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'Home' and 'End' and 'FN'.

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When I am typing I frequently need to go back and edit things as I have a habit of hitting 2 keys at once, on my Netbook I can manage up to 4!

Two of the keys I use a lot when editing are 'Home' and 'End'.
On a full size keyboard that is not a problem but on my Netbook they are linked to the 'FN' key which is at the opposite end of the keyboard, making it at best extremely difficult for me to use them.

I am wondering if there is a way to find the commands that those two keys use so that I can set up shortcuts using different keys, as even if it is possible I would prefer not to remap any keys.
I have tried running a search but the only thing I turned up which was even slightly relevant was that the 'FN' key works differently to any of the others and cannot itself be modified.

Can anybody suggest a solution by this or any other means?

Forget the Fn key for a moment. Perhaps then you could reassign it to another key with the same means, but probably not (even most macro tools fail here), and your foremost problem is to have the Home and End keys somewhere, and here, no problem whatsoever IF you are willing to sacrifice some other keys; if you cannot find such keys, you must install a macro program, too, in order to sacrifice such keys all the same, but regain their original functionality by key COMBINATIONS via the macro tool.

Because the underlying problem is, you can reset keys within Windows, but not key combinations, and this means perhaps, you should start by looking if you can sacrifice two keys, and if not, forget the Windows ways, and start trialling macro tools instead (since if you have to use a macro tool anyway, why get into the Windows depths then, additionally?).

So, if you can sacrifice two keys, have a look at the tool SHARPKEYS, which will allow you to reassign the Home and End functions to those sacrified keys.

Bear in mind that there is the shiftlock key which would make a good Home key, and for Home, there might be another "special character" key somewhere you almost never use, depending on the language of your kb and the language(s) you're writing in (remember if ever you really need that sacrified, special character, you could always get it by the Windows characters table; for one usage per month, that might be acceptable).

The beauty of this registry-hacking solution lies in the fact that there won't be any additional tool running, but many a people prefer macro tools because of the extreme unflexibility of these hacks: Whenever you want to change these assignments, it'll be another half hour (first time: one hour or more, with the necessary identification of the relevant scan codes), to do the changes (and note the changes and store them away, with a "before" and "afterward" - or is this really necessary? I did it per hand; in Sharpkeys, it's probably much simpler to do and to monitor).

Here's how to do it by hand - or so I thought, in fact it's become a 404, and I couldn't get it anew from other source:

I had retrieved the contents some years ago (but cannot copy them here since this would be against the law, and it's rather lengthy). Today at bits, Surfulater (for anyone who doesn't have such a tool already, and this 404 proves how important it is to have local storage, instead of just bookmark managers), half price.

The search terms would be "remap" / "remapping", etc. - but I suppose Sharpkeys will do.

Thinking of it, you will not only lose the basic character of that new End key, but also the special character that normally is attained by shift there, so it all depends on your needs for those special characters. On the other hand, there's plenty of macro programs that all avoid these problems, but on the contrary offer many new possibilities; some macro programs come with a free "lite" version, and in the end, that would perhaps be the best way to begin with.

When you trial such macro programs, pay attention to the most basic difference of them all: Each macro program is able to assign commands or characters or strings and so on to just SOME keys, and it's not possible to assign these to other keys, or then, to some keys just in combination with control, and so on, but not "flat", so the very first step is to check which keys CAN be assigned with something (and "flat", and / or in which combinations, shift, alt, control, windows key, and so on) - and with the next macro tool, all this is completely different again (and of course, they don't publish these severe limitations not in their offerings and neither in their manuals).

So it's a lot of work to choose the right macro tool (that would perhaps preferably go into the learning of a scripting language), and that's why in a case somebody needs just SOME re-assignments to begin with, a free tool - any free tool - is best, for these very basic things. Then, note the problems you will have with that tool, and when choosing a paid tool, pay attention there that it will not have the very same limitations as the free tool you're leaving. (The paid version of your free tool will very probably have the same limitations as the free version, with regards to which keys can be assigned which way.) Some tools could even assign commands to the Fn keys - in SOME notebooks, and not in others.

And in general, it's a good idea to reassign rarely-used flat and shift functions to the shift and control states of that same key, this way freeing the flat state for a frequently used function, meaning if you have a [/{ and a ]/} key, why not reassign them to (flat/shift/control:) Home/[/{ and End/]/}, respectively. (Attention, even these "flat state" and "shift state" reassignments could be impossible with numerous (even paid) tools, since it's "character keys" which often cannot be reassigned but for control state, depending on the respective tools.)

Or then, a total reassign of the F keys, of course, which should be possible with every such tool, and with Home/End on F9/F10, for example.

A last word perhaps with respect to macro programs: Do NOT try to find something elaborate where you will have oh so many possibilities later on - it's all in proprietary formats, and with numerous limitations, and often without real reliability: For elaborate tasks, you'll need system variables, and which have to be totally reliable, and I had  bad experiences here, with the developers denying any problems - I lost lots of time and energy with trying to use the "better" macro tools "up to their max", instead of shifting to a scripting language in due time. To begin with a simple macro tool for simple tasks, fine; when you need more, it'll be scripting, period. But elaborate macro tools for "intermediate" tasks? Forget them, it'll be so much pain to translate all this into a real scripting language afterwards, and the time this will become necessary will come soon enough then.

At the end of the day, even the "very simple macro tool for very simple basic tasks" advice is rubbish: Why spend your time with trialling 5 such tools, checking what they do and what they do not do? All what you need for a start is a very simple #Persistant script that will reassign some keys, and from there on, you'll be able to add whatever you want, step by step, the only "difficulty" here being that the keys to be reassigned will probably be identified by their respective scan codes, in the form

SC012:: send {home}

instead of in the form

a:: send {end}


F10:: send +^!{whateverspecialkey}

but there is a tool for that, just go to the Autohotkey forum and ask for where to begin with that (and there are tables for the special keys).

Why learn the respective functioning of ANY proprietary macro tool when you can learn the very basics of Autohotkey in the same time?


  A LONG time ago, I remember reading about an app called something like "KeyMapper" or "KeyboardMapper".  It's freeware (a long time ago now), and it may be what your looking for.  It might even be one of DoCo's apps.....

The best solution I have personally come up with is to get a USB keypad, like so:

Personally, I've considered getting one and scraping off the characters so I can re-map all the keys to make a poor man's MIDI controller.   8)

Or, you can use something like StrokesPlus or Just Gestures to make mouse movements into shortcuts for 'Home' and 'End', or find some keys you don't use and re-map them with AutoHotkey.


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