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Old 12-02-2011, 08:22 PM   #1
solarbanjo
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How to map android keys to your usb/bluetooth keyboard

I couldn’t tell if this was covered in another post, so I thought I would pass it on.

If you are using an external keyboard (via Bluetooth or usb), you may find that certain basic android key events (home, back and menu) are either missing or not logical. In my case, my Bluetooth keyboard had no way to return home or open menus for apps, requiring me to use both the edge hardware keys as well as the keyboard. To address this, you can try the following:

NOTE: While this worked for me, I can’t guarantee results for other keyboards. And, as always, back up files before making any changes.

Before you start, here are some helpful tools/links:
  • Android keymaps overview and handy tool – Within this site is a handy tool called “KeyTest” It is a very simple android app that helps you find what number corresponds to a given key on the keyboard.
  • Android keycodes – This page lists all the common android events that can be attached to a key. We are only going to look at the ones starting with “KEYCODE_”
  1. Ensure your edge is rooted
  2. Install the KeyTest apk file
  3. Using your favorite file explorer (e.g. Root Explorer), go to /system/usr/keylayout
  4. Back up the file “qwerty.kl” This is the document that contains the default mapping of keys to android functions.
  5. Hook up your keyboard and make sure it is working
  6. Run the KeyTest app – Every time you press a key on the keyboard (or one of the hardware keys on the lcd) the screen will update with Keycode (a number that relates to the Android action) and a scancode (the number that represents the key you actually pressed on the keyboard). Decide what keys you would like to use and jot down the scancode. You can use ctrl and fn keys in combination with other keys to get more unique scancodes.
  7. Once you know the numbers (scancodes) for the keys you want to map, open up the qwerty.kl file with any convenient text editor. You will quickly see the general format for an entry – the word “key” followed by the number (scancode)* for the key followed by the android event in all caps. For example,

key 165 HOME
On my keyboard, this would mean that hitting fn + F7 (which generates a scancode of 165) will do the same as hitting the "home" key.


8. Save your modified “qwerty.kl” file in the same location as it was (/system/usr/keylayout) and reboot.

If all goes well, the next time you connect your keyboard you should be able to finally access all those important functions with logical (at least to you) keys.

*NOTE: You cannot use the same scancode number more than once!! If you do, your external keyboard will stop responding. Your edge software keyboard should work fine, so you should be able to recover your backup file and fix it.

Also, you can generally only map keys to normal keyboard activities (like DEL) or events that the edge has hardware keys for (MENU, BACK, HOME, SEARCH, VOLUME_UP , VOLUME_DOWN and the DPAD directions). While it would be nice to map a keystroke to automatically open email or the camera, those types of mappings do not appear to actually end up doing anything. As long as you have a backup you can probably play around without serious consequences.
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Old 12-03-2011, 03:32 AM   #2
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Thank you for taking the time to write this out so clearly, Solarbanjo!
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Old 12-03-2011, 11:27 AM   #3
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Just finished trying it. Success! This was a big pain for me when using keyboards in general. Especially since it seems the default mapped "back" key (Escape) is not a true "back" command.
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Old 12-05-2011, 11:41 PM   #4
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I found a cheap with touchpad which works fine with out edge.
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Point-882T...item27beb4ddcd
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Old 01-10-2012, 09:37 PM   #5
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Hi there! Greetings to my ol' companions from the original forum, I see some of you are still very active here. Glad to see it. :-)

As every non english user I have troubles using external keyboards with both edge & pocket: every key will appear as if it's from the english layout keyboard.

Thanks to this post I understood I'd need to change the mapping, but like stated here:
forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1336114

there seems to be no need to have a rooted device, or at least I hope so, because I would like to minimize every risk with my loved devices, I have no time and skills to go trial and error with Android. WHAT DO YOU THINK of this tutorial? Do you agree on what's told there?

Also I dont understand how comes that no one fixes this problem with generic android devices. Are there so few non english androd users, who use external keyboards?

Thanks!
Lor
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Old 01-19-2012, 09:03 PM   #6
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I just wanted to say thank you VERY much for taking the time to present this simply and concisely. The information you laid out here was exactly what I was looking for and my newly mapped keys are already working brilliantly - I'm zipping around my device like a champ now thanks to you.

fjell

One more quick note to the OP: Everything was exactly for me as you said it was apart from one thing: the combination of ALT and SHIFT keys in the KeyTest program. In my case, when I press the SHIFT key I get a number, say 58, and when I press G, I get another number, say, 40, but when I press them combined, I still only get either 58 or 40, not some unique combined scancode which I can use for custom mapping. Thx.

p.s. Does anyone know of Keycodes for either a) opening the App Drawer, b) opening the notification window, or c) Select All (copy and paste work fine for me but not select all)

Last edited by fjell_strom; 01-19-2012 at 09:31 PM.
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Old 01-19-2012, 09:08 PM   #7
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@loren - btw - I am using a non-English (in fact it's German qwertz) Bluetooth keyboard and have mapped all keys myself. It is a long, painful process, but I can tell you, once you've done it, it's a dream come true. I don't have time to go into it in complete detail, but changing single letters or symbols on your keyboard for others is actually done in .kcm files and not the .kl files mentioned by the original poster of this thread.
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Old 01-19-2012, 09:28 PM   #8
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double post

Last edited by fjell_strom; 01-19-2012 at 09:33 PM.
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Old 01-20-2012, 09:19 PM   #9
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Lookie the cool tiny bluetooth keyboard I got on ebay for just a few bucks. Wouldn't connect to my PE, that is, until I discovered Teksoft Blueinput driver. Now it mostly works great, thanks for the info on remapping a few unused keys into something useful.





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Old 01-27-2012, 02:41 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fjell_strom View Post
@loren - btw - I am using a non-English (in fact it's German qwertz) Bluetooth keyboard and have mapped all keys myself. It is a long, painful process, but I can tell you, once you've done it, it's a dream come true. I don't have time to go into it in complete detail, but changing single letters or symbols on your keyboard for others is actually done in .kcm files and not the .kl files mentioned by the original poster of this thread.

Thank you very much for the info Sir.

Unfortunately at present I do not have the time to do the same for my language, I'm so surprised I coudlnt' find ready remaps around, like if android tablet users do not really use external keyboards.
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Old 01-28-2012, 09:56 PM   #11
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Since I have no use for the comma or period keys so i think it would be neat to remap the comma to be the "fixin' to" key and have the period remapped to type "y'all" so whatcha think
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Old 01-29-2012, 02:32 AM   #12
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I think y'all are fixin' to make a big ole mess!

I'd love to see you use your newly remapped keys in a paragraph!
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Old 01-30-2012, 10:05 PM   #13
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An update on my teeny weenie keyboard .. when my PE goes into hibernation, I have to reconnect the KB, easily done .. just hit that KB icon, bottom left of screen and rescan. It remembers the BT pin, so it will connect right quickly. It's either the PE or Android hibernation, not sure which.

Incidentally, found it quite easy to change input devices, just a long touch in the text entry window and you can choose any of the onscreen keyboards or BT device or even a USB KB if one is plugged in. Quite simple.

Alan
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