How to create a custom keyboard in Communicator 5

One can turn any pageset into a custom keyboard in Communicator 5.  Making a custom keyboard, however, may not be an easy task.  If possible you may want to edit one of the existing keyboards.  If that is not possible, you may want to reference one of the existing keyboards as you create your own. 

When you open one of the existing keyboards in edit view you will notice there are many pages in the pageset.  Take the Regular keyboard for instance.  The first five pages in the Page List are dedicated for speech output.  The first page contains letters, second page for editing, and the third, fourth, and fifth pages for scientific calculation symbols.  On the bottom of the first page are smart buttons that change the keyboard letters from lower case to upper case or numbers.  If your custom pageset does not contain smart button type keys (such as the ones marked with an X in edit view) then you will need to create your own separate upper case and number pages in the pageset.

The sixth page in the Regular keyboard is for inputting numbers such as phone numbers.

The seventh, eighth, and ninth pages in the Regular keyboard are Multi-line input pages.  These pages are used for actions such as typing the body of an email or creating a document.  They are typically not spoken but rather used as input which is why you see the teal and red keyboard buttons at the bottom of those pages (red signifying cancel and teal signifying OK).

The tenth page in the Regular pageset is for inputing email addresses and web addresses.  This page does not use autocorrect to add a space after the period so that email addresses and web addresses can be typed.

The twelfth and thirteenth pages are similar to the 7th, 8th, and 9th pages in that they are input pages however these pages only allow for a single line of input.  These pages would be used for the subject line of an email for instance.

You may ask why all of this is important?  To designate this pageset as a keyboard you will need to follow the steps below...

  1. Once the pageset is completed and saved, select File from the menubar and choose Page Set Properties...
  2. Select the Page Set Type tab.
  3. Next to Page Set Type select Communicator Keyboard (if this keyboard will be used within Communicator) or Windows Keyboard (if this keyboard will be used as an onscreen keyboard).
  4. Assuming you are creating a Communicator keyboard please select Change... under Speech output page (First Page) if you wish to choose a different page in the pageset for the user to use to communicate.
  5. Select Change... next to Single-line input page to select to page in the pageset that will be used for single-line input (like the 12th and 13th pages in the Regular keyboard).
  6. Select Change... next to the Multi-line input page to select the page in the pageset that will be used for multiple line input (like the 7th, 8th, and 9th pages in the Regular keyboard).
  7. Select Change... next to the E-mail & Web input page to select the page in your pageset that will be used to input email and web addresses.
  8. Select Change... next to the Numbers input page to select the page in your pageset that will be used to input phone numbers.
  9. Save the pageset.
If you do not set up a page for each of these categories you will not have a keyboard to use if you use the email or SMS pagesets for instance.  It is important to have a keyboard designed for each of the user's needs.

Once the pageset is completed and saved you will need to select your custom keyboard as the default in Communicator.  
  1. To do so, open Advanced Settings and choose the Keyboards & Language tab.
  2. Choose Keyboard Settings
  3. Under the Keyboard Layout tab, select your custom keyboard.
  4. Select the Choose Keyboard button.
  5. Select the X button and close out of Advanced Settings.
You should now be able to use your custom keyboard as the default in Communicator.

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