Working around a broken keyboard

So two of the keys on my Macbook Air decided to stop working, the comma and the period keys which also give you the lesser than and greater than symbols. I had to find a workaround to give me back those characters.

Thanks to TextExpander and Flycut I found that I can get away with the two broken keys without too much trouble at all. Let me explain how.

TextExpander allows you to define a “shortcut” that gets replaced by any text you like which they call a snippet. Snippets can be bunched together into a group. In my case I defined a single group containing four snippets. I decided that the easiest thing to remember would be the keys either side of the broken pair so now when I type ‘mmm’ I get a comma and ‘///‘ gets me a period, when I do the same with shift down I get the less than and greater than characters.

I then changed my usual setting for this particular group and set “Expand after” to any character.

The one problem with this solution is that TextExpander needs to use the clipboard so the last item on the clipboard will be one of the four characters quite a lot of the time. Enter Flycut.

Flycut us a marvellous free, open source utility that gives you access to more than just the last entry on your clipboard. It puts a menu on the right of the menu bar or you can access them with a pop up. So now when I need to paste something after using my TextExpander shortcut I just have to go to the Flycut menu.

It isn’t as convenient as having the two keys working but it does mean I can continue to use the computer.


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