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Chapter 13.  Keyboards and Pointing Devices

Chapter 13.  Keyboards and Pointing Devices

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LaptopKeyboards

Oneofthebiggestinfluencesonkeyboarddesigninrecent

yearshasbeentheproliferationoflaptopandnotebook

systems.Becauseofsizelimitations,itisobviouslyimpossible

tousethestandardkeyboardlayoutforaportablecomputer.

Manufacturershavecomeupwithmanysolutions.

Unfortunately,noneofthesesolutionshasbecomeanindustry

standard,asisthe101-keylayoutfordesktopPCs.Becauseof

thevariationsindesignandbecauseaportablesystem's

keyboardisnotaseasilyreplaceableasthatofadesktop

system,thekeyboardarrangementshouldbeanimportantpart

ofyourpurchasingdecision.

Earlylaptopsystemsoftenusedsmaller-than-normalkeysto

minimizethesizeofthekeyboard,whichresultedinmany

complaintsfromusers.Today,thekeytopsonportablesystems

areusuallycomparableinsizetothoseofadesktopkeyboard,

althoughsomesystemsincludehalf-sizedkeytopsforthe

functionkeysandotherlessfrequentlyusedkeyboard

elements.Inaddition,consumerdemandhascausedmost

manufacturerstoretaintheinverted-Tdesignforthecursor

keysafterafewabortiveattemptsatchangingtheir

arrangement.

Althougharrangementscanvary,atypicallaptopkeyboard

layoutcanbedividedintothefollowingsections:

Typingarea

Cursorandscreencontrols

Functionkeys



Figure13.1showsatypicallaptopkeyboardtoillustratethese

sections.



Figure13.1.Typicallaptopkeyboard.



Thecursor-controlkeysarelocatedinthelowerrightandare

arrangedintheinverted-Tformatthatisfairlystandardonall

computerkeyboards.TheInsert,Delete,Home,End,PageUp,

andPageDownkeysarelocatedabovetheBackspacekey.The

functionkeysarelocatedacrossthetopofthekeyboard.The

Esckeyisisolatedintheupper-leftcornerofthekeyboard.

DedicatedPrintScreen/SysReq,ScrollLock,andPause/Break

keysareprovidedforcommonlyusedfunctions.

Themostobviousdifferenceinaportablesystemkeyboardis

thesacrificeofthenumerickeypad.Mostsystemsnowembed

thekeypadintothestandardalphabeticalpartofthekeyboard,

asshowninFigure13.2.Toswitchthekeysfromtheirstandard

valuestotheirkeypadvalues,youtypicallymustpressakey

combinationinvolvingaproprietaryFunctionkey,oftenlabeled



Fn.



Figure13.2.Mostportablesystemstodayembed

thenumerickeypadintoanoddlyshapedblockof

keysonthealphabeticalpartofthekeyboard.



Thisisanextremelyinconvenientsolution,andmanyusers

abandontheiruseofthekeypadentirelyonportablesystems.

Unfortunately,someactivitiessuchastheentryofASCIIcodes

usingtheAltkeyrequiretheuseofthekeypadnumbers,which

canbequitefrustratingonsystemsusingthisarrangement.

Toalleviatethisproblem,manyportablesystemmanufacturers

sellexternalnumerickeypadsthatplugintotheexternal

keyboardport,aserialport,oraUSBport.Thisisagreat

featureforusersperformingalotofnumericdataentry.Figure

13.3showsaUSBnumerickeypadsoldbyBelkin,whichcanbe

orderedfromwww.belkin.com.



Figure13.3.USBnumerickeypadfromBelkin.



Inadditiontokeypadcontrol,theFnkeyonmostlaptop

keyboardsisusedtotriggerotherproprietaryfeatures,suchas

togglingbetweeninternalandexternaldisplaysaswellas

controllingscreenbrightness,screenexpansionorzoom,sound

volume,andmore.

Someportablesystemmanufacturershavegonetogreat

lengthstoprovideuserswithdecentkeyboards.Forashort

time,IBMmarketedarevolutionarysystemcalledtheThinkPad

701,whichhadakeyboardthatuseda"butterfly"design.The

keyboardwassplitintotwohalvesthatrestedoverandunder

eachotherwhenthesystemwasclosed.Whenyouopenedthe

lid,thetwohalvesslidfromover/undertosidebyside,forming

akeyboardthatwasactuallywiderthanthecomputercase.

Thisdesign,nowconsideredlegendary,wonmanyawardsafter

itwasreleased.



Ironically,thetrendtowardlarger-sizeddisplaysinportable

systemshasmadethissortofarrangementunnecessary.Many

manufacturershaveincreasedthefootprintoftheirnotebook

computerstoaccommodate15-inchorlargerdisplaypanels,

leavingmorethanadequateroomforakeyboardwithfull-size

keys.Becauseofthis,mostportablesystemstodayhave

keyboardsthatapproachthesizeandusabilityofdesktop

models.Thisisavastimprovementoversomeolderdesignsin

whichthekeyswerereducedtoapointwhereyoucouldnot

comfortablytouch-typewithbothhands.Standardconventions

suchastheinverted-Tcursorkeysalsoweremodifiedonolder

machines,causingextremeuserdispleasure.

Still,eventhelargestsystemsdon'thaveenoughroomfora

separatenumerickeypad.Ifyouplantoperformalotof

numericdataentrywithyourportablecomputer,lookfor

numerickeypadsthatplugintoyoursystemandoverridethe

embeddedkeypadontherightsideofyourkeyboard,orusea

standard101-keykeyboardifyou'reatyourdesk.



WindowsKeys

WhenMicrosoftreleasedWindows95,italsointroducedthe

MicrosoftNaturalKeyboard,whichimplementedarevised

keyboardspecificationthataddedthreenewWindows-specific

keystothekeyboard.

TheMicrosoftWindowskeyboardlayoutincludesleftandright

WindowskeysandanApplicationkey,whichhavebecomea

standardformanydesktopandlaptopkeyboards.Thesekeys

areusedforoperatingsystemlevelandapplication-level

keyboardcombinations,similartotheexistingCtrlandAlt

combinations.Youdon'tneedthespecialkeystouseWindows,

butsomesoftwarevendorshaveaddedspecificfunctionsto

theirWindowsproductsthatusetheApplicationkey(which

providesthesamefunctionalityasclickingtherightmouse

button).TherecommendedWindowskeyboardlayoutcallsfor

theLeftandRightWindowskeys(calledWINkeys)toflankthe

Altkeysoneachsideofthespacebar,aswellasforan

ApplicationkeyontherightoftheRightWindowskey(see

Figure13.4).Note,however,thattheexactplacementofthese

keysisuptothekeyboarddesigner,soyouwillseevariations

fromkeyboardtokeyboard.Forexample,becausetheleftand

rightWindowskeysareredundant,manylaptopsincorporate

onlyasingleleftWindowskeyandanApplicationkeymounted

somewhereabovethefunctionkeys,oronlyarightWindows

keywithanadjacentApplicationkey,orasingleWindowskey

andadjacentApplicationkeymountedintheupper-rightcorner

ofthekeyboard.



Figure13.4.The104-keyWindowsstandard

keyboardlayout.



[Viewfullsizeimage]



TheWINkeysopentheWindowsStartmenu,whichyoucan

thennavigatewiththecursorkeys.TheApplicationkey

simulatestherightmousebutton;inmostapplications,itbrings

upacontext-sensitivepop-upmenu.SeveralWINkey

combinationsofferpresetmacrocommandsaswell.For

example,youpressWIN+EtolaunchtheWindowsExplorer

application.Table13.1showsalistofalltheWindowskey

combinations.

Table13.1.Windows9x/Me/2000/XPKey

Combinations

KeyCombination



ResultingAction



WIN+R



DisplaystheRundialogbox



WIN+M



MinimizeAll



Shift+WIN+M



UndoMinimizeAll



WIN+D



MinimizeAllorUndoMinimizeAll



WIN+F1



Help



WIN+E



StartsWindowsExplorer



WIN+F



FindFilesorFolders



Ctrl+WIN+F



FindComputer(onanetwork)



WIN+Tab



Cyclesthroughtaskbarbuttons



WIN+Break



DisplaystheSystemPropertiesdialogbox



Applicationkey



Displaysacontextmenufortheselected

item



TheWindowsandApplicationkeysarenotmandatorywhen

runningWindows.Infact,preexistingstandardkey

combinationscanperformthesamefunctionsasthesekeys.

TheWindowskeyboardspecificationrequiresthatkeyboard

makersincreasethenumberoftrilogramsintheirkeyboard

designs.Atrilogramisacombinationofthreerapidlypressed

keysthatperformaspecialfunction,suchasCtrl+Alt+Delete.

Designingakeyboardsothattheswitchmatrixwillcorrectly

registertheadditionaltrilogramsplustheadditionalWindows

keysaddssomewhattothecostofthesekeyboardscompared

tothepreviousmodels.

Whilemanylaptopandportablesystemsnowincorporatethese

Windows-specifickeys,someofthemostpopularlaptopbrands

suchastheThinkPadsdon'tincludetheWindowsorApplication

keysatall.Somemanufacturersaddotherspecialkeyssuchas

browser-controlandotherkeysthat,althoughnotstandard,can

insomecasesmaketheirkeyboardseasiertousefornavigating

webpagesandlaunchingvariousapplications.Someofthese



keysrequirethatspecialdriversbeloaded,whichmeansthey

maynotworkifyouchangetheoperatingsystemorsoftware

loadfromwhatwasshippedwiththemachine.







RunningWindowsWithoutaMouse

Manypeopledonotknowthatitispossibletodramatically

enhancetheuseofWindowsbyusingthekeyboardasan

adjuncttooreveninsteadofthemouseforsystemcontrol.

Manykeyboardshortcutsandotherkeycommandsare

availablethatcangreatlyincreasethespeedandefficiencywith

whichyouoperateWindows,especiallyifyouarean

accomplishedtouchtypist.BecauseIusemyPCmainlyfor

writing,Ifindthattakingmyhandoffthekeyboardtousea

mousenoticeablyslowsmedown(whichisonereasonIuse

laptopsystemsordesktopkeyboardswithamoreefficient

TrackPointpointingdevice).ByaugmentingWindowsoperations

withthekeyboard,youcancontrolWindowsmoreefficiently

andaccuratelythanwithamousealone.

Insomecases,itisnotonlydesirablebutmaybenecessaryto

usethekeyboardinsteadofamouse,suchaswhenyourmouse

isnotfunctioningproperlyorismissingaltogether.Because

techniciansoftenfindthemselvesoperatingortesting

equipmentthatisnotfullyfunctional,itisevenmoreimportant

forthemtoknowhowtooperateWindowswiththekeyboard.

Table13.2listssomegeneralkeyboard-onlycommandsfor

Windows9x/Me/NT/2000/XP.

Table13.2.GeneralKeyCommandsinWindows

KeyorKey

Combination



ResultingAction



F1



StartsWindowsHelp.



F10



Activatesmenubaroptions.



Shift+F10



Opensacontextmenu(shortcutmenu)for

theselecteditem.



Ctrl+Esc



OpenstheStartmenu.Usethearrowkeys

toselectanitem.



Ctrl+Esc,Esc



SelectstheStartbutton.PressTabto

selectthetaskbarorpressShift+F10fora

contextmenu.



Alt+Tab



Switchestoanotherrunningapplication.

HolddowntheAltkeyandthenpressthe

Tabkeytoviewthetask-switchingwindow.



Shift



BypassestheAutoPlayfeaturewhenyou

pressdownandholdtheShiftkeywhile

youinsertaCD-ROM.



Alt+spacebar



Displaysthemainwindow'sSystemmenu.

FromtheSystemmenu,youcanrestore,

move,resize,minimize,maximize,orclose

thewindow.



Alt+-(Alt+hyphen)



DisplaystheMultipleDocumentInterface

(MDI)childwindow'sSystemmenu.From

theMDIchildwindow'sSystemmenu,you

canrestore,move,resize,minimize,

maximize,orclosethechildwindow.



Ctrl+Tab



SwitchestothenextchildwindowofaMDI

application.



Alt+
menu>

Alt+F4



Closesthecurrentwindow.



Ctrl+F4



ClosesthecurrentMDIwindow.



Alt+F6



Switchesbetweenmultiplewindowsinthe

sameprogram.Forexample,when

Notepad'sFinddialogboxisdisplayed,

Alt+F6switchesbetweentheFinddialog

boxandthemainNotepadwindow.



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Chapter 13.  Keyboards and Pointing Devices

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