Vanishing keyboard shortcuts...
August 30, 2007 1:33 PM   Subscribe

Mysterious vanishing keyboard shortcuts...

Up until yesterday, on my laptop, running MS Word 2003 and Windows Vista, I could enter the UK pound sterling symbol by using Alt+Fn+0,1,6,3

This worked in all applications, as would other numeric combinations, such as Alt+Fn+0,1,6,2 for the cent character.

Suddenly, this does not work in MS Word. It still works in all applications except MS Word, including other MS Office applications.

Investigation shows that the Fn+numeric key combinations are generating the typical numeric pad navigation commands instead of the numbers like they usually do. Why would this happen just in MS Word?

posted by blue_wardrobe to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Turn NumLk on in Word.
posted by grouse at 2:08 PM on August 30, 2007

To clarify...

On my laptop (a Gateway CX2620) the Fn+L key will normally generate the numeric keypad "3" character. Same principle for the other keys with a numeric keypad overlay. This doesn't need NumLk to be on.

Suddenly, Fn+L is generating PgDn, and the same for the other keys. Again, NumLk isn't on.

I thought this was just MS Word, but other apps are exhibiting problems to some degree too. It's just that Alt+Fn+0,1,6,3 was working in some non-MS Word apps - this is the combo I use most. Other combos move the cursor around -- aargh!

So, basic question, how do I get the machine to again generate numeric keys when I press Fn plus the appropriate letter?

[I'm beginning to suspect a Vista windows update pack from last night might have screwed this up].
posted by blue_wardrobe at 2:41 PM on August 30, 2007

@grouse: I can use NumLk, but I shouldn't have to, and never have had to before.
posted by blue_wardrobe at 2:42 PM on August 30, 2007

Clean the keyboard w/ canned air or with the sticky ends of post-its. If a key is stuck that could cause trouble. Also, check scroll lock, which can cause odd keybd behavior. Then blame Microsoft.
posted by theora55 at 6:06 PM on August 30, 2007

I'm going to get this wrong, because I always make my brilliant bro-in-law fix this shit, but should you check for ?macro viruses? does that sound right? I had this happen on my Mac (!!!). Suddenly keystroke shortcuts wouldn't work and menu options actually disappeared. He finally found some file that had imported a virus, incredibly, into the supposedly virus-proof Mac. Fortunately he knew how to fix it. (Meanwhile, the geniuses told me it couldn't be so--they said I must have "done something" to change the keyboard and menus!). I was just about to post it here when he figured it out.
posted by nax at 7:38 PM on August 30, 2007

My older Windows laptop wouldn't respond to alt+fn+key combo. With NumLock on, alt+key combo worked for inserting Unicode. External USB number pad helped with that though, so if nothing else that may be an option. You can find a cheap one (I think mine was only about US $6-7).

However: Even if your keypad was using Fn+key to act as a number pad with NumLock off: Fn+L should be mapped to 2, which is "down arrow" with NumLock off. If it's acting like a 3, well, there's something screwy going on. 3 should, if anything, act as a down-right arrow, not a down.

Try changing your default keyboard layout in the Control Panel. Something like change it to Dvorak, then back to Qwerty. Make sure you know EXACTLY what the alphanumeric layout of your chosen keyboard is though, just in case Vista asks you to retype your password after changing.

Alternately, plug in a USB keyboard and see what's going on there. Does the keypad act normally? Is NumLock on?
posted by caution live frogs at 6:50 AM on August 31, 2007

hey blue_wardrobe!

did you ever figure out a way to use ALT+FN in MS Word? I'm experiencing the EXACT same thing on a Dell laptop. ALT+FN and number keys works in all programs even other MS programs, but for some strange reason not at all in Word. I don't even get the "Pg Dn" etc, symptoms happening in Word that you are... nothing happens at all. It's nuts how little quirks like this can drive you crazy! Anyhow... if you've discovered anything, definitely curious. Still scouring the net for any other leads...
posted by snap_shot77 at 8:14 PM on September 29, 2007

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