Installment #3: Making the Keyboard More Fun

By Chuck Jennings

Making the Keyboard More Accessible

Making Your Keys Stick

If you have trouble holding down two keys at once, activate StickyKeys, so you can press the keys separately and still get the same effect. When StickyKeys is on, you can save a document (for instance) by pressing the CTRL key, and then pressing the S key--you needn't press them at the same time. Pressing a second key turns off (or unsticks) the first key. StickyKeys works only with the modifier keys: SHIFT, WINDOWS, CTRL, and ALT.

The ALT key is sticky all the time--to choose a command from a menu bar, you can press and release the ALT key before you press the letter for the command.

To turn on StickyKeys, select the Use StickyKeys check box on the Keyboard tab of the Accessibility Options dialog box. Then, click the Settings button to see five check boxes that define exactly how StickyKeys works:

Filtering Out Extra Keystrokes

If you have trouble typing each letter only once, you may want to turn on FilterKeys--which "filters out" extra keystrokes--rather than spending time editing them out yourself. You can configure FilterKeys to ignore repeated keystrokes repeated too quickly and to slow down the repeat rate (the rate at which a character is repeated when a key is held down).

To turn on FilterKeys, select the Use FilterKeys check box on the Keyboard tab of the Accessibility Options dialog box. Then, click the Settings button to define exactly how FilterKeys works:

You can double-click the icon to display the Accessibilities Options dialog box and make changes to your settings. When FilterKeys is off, the diagram is removed from the taskbar.

Hearing When a Toggled Key Is Pressed

ToggleKeys is useful if you accidentally press keys that change the behavior of the keyboard. When ToggleKeys is turned on and you press CAPS LOCK, NUM LOCK, or SCROLL LOCK, a tone sounds--a high-pitched tone when you turn CAPS LOCK, NUM LOCK, or SCROLL LOCK on, and a low-pitched tone when you turn it off.

To turn on ToggleKeys, select the Use ToggleKeys option on the Keyboard tab of the Accessibility Options dialog box. Click the Settings button to turn on the Use Shortcut setting, which enables you to turn ToggleKeys on or off by holding down the NUM LOCK key for five seconds.


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