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Use Keyboard Viewer to work around broken keys Other Hardware
Recently a friend shared a beer with his Macbook Pro, which resulted in a dead Down Arrow key. One way to work around such a problem is to enable Keyboard Viewer (System Preferences » International » Input Menu) and use it to click the dead key instead.

The viewer can be toggled on/off from the menu bar if Show input menu in menu bar is also checked. Apparently Apple charges quite a lot for a repair involving a liquid spill, so if the broken key is not a frequently-used alphabet or punctuation key, perhaps this is a viable solution for users in this situation. It isn't the keyboard viewer's intended purpose but it works.

[robg adds: If you were going to do this for any length of time, you might also want to use this hint, which lets you toggle the viewer off and on via an AppleScript.]
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Use Keyboard Viewer to work around broken keys
Authored by: operator207 on Apr 24, '09 08:17:28AM

Good hint and all, but the scenario you bring us into, begs the question. He has enough money to buy a MBP, but not enough to get a new keyboard when he spills his beer on his keyboard? (remember folks, don't drink and drive, accidents cause hardware failure)



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Use Keyboard Viewer to work around broken keys
Authored by: vasiliki on Apr 24, '09 08:55:37AM

Hey, accidents happen! Apple asked for something in the order of $1,200 to fix it which is a silly amount for a key. One can possibly get a keyboard for cheap and replace it at home with some effort (I don't think the MBP keyboard is as easy to swap as older models) but in the meantime... the keyboard viewer works.



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Use Keyboard Viewer to work around broken keys
Authored by: powderhound on Apr 24, '09 09:55:45AM

That does not make sense.

I just had my keyboard replaced on my MacBook Pro, and it cost ~ $160: about half for labor and half for the keyboard.



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Use Keyboard Viewer to work around broken keys
Authored by: tbolioli on Apr 24, '09 11:16:33AM

Once you say it was a liquid that spilled on it, they balk and say it needs a level 4 repair which is $1280. I am sure he could try to go to another apple store and hide the liquid spill from them and get the $160 repair.



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Use Keyboard Viewer to work around broken keys
Authored by: vasiliki on Apr 24, '09 11:27:00AM

They told my friend that because the damage involves a liquid spill it will cost more. Perhaps Apple assumes the responsibility of checking the laptop for further liquid damage when they quote that price (what if the key is dead because some other internal connection is messed up for example). Either way, while one ponders all this and compares prices, one can still have the function of the key via Keyboard Viewer. Let's move away from the particular cirumstance, I'm already going to get hell from my friend for mentioning the beer! Focus on the hint. What if you're on a desert island and one of your keys dies? Remember to use your buddy the Keyboard Viewer. It won't revolutionize your Mac experience but it'll keep you going. Thanks for the price quote though, hopefully if he stays quiet on how the key died he can get a cheaper replacement like you did. Shhhh...



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Use Keyboard Viewer to work around broken keys
Authored by: mark hunte on Apr 24, '09 11:39:10AM
You can use a free Hotkey app like Spark (3.0b9) to do this.
Open Keyboard Viewer.
Open Spark.
    In Spark:

Double click the Text/Keyboard Hotkey group to start a new Hotkey.
Click the Keystroke tab.
Give it a name:Down Arrow
Give it a Short cut: in this case crt+shift+up arrow(or what ever you want)
Click the Record Button.

    In Keyboard Viewer.

Click the: Down Arrow Button.

    In Spark
:
You will see the arrow icon appear in the Recording.
Click:stop
Click create.

Your done
Quit Spark
Close the Keyboard Viewer.

Try out your HotKey.

---
mh

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Use Keyboard Viewer to work around broken keys
Authored by: mark hunte on Apr 24, '09 11:43:27AM
Ok That Link to Spark does not work.

http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/macosx/22675


P.S
Anyone know how to use the link: tag ??
Thanks

---
mh

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Use Keyboard Viewer to work around broken keys
Authored by: auco on Apr 24, '09 02:34:30PM
I recommend Ukelele to edit the keyboard layout. This way you can remap the non-working key to any other less frequently used key. Keyboard layouts generated with Ukelele can simply be added to ~/Library/Keyboard Layouts
Seems a bit easier than using the keyboard viewer ;-)
http://scripts.sil.org/cms/scripts/page.php?site_id=nrsi&item_id=ukelele

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Use Keyboard Viewer to work around broken keys
Authored by: randydarden on Apr 24, '09 07:34:02PM

I have also used the Keyboard Viewer to work around an occasional VNC problem: my Mac, accessed remotely, will sometimes become convinced that the option key is being held down. With no way to toggle it through the VNC client I use, the Keyboard Viewer allows me to click on the option key to toggle its state.



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Use Keyboard Viewer to work around broken keys
Authored by: encro on Apr 25, '09 09:41:40PM
A cocoa version to open the Keyboard Viewer: [link:]http://www.encropowered.com/viewers/KeyboardViewer.zip [4KB]

	[[NSWorkspace sharedWorkspace] launchAppWithBundleIdentifier:@"com.apple.KeyboardViewerServer"
                                                             options:NSWorkspaceLaunchAsync
				      additionalEventParamDescriptor:nil
                                                    launchIdentifier:nil];

---
Steve

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Use Keyboard Viewer to work around broken keys
Authored by: atchius on May 17, '09 06:45:50PM

Just had an interesting problem where I was keyboardless (I use the Bluetooth keyboard with my iMac, but the batteries were dead and I wasn't in a situation to get new ones). I was able to use the Keyboard Viewer, but wasn't able to connect to the internet, because my campus requires 802.11x authentication and you can't use the Keyboard Viewer in a password field, apparently.

Any suggestions for next time?



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