Keypads and Laptops and Numlock, Oh My
February 19, 2009 9:06 PM   Subscribe

How can I get my laptop to respond to an external (USB) numeric keypad without activating?

Sibelius music notation software makes extensive use of the numeric keypad, but my laptop doesn't have one.

I have an external keyboard but I need numlock to be activated in order for the keypad to work. When numlock is activated, the laptop goes into keypad mode (the right side of the keyboard simulates a keypad -- UIO=456, JKL=123, etc.) So I have to constantly remember turn numlock on and off when I want to use regular keyboard commands.

Any solutions?

(I'm aware that Sibelius has a keyboard setup for laptop users, but this interferes with most of the shortcuts I'm already used to,).
posted by Alabaster to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I think there is probably no way to get what you want, but you could plug in a full keyboard and use that.
posted by fritley at 9:14 PM on February 19, 2009

You could use AutoHotKey to remap the keys on the keypad. I'm thinking you would leave num lock off, and then map insert to 0, and so on. Depending on how your keys are set up there might be a better combination of keys to map, but you should get the idea. Not the most elegant way, but it should take care of it.

I wish my laptop had a numeric keypad :(
posted by niles at 9:20 PM on February 19, 2009

Response by poster: I do use a full USB keyboard, but even with this I have to activate numlock -- which turns on the laptop mode and I can't use the letter keys on the right hand of the keyboard (even on the full-sized keyboard).

I use AutoHotkey for some other things -- I'll experiment with remapping these keys, although I'm worried about losing functionality of my arrow keys as a result.
posted by Alabaster at 9:27 PM on February 19, 2009

So even on the regular keys, the U I and O keys show up as numbers? That really sucks. Have you thought of getting something like this? It has it's own numlock key as well, so I don't know if it would cause problems or not.
posted by delmoi at 10:04 PM on February 19, 2009

I'm not sure which shortcuts you're talking about, but I've been getting pretty good using the option button to replicate the keypad over the left side of the keyboard. Option key plus those letters are not shortcuts to anything else except the keypad buttons. You'll have to customize to get dots for dotted notes, or the 'rest' button. But the best thing is to just go into your preferences and go nuts tailoring your keyboard shortcuts to what you want. It's a pain, but once you do it, the program really feels like it BELONGS to you and your work will go faster in time.
posted by ChickenringNYC at 10:46 PM on February 19, 2009

you can get a separate USB numeric keypad, and I think they rig the drivers so it operates in addition to your laptop keyboard without you having to do anything.
posted by Jon_Evil at 11:02 PM on February 19, 2009

In some laptop Bioses you can set an "Enable Keypad" option. the options are "By Numlock" or "Only by Fn Key" (Samsung X360). "Fn-key only" should do the trick. Maybe your laptop has a similar option?
posted by mmkhd at 6:04 AM on February 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

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