How can I paste the number five with a keyboard shortcut?
March 10, 2008 3:32 AM   Subscribe

The number five suddendly won't work on my laptop, can I program a key combination to paste it whenever I need it?

Obviously, the key combination will need to work across the OS (Windows XP), and any program.
I've taken the key off, and can't see anything obvious, any ideas what may have suddenly caused this?
posted by BobsterLobster to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You can set up a macro with AutoHotKey.
posted by grouse at 3:40 AM on March 10, 2008

Could be crud between the contact membranes, or something; it's possible to take laptop keyboard modules apart to clean them, but it can be a big pain.

Fortunately, it's also often possible to buy a new keyboard module quite inexpensively for many popular laptops. EBay dealers sell lots of such things, sometimes brand new and sometimes parted out from busted laptops. Swapping in the new module can be quite easy; laptops are famous for making you take the whole darn thing apart to do something like clean dust out of the cooling fans, but the keyboard is often simple enough. Check the manufacturer's Web site for a service guide; Dell, for instance, have very good online service documentation for their laptops.

(And just as well, too... :-)
posted by dansdata at 3:53 AM on March 10, 2008

Or, if you're brave or skilled, or have a friend who is, go all the way and remap some useless key using regedit. (I used these same instructions to make my computer have a right-side Ctrl button like the gods intended, and it works fine. Copy anything before making serious changes so you can get the computer back in line if you made a mistake.)
posted by whatzit at 4:03 AM on March 10, 2008

Best answer: If you want to remap a key, you could always use the Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator.
posted by grouse at 4:04 AM on March 10, 2008

Why not just use :

START / PROGRAMS / Accessories / Accessibility / On-Screen-Keyboard

posted by jmnugent at 5:42 AM on March 10, 2008

An easier way to get to On-Screen-Keyboard:

Start key + R, then type "osk", then press Enter.
posted by SlyBevel at 7:43 AM on March 10, 2008

Most laptops also have the number pad available when you hit num lock. I just checked the nearest laptop and num lock followed by the letter i yields a 5 with no actual change to the computer. Don't forget to turn off numlock when you've finished.

Oh and if there's a 5 in your password, it may be easiest to change the password.
posted by advicepig at 8:19 AM on March 10, 2008

I'm using a wireless keyboard with my laptop right now. Obviously that's not a great solution for portability, but it your'e mostly using it as a desktop, it could be useful.
posted by stevis23 at 8:21 AM on March 10, 2008

Before you go to the bother of retraining your muscle memory, it's worth checking out how much hassle it is on your model to clean the keyboard. On mine (a Dell) removing keys to clean under them is fairly easy. And getting the keys back on isn't that bad, either. It's amazing what kind of junk can get stuck under keys.

Google for the name of your laptop + "cleaning keyboard" (or something similar). Chances are good that you'll find a set of instructions with some pictures.
posted by dws at 8:24 AM on March 10, 2008

Another vote for AutoHotKey, because you'll be able to program a simple key combination.

For example, you could program Win+4 to type 5, and Win+Shift+4 to type %.
posted by qvtqht at 8:50 AM on March 10, 2008

SharpKeys is a pretty frontend for the registry hack as well.
posted by Nodecam at 10:38 AM on March 10, 2008

AutoHotkey is the best solution, but faster then is the Texter made by the people of Lifehacker (using AutoHotkey). You write 'five' for example and the word is replaced by the number.
posted by Leech at 10:20 PM on March 12, 2008

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