Using the keyboard
Keyboards are used differently depending on purpose, which can be text input, navigation, editing, shortcuts and other functions.
For text input what is being typed is determined by a combination of physical layout, logical layout input method, capslock state, numlock state, shift state, key pause and repeat intervals. Since all this is very complex and involves various user settings, this is entirely serviced by OS: we just get an event with one or more unicode code points representing what is being typed.
For navigation the physical location of the keys matters. WASD games use keys normally used for text input (thus layout-dependent) for the purpose of navigation, so there needs to be a way to identify character and punctuation keys based on their physical positon on the standard US keyboard regerdless of the keyboard's actual layout. This also creates the need to get the keycap name for those keys. Games also want to ignore the numlock and capslock states, and may want to distinguish between left and right modifier keys.
Editing keys (Tab, Enter), as well as function, control and modifier keys are universal, but not all of them are available between PC, Mac and laptop keyboards.
Shortcuts involving character and punctuation keys must use layout-dependent keys so there needs to be a way to query the pressed state of character and punctuation keys based on the the current layout. Most shortcuts don't distinguish between left and right modifiers but some do.
For shortcuts there's also the issue of certain key combinations being used by the OS and what these are is different beteween Windows, OSX and Linux so care must be taken not to use those. And then there's cultural differences that need to be accounted for like how Windows' Ctrl+C needs to be Command+C on a Mac.
key vkeys comments
; US keyboard
/ US keyboard
` US keyboard
[ US keyboard
\\ US keyboard
] US keyboard
' US keyboard
F11 taken on Mac (show desktop)
F12 taken on Mac (show dashboard)
F13 OSX only
F14 OSX only; taken (brightness down)
F15 OSX only; taken (brightness up)
F16 Mac keyboard
F17 Mac keyboard
F18 Mac keyboard
F19 Mac keyboard
capslock no key-up timing on OSX
numlock Windows only; light always off on OSX
printscreen Windows only; taken (screen capture)
scrolllock Windows only
break Windows only
numclear separate key on Mac keyboard
lwin Windows only
rwin Windows only
menu Windows keyboard
num= OSX only
ctrl lctrl rctrl
alt lalt ralt
command lcommand rcommand OSX only
left left! numleft num... variants are Windows only
up up! numup
right right! numright
down down! numdown
pageup pageup! numpageup
pagedown pagedown! numpagedown
end end! numend
home home! numhome
insert insert! numinsert
delete delete! numdelete
enter enter! numenter
help OSX only; no keydown event
Note: ctrl+numlock doesn't change the numlock state. Same with ctrl+scrolllock.
Windows keyboards can be used on OSX and Mac keyboards can be used on Windows. Each OS will try to simulate its own keyboard on the foreign keyboard. For example, the numlock key on the Windows keyboard is mapped to numclear in OSX, because that's where the typical Mac user expects numclear to be, regardless of what is written on the key cap.
Here's how the mappings go:
Windows keyboard on OSX
Windows keyboard key on OSX
Mac keyboard on Windows
If you have a Mac keyboard on a Windows box, please fill these up.
Mac keyboard key on Windows
13 months ago
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