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Transitioning from EZKeys to Keyboard Maps and Macros

Article ID: 124
Last updated: 03 Nov, 2015

The concept of EZKeys – recording one or more keystrokes and then playing back those recorded keystrokes via the spacebar plus one other key -- originated with a much different operating system than the one(s) we use today, back in pre-DOS and DOS-based Xscribe CAT products in the form of "Spacebar Commands" and in the form of "Magic Keys" in Premier Power.

EZKeys continued to work with a few minor issues up until Windows 2000, when the operating system ceased to support the concept of the spacebar as a key modifier and still worked to some extent through Windows XP but there are increasingly problematic issues that our engineers, superb within the confines of our software have no ability to address due to conditions present in the operating system.

EZKeys fail to work at all with Vista or higher when Microsoft's User Account Control security is turned on, which we recommend.  Therefore, Stenograph has been encouraging our customers for many years now to leave EZKeys behind and move to using Keyboard Maps and Macros instead, as they are 100% compatible, reliable and have the added benefit of NOT having to press and hold the spacebar (and save wear and tear on your thumbs).

How long does it take to learn of get used to?

It won’t take very long at all! Every Case CATalyst user who has expressed concern and reluctance to Stenograph about giving up the comfort and familiarity of their EZKeys and then made the change has universally reacted in the same way: they tell us that they were stunned to realize how easy it was, that it took virtually no time to become comfortable with Keyboard Maps and Macros, and NONE of them have ever expressed a desire to go backward and use EZKeys again. 

How to start the transition:

  1. Preparation: know which EZKeys you currently depend on.  Many EZKeys users have been using the EZKeys shortcuts for so long that they don’t even know what they press to cause a command to occur, it simply “happens.” Knowing which commands you need shortcuts for will make it faster and easier to create any necessary equivalents in your keyboard map.

    • Click Function, EZKeys (Alt-u, k) to open your current EZKeys toolbar.
    • Click the Open icon to open the EZKeys table.
    • Click the Print icon to print the contents of your EZKeys table.
    • Open a job in Edit, and try each one of these EZKeys, to confirm which ones you use when you edit and which ones you are not accustomed to using. (There’s no sense in worrying about re-creating shortcuts for commands you never use!)

  2. Set the "CAT4 kbd" command-style keyboard map to be your default keyboard map.   

    The CAT4 kbd keyboard map may already have many of the shortcuts that you are accustomed to using. All you’ll have to do to get started with these commands is press the key you used to press, only without the spacebar!

    In Version 9 and above:

    • From Manage Jobs, click Tools, Options, Edit, Advanced Edit (Alt+t, o, e, a).
    • Click Default Keyboard Map.
    • Click the down arrow next to Default Keyboard Map on the right side of the dialog.
    • Select CAT4 kbd from the list.
    • Click OK.

    In Version 8 or earlier:

    • In Manage Jobs, double left click the System Files case.
    • Double left click the UserSettings file.
    • Press Ctrl+f to open the Find dialog.
    • Type "[Key" and click Find.
    • Click Cancel to close the Find dialog box.
    • Press the Down arrow key once to move down to the "DefaultKeyboardMapFile=" line. Press End to position the cursor at the end of that line.
    • If the word “Default” appears after the = sign, delete Default (you can press the Backspace key to erase it). Type "CAT4 kbd" after the = sign. (NOTE: Make sure there is one space between CAT4 and kbd.)
    • Press Ctrl+s to save the changes to the file.
    • Click File, Close (Alt+f, c) to close the UserSettings file.

  3. Do an initial test to see what keys are already assigned to the commands you want and which keys are not.
    • Open a file in Edit.
    • Pressing only the key and NOT the Spacebar with the key, using your printed list of EZKeys, try each command, one at a time. For example, if you used to press Spacebar + i to move up one line, press i by itself and see if the cursor moves up one line. If you used to press Spacebar + f to Search, try pressing f by itself to see if it will search.
      Make a list of the keys that by themselves provide you with the expected results and which keys do something different than you expect. You may be pleasantly surprised to realize that most of your shortcuts are already available in CAT4 kbd!
  4. Assign preferred commands to keys. 
    • At the bottom of your screen, on the status bar, you will see Kbd map: CAT4 kbd. Double click CAT4 kbd. (Or, you can click File, Open, List/Table, Keyboard Map and then double click CAT4 kbd.)
    • Scroll down (either by using your down arrow or the scroll bar on the right side of the screen) to the first key on your list that did not perform the command you wanted.
    • When the key is highlighted, press Enter (Ctrl+m).
    • At the Assign Key to Function dialog box, select the command that you want the key to perform. You can scroll through the list or press Ctrl+f and then type the name of the command.
    • Click Assign. If prompted to replace a previous assignment, click Yes to replace the previous assignment. Then click Close.
    • Press Ctrl+s to save the changes to the CAT4 kbd keyboard map.
    • Click the tab of your job in Edit, and try the new key assignment.

      For example, let’s say that you’re accustomed to pressing Spacebar + n to open and view your vertical notes.  When you try pressing “n” in Edit, the cursor moved down a page. Therefore you open the CAT4 kbd keyboard map, scroll down to the “n” key, press Enter or Ctrl+m to modify it. 

      You select View Vertical Notes from the list of available commands.  Click Assign, click Yes to replace the original assignment, click Close, and then press Ctrl+s to save the changes. 

      You go back to your job in Edit and press “n.” This time, and for all future jobs, you are able to open and close your notes by pressing “n.”

      Repeat the above steps for each key that does not perform the command you want it to perform.
  5. Record and assign macros.

    You may have some EZKeys that performed multiple commands. For example, some EZKeys user would press Spacebar + x to save and then close the file in Edit. Whenever you want to perform multiple commands, you need to record a macro (very similar to recording an EZKey) and then assign that macro to the preferred key in your keyboard map.

    • Click Tools, Macro, Record (Alt+t, m, r).
    • Perform the commands you want in your macro. For example, let’s say you want to record commands to save the file and then close it. First, press Ctrl+S (or click File, Save, or click the Save button on the toolbar). Next, press Ctrl+F4 (or click File, Close or press Alt+f, c).
    • Click the STOP button in the Record Macro dialog (top, center of your screen.)
    • In the Save Macro dialog:

    In the File Name field, type a name for the macro. (For example, EDIT – save and close file. You may record macros for other functions, like Realtime or Manage Dictionary, so it’s a good idea to identify the function in which the macro will be used.)

    Select Assign after saving (Alt+a).

    Click Save.

    • At the Open Keyboard Map prompt, double click CAT4 kbd.
    • In the Assign Key to Function dialog box, the macro is already selected.  On the left side of that dialog, select the key you want to press in Edit.   Click the down arrow next to Key: and select a preferred key from the list (For example, select x.)  Then, decide whether you want to press the Key Only, or press Shift+ that key, Ctrl+ that key or Shift and Ctrl + that key to play back the commands in the macro.
    • Click Assign, and then click Close.
    • Press Ctrl+s to save the changes to the keyboard map.
    • Click the tab of your job in Edit, and try the new macro by pressing the key you assigned.
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