keyboard and a Wacom tablet to the right.

A while back I had an Apple keyboard, the wired one, which I actually loved, and used with Windows 7, but it was very wide and this soon started to really bother me. Here is a sketch of my ideal keyboard, back then:

some_text

The keyboard I am currently using (the one in the screenshot in my original post) is actually on my Dell Precision M6800. I used to insist on using only external keyboards, but since I recently switched from a huge, water-cooled monster desktop PC to this Dell laptop (which is much faster, stronger and quieter than my old tower, plus mobile), I decided to try to use the laptop's keyboard, even though I actually run it connected to a massive Samsung monitor when working at home. I really like the Precision's keyboard and fell in love with being able to map all my number pad keys to AutoHotkey scripts.
Another reason for using the laptop keyboard both at home and when travelling is that I don't have to remember two sets of keyboard shortcuts, which you would have to do if using an external keyboard when working at home.

I actually devised a system where I can use the laptop keyboard when connected to my external monitor, without the laptop's screen getting in the way:

some_text

Michael


[Edited at 2014-09-01 17:23 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Michael Joseph Wdowiak Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:39
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
@Max: Sep 1, 2014

Max Deryagin wrote:

I don't think I have ever struggled with finding the arrow keys in the dark.


I suppose everyone is different. The minute I glued the 4 braille stickers on those keys I felt a huge improvement. It's not that I couldn't locate them before, it's just so much easier now.

I spend most of my time with my hands on my keyboard. E.g. when translating in CafeTran, I use the arrow keys very heavily to constantly move around in the text. Many things that other people might use a mouse for, I also do with the keyboard. I've even got a keyboard shortcut for right-clicking, e.g. Anyway, so it is important to me that my keyboard is as intuitive and easy to use as possible.

Michael


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:39
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
Switch between external and laptop keyboards Sep 1, 2014

Michael Beijer wrote:

Another reason for using the laptop keyboard both at home and when travelling is that I don't have to remember two sets of keyboard shortcuts, which you would have to do if using an external keyboard when working at home.


This is a very important point. I lose a lot of time pressing the wrong "delete" and "back delete" keys when I switch between external and laptop keyboards.

But my laptop keyboard gets too warm in the summer so I wouldn't want to use it permanently.

I like your braille stickers, Michael. The nearest I got on one keyboard was painting the back delete arrow in Tipex, using so much paint I could locate it from the bumpy arrow without looking!


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Michael Joseph Wdowiak Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:39
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Hi Emma, Sep 1, 2014

I used to use Tipp-Ex too, until I discovered these stickers:

some_text

You can see a green one on the number pad (#4) in my first photo. This is to automatically send a term pair to my main glossary in CafeTran:

;-----------------------------------------------------*
NumpadLeft:: ; numberpad LEFT (= key #4, with number lock off) to send to Gloss#1 (= WORDBOOK.csv)
ClipWait, 1
SendInput !g!1
return
;-----------------------------------------------------*


I am currently switching to a combination of coloured stickers & braille stickers. My keyboard is starting to look like a cockpit

Michael

PS: these are the ones I got: http://shop.adapt-it.co.uk/products/braille-keytop-stickers.asp

some_text

[Edited at 2014-09-01 19:22 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

PAS  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:39
English to Polish
+ ...
External keyboard Sep 3, 2014

I use an ancient Compaq keyboard. It is 45 cm across and, compared to a typical laptop keyboard, the keys feel like a Steinway grand as compared to a $ 150 toy synthesizer.

I suffer terribly when I must type on a laptop keyboard, The biggest problem for me is that I tend to use the left CTRL+ALT key combination to get certain letters instead of the GR ALT key on the right (I use both, depending on what's easier). Laptop keyboards have that extra Fn key stuck in there, so I often hit that instead of the combination I need.
Motor memory is a terrible thing...


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Michael Joseph Wdowiak Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:39
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
@PAS: Sep 3, 2014

Yes, the Fn key is another one of my pet hates about sub-optimally designed keyboards: they should all be removed, every one of them! Just add an extra row of keys at the top or something, just get rid of it! It gets in the way and is a constant source of confusion when you're typing in a hurry, as many of us often are.

Incidentally, have you tried HoldKey or WizKey? They are both great ways to type special characters. I much prefer HoldKey, but for some reason it has stopped working reliably on my Win7 system so I had to switch to WizKey.

With HoldKey, you just type a letter, and then hold the key pressed down, and a little menu will pop up with all the possible different versions of the letter you just pressed! Very intuitive!
http://www.holdkey.eu/

WizKey operates differently: you press Shift (can be changed) twice, fast, and a menu pops up with a list of different kinds of special characters.
https://antibody-software.com/web/software/software/wizkey-makes-it-easy-to-type-accented-and-other-special-unicode-characters/

[Edited at 2014-09-03 09:12 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

PAS  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:39
English to Polish
+ ...
Diacritics Sep 3, 2014

Michael, that is not a good solution (for me). There are nine diacritcs in Polish. They occur quite often, so I would need to stop every time, wait for the menu to pop up, select the right letter and then continue typing.
This may be a good solution for occasional diacritics in a foreign language, but not for regular typing in that language.

A bit off-topic, but there is a way of getting "common" diacritics straight from the keyboard. Not very many people seem to remember or know this. It is quicker than getting to the special characters via "insert symbol" and you don't need to memorize the "ALT + nnnn" combinations.

For example, to get "ö" on a standard American keyboard, you first press "CTRL + SHIFT + :", let go, and type "o". (The SHIFT is needed to get to the colon).

The diacritic "shape" is intuitive, so you don't even need to memorize the necessary combinations.
To get "é", you type "CTRL + ' ", let go, then type "e"
and so on.

P.A.S.

[Edited at 2014-09-03 10:51 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

How to easily find + use the arrow keys without having to look at your keyboard: braille stickers!

Advanced search






SDL Trados Studio 2017 Freelance
The leading translation software used by over 250,000 translators.

SDL Trados Studio 2017 helps translators increase translation productivity whilst ensuring quality. Combining translation memory, terminology management and machine translation in one simple and easy-to-use environment.

More info »
WordFinder
The words you want Anywhere, Anytime

WordFinder is the market's fastest and easiest way of finding the right word, term, translation or synonym in one or more dictionaries. In our assortment you can choose among more than 120 dictionaries in 15 languages from leading publishers.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search