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From time to time I want to simulate having a full keyboard even though my Mac uses the smaller Apple bluetooth keyboard. It is most important for the system events to get the actual key pressed as much as possible and not just find another shortcut that maps to the same action once it hits the OS.

I had hoped to use (or better trick) the supplied keyboard viewer, but the OS "cleverly" shows me the layout I have instead of the layout I want.

enter image description here

Can anyone help me trick my software into showing the larger keyboard like this without having one physically plugged in? It's nice to have fast access to the keys including/under F13-F15 and the key pad enter only key from time to time without plugging in more hardware. It's also nice to make tutorials that show the full key layout.

enter image description here

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5 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted
+50

Apple has a pretty good record on accessibility features, one of which is the onscreen keyboard. I would be surprised if there is not a way to do enable the extended onscreen keyboard, but I'm still researching where this precise bit of how-to knowledge.

In the meantime, here is Apple's official page for accessibility features related to Physical and Motor Skills (which is the category for the Onscreen Keyboard): http://www.apple.com/accessibility/macosx/physical.html It shows the extended version in their screenshot.

This is overkill (both in features and price), but I felt the need to add the application called "the best on-screen keyboard, not just for the Macintosh, but for any platform." I'm too new to have lots of links. but look at atri.misericordia.edu for a review of KeyStrokes.

Here: have a layout editor, so if you can't see the keys you need in Keyboard Viewer, you can switch them in to replace some keys you don't really care about: http://scripts.sil.org/cms/scripts/page.php?site_id=nrsi&item_id=ukelele

still doing research, will be adding what I find

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Ukelele looks the most promising. It lets me color the keyboard the same, and I have yet to figure out how to show the normal keys - it does draw all the special keys. Perhaps I just need to build out a qwerty KB and use that... Thanks @fontgoddess! –  bmike Aug 3 '11 at 15:02
    
In .keylayouts (and Ukelele) F-keys are normally assigned the value  (data link escape). If any non-F key is assigned to 0x10, it'll still be usable as a unique key in shortcut recorders, but it won't be equivalent to any particular F-key. I'm not sure about other special keys, but there's always some exceptions. –  Lauri Ranta Aug 4 '11 at 23:03
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Virtual Keyboard from http://www.corallosoftware.it/index.html looks good. It's shareware with a 14 day trial and can be downloaded here as well.

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I used version 3.8.3 today on 10.6.6. Unlike Keyboard Viewer, keys like Shift and Opt/Alt are also operational from the virtual keyboard, not just the physical keyboard. Can send it to you if you want to email me (tom at bluesky dot org). –  Tom Gewecke Aug 3 '11 at 15:15
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PS Here is a better link to get it: download.cnet.com/VirtualKeyboard/3000-2094_4-11681776.html –  Tom Gewecke Aug 3 '11 at 17:32
    
Tom - I'm picking the other solution, but think you get bounty too. It'll take a bit to offer and wait, but sincere thanks - your solution is also nice, but for me I'll spend the extra effort on the free solution. –  bmike Aug 4 '11 at 21:32
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As far as I know I don't believe this is possible. However some bright spark may be able to find some plist hack to do precisely what you are looking for. As a less bright spark I can perhaps offer a partial workaround for the function you are attempting to achieve.

cmd + up arrow takes you to the beginning of a document. cmd + down arrow takes you to the end of a document.

cmd/ctrl + left arrow takes you to the beginning of a line. cmd/ctrl + right arrow takes you to the end of a line.

fn + backspace is "delete"

fn + up arrow is "page up" fn + down arrow is "page down"

I'm not familiar with the wired keyboard but from pictures those seem to be the buttons you were asking about. Learn those and it'll be faster than the onscreen one anyway!

I've never had cause to use it but the specific "enter only" key may be a type of special character. If that is the case then it seems to me you may be able to assign it a keyboard shortcut using an AppleScript in Automator, which can be saved as a Service and assigned a shortcut from the keyboard menu. If anyone has a more efficient way of assigning a keyboard shortcut to an awkward character (unicode or otherwise) I'd be interested to hear it (as a linguist!).

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Ouch, downvote. Didn't mean to be useless. –  Swizzlr Aug 2 '11 at 20:44
    
Sorry - I really want a clickable picture on my screen. It's a great answer and I see how my first two paragraphs opened it up a bit for alternatives. Forgive me if I edit the question to reiterate the picture on the screen need. –  bmike Aug 3 '11 at 14:43
    
(my vote is +1 for your attempt - but I only get one vote) –  bmike Aug 3 '11 at 15:05
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I have a full size bluetooth keyboard and when I open the keyboard viewer I see the full keyboard that you are looking for.

The keyboard viewer was probably intended to help people find special characters that aren't displayed on the keys of the keyboard they have in front of them. This is especially helpful when trying to type in a foreign language when using a US keyboard, for example.

Unfortunately my Rocketfish keyboard doesn't connect as faithfully and simply as my Apple bluetooth keyboard. :(

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I have the smaller Apple bluetooth keyboard also and if I press "shift" on it then the onscreen keyboard viewer shows the numbers key pad.

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