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The keyboard
Although almost no one seems to be aware of the fact, Windows offers a feature that’s ideal for
touch typists who hate taking their hands off the keyboard or for anyone whose hands ache after
using the mouse for long periods. Here’s what you need to know.

he feature is called MouseKeys, Add/Remove Programs and then click the keyboard mouse off and then on. The rest of

T which we’ll also refer to as the

keyboard mouse. The keyboard
mouse lets you act as though
Windows Setup tab. Select Accessibility and
choose Details. Put a check in the Accessibility
Options check box if there isn’t one, then
the options are reasonably self-explanatory.
You may find the keyboard mouse a little
confusing at first, but using the feature
you’re using a mouse without actually push- choose OK and follow the on-screen instruc- becomes quite straightforward with a bit of
ing one around. You simulate mouse move- tions. If the option is already checked, choose practice. Surprisingly, MouseKeys can actu-
ments and clicks using the numeric keypad. Cancel and then Cancel again. ally give you much better control over the
The way MouseKeys operates is not very To turn the feature on once installed, go to mouse pointer than you can get from using
well documented in Windows, though, so Control Panel, choose Accessibility Options, a real mouse. Familiarise yourself with
we’ll run through the details here. click the Mouse tab and then mark the Use MouseKeys and you’ll have a way to control
Holding down a key adjacent to the 5 MouseKeys check box. the mouse pointer when you can’t move a
moves the mouse pointer in the direction of In addition to turning MouseKeys on, real mouse or don’t have one available.
that key relative to the 5. Press 8, for exam- you’ll want to choose the Settings button to
ple, and the pointer moves up because the view the available settings. As you can see
8 is above the 5. (Note that on most laptops in Figure 1, there are only a few settings to
8 will be above and slightly to one side of 5.) configure.
Keys on the diagonal (1, 3, 7, and 9) move You should check the Show MouseKey
the mouse pointer diagonally. Status On Screen box, because using the
By default, the 5 key acts like the left mouse keyboard mouse is harder without the status
button. Hit the - (Minus) on the keypad to icon in the system tray. The icon shows you
make 5 act like the right button, or the * which button or buttons the centre (5) key on
(Asterisk) to make 5 function like a simulta- the numeric keypad currently represents,
neous left and right click. Pressing / (Slash) and whether the key is set to click (indicat-
restores the left click behaviour. ed by a crosshatched pattern) or to click and
When you need to drag, press the Ins (0) hold (with a solid fill).
key to turn the 5 into a click-and-hold but- You should also check the Use Shortcut
ton. Use the Del (Period) key to return the checkbox, which defines the Left Alt–Left
simple click functionality. Shift–Num Lock key combination as a toggle
that turns MouseKeys on and off. This short-
INSTALLATION AND SETUP cut is extremely useful. The status icon has
Figure 1: You can change the speed and acceleration
If you think the keyboard mouse isn’t a tendency to disappear from the system tray of the MouseKeys mouse pointer.
installed, go to Control Panel, choose but can often be resurrected by toggling the

90 March 2001 ■