If the problem is bad enough, we should probably look beyond the workaround

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2007/11/29 10:01 -05:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2007/11/29/6590805.aspx


Over in the comments section of The keyboard does not do what I tell it to!,Maria asks:

I have gone through all the comments in this blog, still can not solve my problem. My problem is almost the same as Kate's. When I type / , it shows é, when I type ? (shift+?), it shows É. I tried that Alt + Shift many times, suddenly I got / and ?. But when I open another file, same problems come again. And the question is I don't know how I made my last time successful. I guess that was just a coincidence.

Please help me!

Thanks

Now I don't want to knock workarounds, as they can be very handy. Truly.

But in this case it looks like there is more going on here, so we should look a little deeper to see if what is going on can be determined. 

Looking at what the ALT+SHIFT does for a moment, it switches the keyboard layout to one of the other layouts that are in the interactive user's input language list.

The fact that users often don't see the language switching kind of implies that the language bar is not visible, or at least is not providing helpful information....

So let's take a look at the Language Bar. First we go to Regional and Language Options, in that middle tab and hit that button:

You will likely see two or more keyboards listed there in that next dialog:

Certainly I expect that Maria would see this, since the ALT+SHIFT switching worked at least once.

And there may even be more than two -- note how she mentioned she had hit the keystroke combination many times....

You may want to delete any layouts you are not using from the dialog.

Let's deal with the other issue, if at least two keyboards are not needed.

And now since it sounds like new processes are not getting the right layout by default -- let's fix up that process default choice in that very top dropdown:

Make sure it is set to the one that you want for the default.... 

And now let's hit that Language Bar... button and deal with the fact that the Language Bar wasn't visible:

Aha, the list was intentionally made not visible -- how did that happen?

Ah well, easy enough to solve -- hit that first checkbox, and now the language bar will be there for when things shift.

The ALT+SHIFT workaround is fine for when you accidentally switch to a known layout that you have on your list -- but when the results are entirely unexpected, its good to try and figure out what might be configured inclorrectly....

 

This post brought to you by é (U+00e9, aka LATIN SMALL LETTER E WITH ACUTE)


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