Augmentative Communication Solutions
E Z Keys for Windows
Training Guide — Morse Code Users
** To enter programming menu’s, push Control M. From the programming menu, you can select an INPUT method (keyboard, scanning, or morse code) and adjust the settings to customize the program. Select “Run” at the top of the screen when finished. To close the program, select “Exit” from the programming menu.
Note: The keyboard is still fully accessible while E Z Keys is set to Morse code.
Speed Keys: While in E Z Keys programming windows, you can simply enter the code for an underlined letter to select that button (in most programs, you have to use the alt key before selecting the underlined letter). In some E Z Keys programming windows where you might need to enter text rather than make a selection, you will need to use the alt key first. Look for the key symbol in the status bar to indicate when speed keys are available.
Morse Code Settings: Settings can be adjusted by going to the main menu and selecting “INPUT”. You must select either one, two or three switch morse code.
>>One switch: allows computer access with a single switch, however requires highly controlled motor movements. User briefly activates switch for a “dit” and holds it longer for a “dah”. This is also called “tonal-shift” morse entry because the initial tone is the “dit” sound which shifts to the “dah” tone when the switch is closed long enough.
>>Two switch: allows operation of computer with any binary, oppositional movement of the body, i.e. sip/puff, left/right, up/down, etc… Most users with physical disabilities find the two switch mode to be most comfortable. When a series of dots or dashes are needed (ie four dits for “h” or five dahs for “0”, you can simply hold the switch down and count the number of dits or dahs. You do not have to press and release the switch each time. When fatigue and endurance are a factor, it helps to have more than one control site for the user to operate.
>>Note: Morse code is a variable length series of dots and dashes (dits and dahs). In order for the computer to know when you have finished entering your series, a space is needed between each series. This space is called the “character time”. It is the length of time the computer will wait after you stop sending dots and dashes before it will translate the code. If you send another dot or dash before the character time expires, the timer is reset. The character time can be adjusted to allow the user more time to enter their series, however, if the user is unable to consistently sequence the switch hits under time pressure, or for a new user who is just learning the timing of the switch movements, a feasible alternative is three switch morse entry.
>>Three switch: Morse code is entered via two switches as above, plus a third switch to “enter” the code when the user has finished the dit-dah series. This removes the time pressure by eliminating the character time. For a new user who may not have adequate motor control to operate a third switch, try having an assistant operate the third switch. This will allow the user to experience some success, and as they get better at code entry, you can move into two switch operation.
Customizing Code Settings: The length and rate of the dits and dahs can be individually controlled to either slow down or speed up the rate of code entry. Accidental switch hits can be filtered out by adjusting the accept and release times. Character time can be increased to provide more time to enter the code. By fine tuning these settings, even people with severe motor control impairments can be successful at entering morse code.
For persons with low or high frequency hearing loss, or if there are multiple morse code users in a single room, the frequency of the tones can also be adjusted. The tones can also be turned off by clicking the “morse feedback” button. If louder tones are needed, go to the menu, select “System” then “sounds” and turn on the alternative morse tones.
E Z Keys Program Features:
Control T toggles you in/out of the Side Talk Menu.
Use Side Talk for conversation, use of Instant Phrases, and giving speeches/presentations using Reader.
Status Bar: The blue box contains your status bar, and word prediction list. The status bar is the top row. It will tell you when a command key is activated, as follows:
= shift C = caps lock = speed keys on
^ = control S = scroll lock * = features on
A = alternate N = number lock
If the character is underlined, that means the key is locked on. To unlock it simply activate the key again. Activating the key once causes it to appear in the status bar. That command will affect the next keystroke only. Activating the key twice will lock it on, and a third time will turn it off.
Word Prediction: To select an item from the word prediction list, simply enter the code for the corresponding number. If you want to select the actual number, and not the word from the word prediction list, enter CONTROL X after you enter the number. You can now enter a series of numbers, but if you use any sort of seperator between numbers (ie space, hyphen, period, etc…) you will have to select control x again after you enter the next number. If you will be entering a series of numbers with seperators between them, you can temporarily turn the word prediction feature off . CONTROL F toggles the features on/off. (See discussion below regarding HOT KEYS.)
E Z Keys will also provide automatic word endings. Just select the hyphen key to view the list. Selecting the hyphen key again will display a second set of word endings. To make use of word endings even faster, you can also use number 7, 8, 9, and 0 to get word endings -ed, -er, -ing, and -s respectively.
If you would like, E Z Keys will read the word box to you outloud. Just enter CONTROL W.
Word prediction learns from the user. If the user is a poor speller, or makes many mistakes, you might want to turn this auto learning feature off. Go to the main menu, select “WORDS” then “SETTINGS” to adjust the features.
If you want to change the size, appearance, or number of words in the word prediction box, go to the main menu, select “DESIGN” then “WORD BOX DESIGN”.
Moving The Word Prediction Box: Activate ctrl-alt-1 move to upper left
ctrl-alt-2 move to upper right
ctrl-alt-3 move to lower left
ctrl-alt-4 move to lower right
SIDE TALK: Enter text into the side talk window. Each time you select “enter” the computer will speak the message. Use the codes for the function keys to select INSTANT PHRASES. Instant phrases is organized into categories and subcategories. You can program your own phrases and save them in different files (see Quick Start Guide). Use READER to give a presentation. Create the presentation using a word processor (save with a .txt file extension). Select “ALT D” for READER then “ALT L” for LOAD then select your file. Each time you select enter the computer will speak one sentence. Use the arrow codes to skip forwards or backwards in the document. (SEE QUICK START GUIDE FOR FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS).
To change the font size of side talk, instant phrases, or reader go to the main menu and select “DESIGN” then “SIDE TALK”. After making your changes, use CONTROL T to toggle out of side talk, then back into it again to see your changes take effect.
Abbreviation-Expansion: The program comes with several abbreviations already programmed, and you can add your own for things you need to say often. Go to the programming menu (Control M), then “ABREVIATIONS” and follow the on-screen instructions. Abbreviations can be spoken, or written, depending upon how you want to use them. An abbreviation should never be the same as the beginning of a word. If you type an abbreviation such as “asap” and you don’t want it expanded to “as soon as possible”, simply enter “CONTROL X” to unexpand the abbreviation. “CONTROL X” is the command to either expand or unexpand an abbreviation, it toggles back and forth (see discussion below regarding “HOT KEYS”).
One special type of written abbreviation is the MACRO. Macro’s can save you lots of time and energy by creating shortcuts for common tasks on the computer, and can help someone who is unfamiliar with the computer to do things easier. For example, depending upon what type of word processing program you are using, there are several steps required to save a document with a .txt extension for use with READER. You could program these steps into a macro with an abbreviation such as “svr” for “save for reader.” For someone who is visually impaired, it may be helpful to copy e-mail into a word processor, save it as a text file, then open it in reader so that E Z Keys can read their mail to them. This entire sequence can be programmed into a macro.
Programming Macro’s: The first step is to write down all of the keystroke’s necessary to accomplish the task. You must use the keyboard only, not the mouse. It helps to have a thorough working knowledge of the keystroke commands for Windows and the software programs with which you are working. Go to the “ABBREVIATIONS” menu, click “add”, then click “MACRO ON”. Enter your keystrokes exactly as you have written them. Click “MACRO OFF” then “FINISHED”. When you are done, try the abbreviation and make sure it works correctly.
For example, the Windows keystrokes to toggle between open programs is alt tab. In the above example of saving e-mail as a text file to open in READER, if the user opens the word processor (in this example, the word processor is Microsoft Works) before going online to retrieve their mail, and does not have any other programs running at the same time, the following sequence of commands will select all of the text, copy the text, paste it into the word processor, and bring up the save file window with the .txt extension already set and ready for them to name the file. The keyboard commands are as follows: “CTRL A” to select all the text; “CTRL C” to copy the text; “ALT TAB” to change to the word processor, “CTRL V” to paste the text, “CTRL S” to save, “TAB” to move to the “file type” box, “DOWN” four times to select “text file”, then “TAB” seven times to go back to the title box. If all of the above steps are programmed into an abbreviation such as “rr” (read in reader), the user can type “rr” then enter the name s/he wants to title the file, and select “enter” to save the file. Then the user simply goes into SIDE TALK, opens READER and loads the file.
If you don’t want to save each e-mail file separately, you could program the name of the file into the macro and simply have it overwrite the file each time you open a new e-mail, and save the user more steps in reading their mail. In this case, you could program all the steps of the macro so that typing “rr” automatically brings them directly into reader with their file already loaded. To save even more steps, the word processor could also be put in the startup folder so they don’t have to open anything.
HOT KEYS: From the input menu, in the bottom right corner, you can select the HOT KEYS menu. This will allow you to customize and change the hot key commands.
The default hot keys are as follows:
CTRL M = main menu CTRL T = side talk CTRL X = expand/unexpand
CTRL F = features on/off CTRL W = speak word box CTRL Q = mouse keys
CTRL E = environmental control (you must have purchased the ECU hardware)
The commands to move the word prediction box are also represented in the hot keys menu as follows:
ctrl-alt-1 move to upper left
ctrl-alt-2 move to upper right
ctrl-alt-3 move to lower left
ctrl-alt-4 mover to lower right
A problem occurs when the E Z Keys hot key command is the same as the command in another program. For example, in E Z Keys, CONTROL X is the default hot key for expand/unexpand which allows you to enter numbers, or to unexpand an abbreviation. This same command is used in word processing programs to cut selected text. Therefore you might want to change the E Z Keys hot key to CONTROL ALT X, or change it to another letter such as CONTROL N for numbers.
The “VOICE” menu allows you to select the user voice, auditory feedback options (“ECHOES”), and correct words the computer mispronounces (“EXCEPTIONS”). If you are having problems with your voice, go to the “USER VOICE” and make sure you have the correct synthesizer selected (for most users this will be SAPI or Eloquence). Make sure your Micro CommPac or speaker system is turned on. If the battery on the Micro CommPac is dead, simply unplug it from the headphone jack and use the computer speakers.
Auditory feedback can be selected from the “ECHOES” menu. The computer can speak each letter, word, or sentence as it is written. This is useful if auditory feedback is desired while doing word processing (otherwise you only get voice output while in sidetalk), and if the user needs immediate feedback to alert him/her to mistakes as they are made. Echoing each character is especially helpful to new Morse Code users, so they can hear each letter as they enter it.
The feedback voice is used to provide auditory input back to the user. If you have selected any “ECHOES”, they will be spoken using the feedback voice. It is generally helpful to set the feedback voice to a different gender than the user voice, so that it is easy to tell the difference between the user speaking a message to a listener, and the computer giving feedback to the user.
If the computer is mispronouncing words, go to the “VOICE” menu and select “EXCEPTIONS”. Press the insert key on the computer keyboard, then enter the correct spelling of the word, and the phonetic spelling.
Mouse Functions: E Z Keys provides Morse codes for complete mouse emulation using the radar mouse features. You must first tell the computer you want to enter mouse mode by entering “dah-dah-di-di-di-dit” (_ _ ….). The mouse symbol will appear in the status bar while you are in mouse mode. To exit mouse mode, enter the escape code “di-di-dah-di-dit” (.._..).
Radar mouse provides a ray that sweeps in a circle (either to the left or right, depending on the code you enter). To stop the ray, hit either switch one time. An arrow will then move along that line, hit either switch to stop the arrow when it gets to the target.
Crosshair mouse provides a horizontal line which moves either up or down the screen. Hit either switch once to stop the line. An arrow then moves across the line. Hit either switch again to stop the arrow when it gets to the target.
If you are close to, but not right on the target, use the micro (small) mouse movements to move the arrow onto the target (see code chart).
You can then use the codes to perform button functions such as click, double click, and drag.
From the programming menu you can adjust the speed of the mouse, and turn the sound effects on or off. Just enter CONTROL M for menu, then “M” for MOUSE.
Multiple Users: If there are several people sharing a computer system, it helps to set up individual user files for each person. From the main menu, go to the file menu, then select USER, then either NEW USER to add a new person, or LOAD USER to change the user. You should also periodically backup your user file!!!
E Z Keys Troubleshooting
If the program doesn’t appear to be working right,
or isn’t doing what you expected, first
CHECK YOUR STATUS BAR
CHECK YOUR FOCUS!!!
Common problems typically involve having a control or alt key activated, which prevents the computer from entering text in the expected manner. Always check your status bar first!!
In Windows, the program that has the focus has a blue title bar. If you are having trouble, make sure your focus is in the right place, and that your cursor (text insertion point) is flashing.
Within command windows, a dotted rectangular box will appear around the command that has the focus. If you hit enter, whichever command has the focus will be activated.