Keyboard integration on MacBook Pro ... has flaws

Discussion in 'Parallels Desktop for Mac' started by Angelo Schneider, Aug 23, 2006.

  1. Angelo Schneider

    Angelo Schneider

    Messages:
    12
    Hm,

    I can't figure how tyo type a \ .... surprisinggly germen Umlauts like Ä,Ö,Ü work well.

    Why does the standard key shift + alt + 7, which generates a \ on a german Mac not work? Neither does alt + L work, which should generate a @.

    BTW: it would be col if I could configure that the command key is working as a controll key in Parallels, typing command C / ctrl V is still very confusing :-/

    And finally, what is the "alt gr" key? I can't figure that :-/

    Regards,
    Angelo
     
  2. tacit_one

    tacit_one Kilo Poster

    Messages:
    434
    Hello, Angelo!

    Please, make sure that you understand, that in windows your keyboad uses "windows" keyboard layout. Unfortunately, they are different between Mac and Win. This question used to be discussed a number of times - try to browse the forum.

    Or i didn't get your problem right ?

    Regards,
    Max.
     
  3. Olivier

    Olivier Kilo Poster

    Messages:
    610
    Max,

    This is exactly for this precise reason (people not immediately understanding why their keyboard works differently in windows than mac) that Parallels should add an alternative solution for keyboards (add an alternative, not change the current solution). Just doing scancodes transitions is not the best experience for people with no real prior windows experience and installing it on their new MacIntel through Parallels Desktop. The only thing people with non-US keyboard can do today is find a hand-made keyboard mapping on this forum or write one themselves. This is not an experience affordable by all users. And go try to use a french or belgian MacBook Pro and try to live without < > @ \ and with some other keys at locations differing from those printed on the keyboard. This experience is not worth spending 79 USD on it. You'll want to throw the laptop through the window within 1 or 2 days of trying to work.

    Like some other people, I built a windows custom keyboard mapping for my French/Belgian keyboard and I'm now quite happy with it. The key trick is to get the keyboard to react as close as possible as in Mac but in Windows. Then, you feel home when writing in the windows VM or in the Mac OS.

    When I'm in my Windows VM, ctrl is ctrl, alt is alt, and apple-key is windows-key. Thanks to Parallels scancode handling. Good basis. There is no way to interpret some Mac Key as the AltGr of a windows keyboard, but I don't care nor need it, since I want to compose characters the Mac way, not the windows way. Composing a € (euro) symbol on my french/belgian Mac keyboard in Mac OS X implies pressing alt - $, and this is printed on the keys so it is easy to remember. Using a PC French/belgian keyboard under Windows I would have to press AltGr - e. With my mapping, when in my Windows VM, I press ctrl - $ to get that € symbol, very close to what I'd use on the Mac. And this is *that* kind of mapping that most Mac users (using only windows as a secondary tool) will expect by default. Because this is the most natural way to constantly switch between Mac OS and Windows when your keyboard is a Mac keyboard. The only real issue is the 'alt' key which windows interprets as a very special key, activating menus, which can't then be easily re-used for things like alt-€. But at least, except for the modifier key position, the other keys are at the right place. It takes shift - alt - ( to type a '[' when in Mac, I use shift - ctrl - '[' when in the VM. That is the only concession made to the exact Mac keyboard map.

    Couldn't you imagine writing a single Windows keyboard driver specially crafted to be used inside the VM, so part of the VM Tools suite, that would get a copy of the current keyboard map of the host (at time of starting up the VM for instance) and would use that knowledge to auto implement the kind of mapping I described above? Somehow auto-inheriting the Mac keyboard map in Windows? I'm sure Linux users would love this too... As long as this would be an alternative way to the plain 'hardware' mapping you currently provide.

    I know and appreciate Parallels working on many other very interesting new future features. I support Parallels Desktop for Mac in every way I can. I use it many hours a day writing software. I have a personal not perfect but close to solution to my keyboard map issue, and I don't feel dissatisfied with the product because of that. But I just would hope that nobody at Parallels consider the keyboard support 'done'. It is __not__ done. All it does is make sure Windows will see the keyboard as a PC keyboard. Which brings the wrong keyboard experience to the user.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2006
  4. jriff

    jriff

    Messages:
    10
    How did you write your own keymapping? I use a danish keyboard, and I could REALLY use a custom map.
     
  5. Olivier

    Olivier Kilo Poster

    Messages:
    610
    You need to download one tool from Microsoft web site to allow you to (quite) easily build custom mappings. I don't have the url handy but searching through this forum for keywords like "keyboard" you should find easily previous posts regarding this.

    I'll use some time this sunday to wrap a post on my blog with download links. You'll of course have things to adjust for the danish keyboard.
     
  6. jriff

    jriff

    Messages:
    10
    I've tried it, but I can't seem to map the keys with alt depressed - that kind of makes it impossible to make something that works like the mac...?
     
  7. Olivier

    Olivier Kilo Poster

    Messages:
    610
    This is not a limitation of that tool.
    It is a limitation of Windows. Alt key is very special in Windows. Pressing it in any program will trigger the menu shortcuts. You can often see it when it underlines menu item at the time you press Alt.
    This is why I had to make a trade-off. I used "ctrl" instead of "alt" when defining character composition of things that use alt on the Mac. Works nicely. And I find it much easier to _only_ remember to move my finger 1 cm left to hit ctrl instead of alt than to remember special key sequences and positions for pretty much anything else. ;-)

    Example: backslash on my belgian mac keyboard is on 'shift - alt - :', inside the Windows VM I get it on 'shift - ctrl - :'. Though not identical, it is very easy to use. Much more than a Windows map while using a Mac keyboard, at least.
     
  8. Sirblackadder

    Sirblackadder

    Messages:
    16

    Hi Angelo,

    the answer to this last question is the exact solution to your problem. You have to understand two things about the keyboard layout in Windows guests:

    a) A Windows guest in Parallels expects the keyboard layout of a standard Microsoft keyboard

    b) "Alt Gr" on Windows machines is effectively identical to pressing Alt-Ctrl

    Hence, you'll get every special character by pressing Alt-Ctrl plus the standard Windows key. On german keyboards, the Backslash \ will come up with Alt-Ctrl-?. All other special keys like square brackets ( [, ] ) or the pipe | can be accessed the same way. Just press Alt-Ctrl as a substitution for the non-existent Alt Gr key.

    Bye, Malte.
     
  9. Victor

    Victor

    Messages:
    63
    Has anyone got a mapping for a German Apple kbd?

    IMHO This should be supplied by Parallels as a configuration option.
     
  10. Joe Bloggs

    Joe Bloggs

    Messages:
    25
  11. Victor

    Victor

    Messages:
    63
    I didnt say its flawed. I would like to see Parallels map the keyboard to the macs keyboard, at least for the major systems like XP and Linux. This mapping should alow you to se4lect what Apple keyboard you have, such as US/UK/German/French etc.
     
  12. dieterf

    dieterf

    Messages:
    17
    On Linux i cannot find keystrokes

    missing @ | [ ] { } \

    Where i can find them on a german keyboard inside prallels for Linux?
     

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