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Numeric keypad vs number keys

by volvogirl / November 8, 2009 3:03 AM PST

Here's a technical question for you. I just discovered that to type a symbol using the alt key (like alt+0189 for 1/2) you have to use the number keypad and can't use the top row of numbers. I was helping my husband type in a degree sign on his laptop and he couldn't do it unless he holds down the blue fn key & the alt key and types the number using the keypad keys. Tried it on my desktop, same same. Never noticed that before.

Why can't you use the number keys on the top row above the letters?

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It's designed that way
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / November 8, 2009 3:58 AM PST

Sorry, but I can't give a better answer than that.

Typically the number keypad does not have additional characters, (the ones you access from the number keys on the keyboard proper by pressing Shift), so may be that has some bearing on it.

Or, possibly there is another factor. Some users will need these extended characters often, and using a number keypad is like using the old calculator or till machines that used to be used in accounting offices or in shops. It is more convenient for fast access under just one hand with the other simply pressing the Alt key. No good for me though because, although I am right handed, I always used my left hand for these calculator machines and my right hand doesn't 'remember' as fast as my left does!

That's the best I can do! Happy


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Office can make it hard
by wil_peter / November 8, 2009 5:08 AM PST

but the "Insert\Symbol" dialog box doesn't give a perfect set of answers to the Shortcut keys. My keyboard has the number pad but has no FN key, so the Alt+0189 combo works for ?. I type a few foreign quotes and found that the Symbol shortcut is sometimes harder than it needs to be. For r

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So you have a desktop?
by Kees Bakker / November 8, 2009 5:37 AM PST

Most laptops don't have a separate numeric part like a standard 101-key keyboard. So it's simulated by the uiojklm,. square or thereabout. But, of course, the k key already is used for k and K so you need another key than the shift also. Clumsy, indeed.

That's why they sell separate numeric keypads (can connect via USB) for the bookkeepers and accountants among us. But that's not always practical on a laptop either when travelling. For home or office use connecting a standard keyboard to a laptop is preferable (and cheap!). Same, of course, for a mouse (compared to the built-in mouse pad). And a separate monitor (on a more ergonomic height then so low on the desk) doesn't harm either.

For normal diacritics on a laptop, or if you don't know the alt-numbers, it's easier to use the 'silent' keys (like on a old-fashioned typewriter!). To write the the grave accent in fr

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