KeyTouch: Regain The Full Functionality Of Your Keyboard

It can be very frustrating to buy a brand new keyboard with tons of function keys only to find out that your Linux OS does not support them. Although your keyboard package might come with a CD-ROM that contains the configuration software, it is most likely to be Windows-based and there is no way you can get it to load in Linux.

KeyTouch is the solution to this problem. It allows you to easily configure the extra function keys of your keyboard and define for every individual function key what to do when it is pressed.

While there are applications in both KDE and GNOME that allow you to bind actions to extra function keys, they require you to edit some configuration files. What KeyTouch has done is to simplify the process and makes it easy to use.

Installing KeyTouch

If you are using Ubuntu Hardy, KeyTouch is already included in the repository. Open up the terminal (Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal) and type

sudo apt-get install keytouch

Alternatively, go to System->Administration->Synaptic Package Manager and search for Keytouch. Check the box beside it and click Apply.

For other Linux distro, go to http://keytouch.sourceforge.net/dl-keytouch.php to download the installer package.

Configuring the Function keys

The first time you run KeyTouch, it will ask you to select the keyboard that you are using. Select your keyboard from the list and click the “OK” button. (If you can’t find your keyboard on the list, follow the instruction here)

keytouch1

After choosing the keyboard, KeyTouch will restart and load the main configuration window. The first tab you will see is the Key Setting. This is where you configure the action for each function key.

keytouch2

On the left, click on the key that you want to edit. On the right, select the action that you want it to perform. You can get it to perform its default setting (if there is any), open a program or to run a specific action from the plugin list.

The second tab is the Keyboard. This section shows the keyboard that you have selected previously. If you want to change the keyboard, you can just click ‘Change‘.

keytouch3

The third tab is the Preferences. This is where you can see all the available plugins and also some basic user setting. You will find that nothing happens when you click the ‘Download‘ button. This is because the path to the browser has not been set. Click the ‘Choose‘ button beside the Internet Browser field. Choose the default browser and click OK. Once you have done that, clicking the ‘Download‘ button will open up the browser and bring you to the KeyTouch plugin page.

keytouch-preferences


What happens if I can’t find my keyboard in the list?

There are two solutions to this:

1) Go to http://keytouch.sourceforge.net/dl-keyboards.php and search for the keyboard file for your keyboard. Download the keyboard file to your desktop. In the KeyTouch keyboard selection window, click ‘Import‘ and select the keyboard file that you have downloaded.

2) If you can’t find the keyboard file in the KeyTouch website, you can create your own keyboard file using the KeyTouch Editor.

For Ubuntu, in your terminal, type

sudo apt-get install keytouch-editor

For other Linux distro, go to http://keytouch.sourceforge.net/dl-keytouch-editor.php to download the respective installer package.

Still in your terminal, type

sudo modprobe evdev
sudo keytouch-editor

A window will appear to show a list of all your input devices. Scroll down to look for your keyboard entry. Once you found it, highlight it and click OK.

keytouch-editor

A small dialog box will pop up to prompt you to press a function key. This allows the KeyTouch editor to detect whether the entry you selected is correct.

keytouch-editor2

In the next window, you can enter the detail of your keyboard such as the Manufacturer and Model. On the bottom left pane, click ‘New‘ to add a function key. Once added, you will be able to define its action on the right pane.

keytouch-editor3

When you are done with the editing, go to File->Save As and save the keyboard file on your desktop. Close the keytouch-editor.

Open your KeyTouch and import the keyboard file. You will be able to edit your keyboard function key now.