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    Bluetooth Keyboard + System-wide Colemak (Android)

    • Started by Golden_Hammer
    • 2 Replies:
    • Reputation: 0
    • Registered: 17-Nov-2006
    • Posts: 68

    I don't even remember the last time I posted here, but it's good to see some of the people I used to chat with on these forums are still here. I've been using Colemak for almost 9 years and still going strong!

    Now, on to the matter at hand. I type in English and Japanese every day. On my computer, it's not really a problem. When it comes to using my tablet, it used to be a problem. For typing with Colemak in English with my Bluetooth keyboard, I use an app called External Keyboard Helper Pro, which I cannot recommend enough! Caps lock is mapped to backspace, and the right Alt is mapped to Alt-Gr natively. It also has many, many other keyboard layouts. I've had no problems with it whatsoever. It's a paid app, but it's not very expensive.

    Whenever I switched to Japanese, the romaji keyboard used the system's default keyboard layout, which is QWERTY. That was quite frustrating for a number a years, so I finally decided to figure out a way to simply change the default layout (at least the letter arrangement) to Colemak's. I found the answer, but you have to be on a rooted device to do it, unfortunately. I did this on my Fire 7 tablet, but I'm sure it'll work on any Android device.

    The process is painlessly simple. I think ES File Explorer will get the job done, but I used Root Explorer (also a paid app). You want to first find the system folder. Press that to find usr and press that to find keylayout. The file you want to edit is titled "Generic.kl." It's important to copy this file somewhere , so if you mess up, you can just paste it back (I had to do that a couple of times). Root Explorer has its own text editor, so I used that; but if you don't have a text editor, I recommend Jota Text Editor. Press Generic.kl, and you should be prompted to open it up in an editor of your choosing. Do so. I changed Keys 16-25, 30-39, and 44-50 to their Colemak equivalent and swapped 14 and 58. The reason why I swapped the last two is because you cannot have the same value twice. I found this out the hard way when I tried to change Caps_Lock to Del, but I also had Del at Key 14. If you have the same value twice, it will render your keyboard useless. After you've made your changes, save, and reboot.

    For those who really want to play with that file, there's an app called KeyTest. This is the apk for it. When the app is opened, it will you tell the location of whatever key you press so that you may easily locate it in the Generic.kl file.

    Hope this helps!

    Last edited by Golden_Hammer (08-Jan-2016 09:10:17)
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    • From: Oslo, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
    • Posts: 4,742

    Golden Hammer! Good to see you, mate! :-)

    *** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
    *** Check out my Big Bag of Keyboard Tricks for Win/Linux/TMK... ***

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    • Registered: 17-Nov-2006
    • Posts: 68

    DreymaR! I see you're still very much active on the forums. Glad the passion for Colemak hasn't died out. Mine hasn't! ;)

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