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xvkbd - virtual keyboard for X window system

[ English | Japanese ]

xvkbd is a virtual (graphical) keyboard program for X Window System which provides facility to enter characters onto other clients (softwares) by clicking on a keyboard displayed on the screen. This may be used for systems without a hardware keyboard such as kiosk terminals or handheld devices. This program also has facility to send characters specified as the command line option to another client.

Screenshot of xvkbd

The standard keyboard layout is based on the traditional US layout, but some other keyboard layout (see "Screen Shot") are also supported. The default window size may be too large for systems with small screen, but it can be configured to use smaller space (220x90 pixels, for example). For details, see also "Screen Shot" and "How to Customize xvkbd" below, and resouce files in the distribution.

xvkbd version 2.1 and later support word completion, which may make it easier to enter long words with xvkbd.

IMPORTANT NOTE: When invoking xvkbd from display managers such as XDM, GDM, etc., always use xvkbd with -secure option or you will have serious security risk.



Environment

xvkbd will work on X11R5 or X11R6. It is tested on redhat Linux and Solaris, and it will work also on most UNIX-like systems.

This program uses Xaw (use of Xaw3d is recommended) and no special library is required.


Operation

Input Keys

When xvkbd is started, the image of a keyboard will be displayed on the screen. Clicking any key on the xvkbd window will send the character to the focused window as if the key had been actually typed with the hardware keyboard.

If you want to input upper-case alphabets or other characters on the upper position on the keyboard, you should click the key after selecting Shift by clicking it, or click the key with mouse button 3 (maybe right button) or mouse button 4. In the similar manner, if you want to input Controled characters, you should click the key after clicking Control, or click the key with mouse button 2 (maybe middle button). Alt and Meta can be used in the similar manner with Control, but there are no shortcuts with mouse buttons.

``Quick Modifiers''

xvkbd 2.5 and later support another way to input characters with modifiers such as Shift, Control, AltGr, etc., which may be useful especially for machines with touch panels such as PDAs - we would call it "Quick Modifiers".

Quick Modifiers can be enabled/disabled by the ``Enable "Quick Modifiers?'' entry on the property panel. If Quick Modifiers is enabled, it will be activated by pressing a key on the xvkbd window, move the pointer outside of the key, and then release the mouse button or equivalent.

The direction of the pointer motion will select the modifier: Quick Modifiers

  up        - Shift
  right     - AltGr
  right-up  - Shift AltGr
  left      - Control
  left-up   - Shift Control
  down      - Meta
  left-down - Alt

Setting Input Focus

If you are using a window manager and clients where you can set input focus by clicking mouse button on the window (and you don't have to keep pointer in the window after that), you can simply set input focus in the normal way and then click keys on the xvkbd window - the character will be sent to the selected position.

If you are using a window manager or clients where you must keep the pointer in the input field to input from the keyboard, or if the input focus is switched to the xvkbd window when you clicked on the key on the xvkbd window, you must make xvkbd to set input focus explicitly by clicking the Focus button on the xvkbd window and then click on the input field. This input focus can be cleared by clicking Focus button with mouse button 3, or simply clicking Focus button twice.

Word Completion

Choosing ``Word Completion...'' in the main menu will popup the Word Completion panel.

When you entered characters by clicked keys on the xvkbd window as usual while the Word Completion panel open, words started with the characters will be listed in the panel, and you can enter the remaining characters of the selected word by clicking one of the words in the list.

Word Completion panel

The dictionary (list of words) file is /usr/share/dict/words by default, but it can be changed by -dict option or xvkbd.dictFile resouce, or on the Property panel.

Main Menu

Main menu Pressing the ``xvkbd'' logo on the main keyboard (placed near left-bottom corner in the default configuration) will popup the main menu.

The menu contains following items:

About...
Show short description of this program.

Manual...
Launch manual page reader.

Keypad...
Open the Keypad panel.

Sun Function Keys...
Open the Sun Function Keys panel.

Dead Keys...
Open the Dead Keys panel which can be used to enter Latin characters with accent symbol in double stroke.

Word Completion...
Open the Word Completion panel.

Change Keyboard Layout... [ Updated (2004-05-04) ]
Open a popup window to change the keyboard layout. In the default configuration, Default (US), Belgian, Danish, French, German, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese (JIS-X-6002), Japanese (JIS-X-6004), Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Swiss/German, United Kingdom and Latin-1 are available.

Edit Function Keys...
Open a popup window to edit string assigned to function keys. See also "Assigning Text to Function Keys".

Show Keypad?
Toggle show/hide of the keypad on the main window.

Show Function Keys?
Toggle show/hide of the function keys on the main window.

Property...
Popup the Property panel.

Connect to Remote Display...
Open a panel to specify the name of a remote display (in the meaning of the X Window System) to connect, so that following key events will be sent to windows on the remote display.

Revert to Local Display
Disconnect from the remote display so that following key events will be sent to windows on the local display.

Property Panel

Property panel
Enable "Quick Modifiers"?
Toggle enable/disable of the Quick Modifiers feature.

Lock Shift?
Toggle locking/momentary of Shift keys.

Lock AltGr?
Toggle locking/momentary of AltGr key.

Lock Control, Alt and Meta?
Toggle locking/momentary of Control, Alt and Meta keys.

Always on Top?
If this entry is set ON, xvkbd attempts to keep the xvkbd window always on the top of the display (i.e. not to be hidden by other windows). This feature is experimental, and care should be taken as this feature can cause problem in some situations.

Behave as Toolbar Window?
xvkbd attempts to be a toolbar window when it is used with some kind of window managers such as Matchbox window manager.

Use XTEST Extension?
XTEST extension will be used if this entry is checked. If this entry is set inactive, the X server does not support XTEST extension.

Jump Pointer?
If this entry is set ON, xvkbd will temporary jump the pointer to the focused window, if XTEST extension is to be used to simulate keyboard events.

Key-Click Sound
Set on/off and duration of key-click sound.

Automatic Click
Set on/off of the automatic click feature and the delay before automatic click is activated. If this feature is set, xvkbd will work as if left mouse button is clicked when mouse pointer is moved on a button and stays long enough. You may want to set Jump Pointer? to OFF to avoid auto-repeating.

Completion Dictionary
Set the filename to be used for word completion. This setting take precedence over the `xvkbd.dictFile' resource and the -dict option.

Options

xvkbd accept following command line options, in addition to general options such as `-display'.

-version
Display version information and exit.

-xsendevent
Make xvkbd to use XSendEvent() to simulate keyboard events, as it was in xvkbd version 1.0. xvkbd version 1.1 and later will try to use XTEST extension instead in the default configuration.

If XTEST extension is not supported by the X server, xvkbd will automatically switch to this mode.

Resource `xvkbd.xtest: false' has the same function.

-no-sync
Normally, xvkbd attempts to synchronize with the destinating client step by step. This can cause problem when the client (or the X server) responded too slow. In such situation, maybe this -no-sync can solve the problem.

Resource `xvkbd.noSync: true' has the same function.

-no-jump-pointer
Make xvkbd not to jump the pointer when sending events. In the default, xvkbd will temporary jump the pointer to the focused window, if input focus is set explicitly via Focus button, and XTEST extension is to be used to simulate keyboard events.

Resource `xvkbd.jumpPointer: false' has the same function.

-no-back-pointer
Make xvkbd not to jump the pointer back to the original position after events has been sent. Maybe this can be useful when using xvkbd to move the pointer position.

Resource `xvkbd.jumpPointerBack: false' has the same function.

-modal
Make labels on keys in the xvkbd window to be set independently for each of four shift states, not shifted, Shift, AltGr and Shift-AltGr. This is useful when you want to make the xvkbd window very small.

See also "Customizing Keyboard Layout" and resouce files in the distribution.

Resource `xvkbd.modalKeytop: true' has the same function.

-geometry [widthxheight][+xoff+yoff]
Set window geometry (size and position).

You can use form like -geometry 400x130 to specify the window size, -geometry +100+100 to specify the window position from left/top edge of the screen, and -geometry 400x130+100+100 to specify both the size and the position. You can specify position from right/bottom edge of the screen by using - instead of +, but please note that you must take account of size of the window border. (If you specify `-geometry -0-0', the window will not fit in the screen.)

This can be set by xvkbd.windowGeometry resource (note that it is not xvkbd.geometry), too.

-no-resize [Version 3.4]
Disable resize of the xvkbd window.

Resource `xvkbd.resizable: false' has the same function.

-no-repeat
Do not auto-repeat even if key is depressed long time.

If auto-repeat is enabled (this is the default), time before start auto-repeat can be set as `xvkbd*Repeater.initialDelay: 600', and period of repeat can be set as `xvkbd*Repeater.minimumDelay: 100' (unit of there parameters are milli-seconds).

Resource `xvkbd.autoRepeat: false' has the same function.

-no-functionkey
Do not display function keys.

Resource `xvkbd.functionkey: false' has the same function.

-no-keypad
Do not display keypad.

Resource `xvkbd.keypad: false' has the same function.

-compact
Do not display function keys nor keypad.

Resource `xvkbd.compact: true' has the same function.

-keypad
Display only keypad. This option will be ignored if `-no-keypad' or `-compact' is specified.

Resource `xvkbd.keypadOnly: true' has the same function.

-text string
Send the string to the focused window (see also `-window' option).
If this option is specified, xvkbd will not open its window and terminate soon after sending the string.

The string can contain:

-file filename
Send the contents of the specified file to the focused window (see also `-window' option). If ``-'' was specified as the filename, string to be sent will be read from the standard input (stdin).
If this option is specified, xvkbd will not open its window and terminate soon after sending the string.

-delay value
Put value ms of delay for evey characters when sending characters with -text or -file. Maybe this is useful when problem arises when characters are entered too fast.

Resource `xvkbd.textDelay: value' has the same function.

-window window
Specify the ID (hexadecimal value leaded with `0x', or decimal value), the name (instance name or class name) of the window, or the title of the window to set input focus. It is possible to use wildcard characters `*' and `?' to match the window name or the window title.
If this is not specified, xvkbd will use input focus under control of the window manager, unless focus is specified explicitly via Focus button. Even if this option is specified, you can set input focus to other windows using Focus button, or clear the input focus.
If there are two or more windows which have the name specified with this option, the window which was found first will be selected.

-widget widget-name
Specify the name of the widget to set the input focus. To use this feature, the client must support Editres protocol. In general, this option will be used with `-window' option.
If you want to set input focus to the widget foo.bar.zot, you can write zot, bar.zot or foo.bar.zot as widget-name. To avoid confusion, the widget-name should match with a single widget of the client.

For example,

xvkbd -window xarchie -widget searchText -text "\Ca\Ckabc\r"
will enter the string ``abc'' to the ``Search Term'' field of a xarchie window.

-remote-display display
Specify the display (in the meaning of the X Window System) to connect; see also Connect to Remote Display.... [Version 3.3]

-true-keypad
If this option is specified, xvkbd will attempt to use keysyms such as XK_KP_1 instead of XK_1.

Resource `xvkbd.keypadKeysym: true' has the same function.

-dict filename
Specify the default dictionary (list of words) file to be used for word completion. The `Completion Dictionary' filename set on the Property panel takes precedence over this.

Resource `xvkbd.dictFile: filename' has the same function.

See also ``Making your own completion dictionary''.

-minimizable
Make xvkbd window can be minimized (iconified) even if no window manager is in use. When this feature is enabled, small triangle will be displayed at left ot the xvkbd main menu, and xvkbd window will be minimized when the triangle is clicked.

Resource `xvkbd.minimizable: true' has the same function.

-secure
Disable invocation of external commands, including user assigned command and the online manual reader. Connection to another displays would also be disabled. This option may be useful when xvkbd is to be run with some kind of privileges.

Resource `xvkbd.secure: true' has the same function.

-nonexitable
Disable termination of the xvkbd program. This option may be useful when xvkbd is to be run automatically for systems with no keyboards and users should not terminate the xvkbd.

Resource `xvkbd.nonexitable: true' has the same function.

-xdm
Same as -secure -nonexitable. When xvkbd is to be run for login screen, it would be suggested to use this option.

-modifiers modifiers
Normally, xvkbd will activate modifiers (control, shift, etc.) only while sending characters. If modifiers were specified with this option, the specified modifiers will be activated while corresponding key on the xvkbd window is in active. For example, you can specify -modifiers shift,control,meta,alt to apply this for those four modifiers. Maybe this can be useful when attempting to decorate the mouse operations with the modifiers. Please note that the modifiers will also be applied when attempting to click on the xvkbd window and which can prevent the correct operation in some situations.

Resource `xvkbd.positiveModifiers: modifiers...' has the same function.

-debug
Make xvkbd to output debug information. It also disables keyboard width adjustment, to help adjusting key size when making keyboard layout file. It also make xvkbd to accept signals SIGINT and SIGQUIT, which otherwise be ignored.

-version
Output version information and exit.


Screen Shot

Default (US)
http://homepage3.nifty.com/tsato/xvkbd/xvkbd-normal.gif
Belgian
http://homepage3.nifty.com/tsato/xvkbd/xvkbd-belgian.gif
Danish
http://homepage3.nifty.com/tsato/xvkbd/xvkbd-danish.gif
French
http://homepage3.nifty.com/tsato/xvkbd/xvkbd-french.gif
http://homepage3.nifty.com/tsato/xvkbd/xvkbd-french2.gif
German
http://homepage3.nifty.com/tsato/xvkbd/xvkbd-german.gif
Icelandic
http://homepage3.nifty.com/tsato/xvkbd/xvkbd-icelandic.gif
Italian
http://homepage3.nifty.com/tsato/xvkbd/xvkbd-italian.gif
Japanese (JIS-X-6002)
http://homepage3.nifty.com/tsato/xvkbd/xvkbd-jisx6002.gif
Japanese (JIS-X-6004)
http://homepage3.nifty.com/tsato/xvkbd/xvkbd-jisx6004.gif
Norwegian
http://homepage3.nifty.com/tsato/xvkbd/xvkbd-norwegian.gif
Portuguese
http://homepage3.nifty.com/tsato/xvkbd/xvkbd-portuguese.gif
Spanish
http://homepage3.nifty.com/tsato/xvkbd/xvkbd-spanish.gif
Swedish
http://homepage3.nifty.com/tsato/xvkbd/xvkbd-swedish.gif
Swiss/German
http://homepage3.nifty.com/tsato/xvkbd/xvkbd-swissgerman.gif
United Kingdom
http://homepage3.nifty.com/tsato/xvkbd/xvkbd-uk.gif
Latin-1
http://homepage3.nifty.com/tsato/xvkbd/xvkbd-latin1.gif
Small Keyboard (maybe suitable for PDAs)
http://homepage3.nifty.com/tsato/xvkbd/xvkbd-small.gif
Hebrew
http://homepage3.nifty.com/tsato/xvkbd/xvkbd-hebrew.gif
Greek
http://homepage3.nifty.com/tsato/xvkbd/xvkbd-greek.gif
Turkish
http://homepage3.nifty.com/tsato/xvkbd/xvkbd-turkish.gif
Slovene
http://homepage3.nifty.com/tsato/xvkbd/xvkbd-slovene.gif
Korean
http://homepage3.nifty.com/tsato/xvkbd/xvkbd-korean.gif
Russian (Cyrillic)
http://homepage3.nifty.com/tsato/xvkbd/xvkbd-russian.gif


Download

Latest Official Release
http://homepage3.nifty.com/tsato/xvkbd/xvkbd-3.5.tar.gz
- source of version 3.5 (2013-07-15)

previous release
http://homepage3.nifty.com/tsato/xvkbd/xvkbd-3.4a.tar.gz
- source of version 3.4a (2013-04-03)
http://homepage3.nifty.com/tsato/xvkbd/xvkbd-3.3.tar.gz
- source of version 3.3 (2012-03-03)

xvkbd is distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License.


Install

  1. untar the source in a directory, and move to the directory

  2. If you wish to use genuine Xaw instead of Xaw3d, edit Imakefile and remove (or comment-out) `#define XAW3D'.

    When you are installing xvkbd (for example) in very old systems, you may also want to remove `#define XTEST' and `#define I18N' to disable XTEST and internationalization facility respectively.

  3. Run xmkmf; make install install.man


Customization

How to Customize xvkbd

Some degree of customization of xvkbd is possible by setting resources. Some resources are already described above, and resources to customizing keyboard layout are described below.

To set resources, you can:

  1. put them in your $HOME/.Xdefaults file, or
  2. load them via xrdb(1), or
  3. set the filename to the $XENVIRONMENT environment variable, or
  4. put them in application default directory as `XVkbd-suffix' and set resource ``xvkbd.customization: -suffix'', or
  5. put them in application default directory as XVkbd.

Here, application default directory can be either of:

When the application default file is to be stored in the system's application default directory, the file must contain ``#include "XVkbd-common"'' near top of the file.

xvkbd is distributed with some application default files, and they will be installed in the system's application default directory.

Making Window Small

Size (and position) of xvkbd window can be set by `xvkbd.windowGeometry' resource. When making window small, you may need to choose the smaller font, too.
  xvkbd.windowGeometry: 220x90
  xvkbd.compact: true
  xvkbd*Font: 6x12

You may also want to set:

  xvkbd.modalKeytop: true
to display only the labels for the current shift state, instead of trying to always display all of them in the small keytop.

See also XVkbd-small.ad in the xvkbd distribution.

Removing Unwanted Keys

Keys on xvkbd window can be removed by setting their width to 1. The resource name of the keys that start with a capital letter (and of the space key) is the same as the key itself, the others are of the form <row>,<col> (counting from zero).

To remove Compose key and make Shift key larger, you can write:

  xvkbd*Multi_key.width: 1
  xvkbd*Shift_R.width: 75

To remove right Alt and Meta key, you can write:

  xvkbd*Alt_R.width: 1
  xvkbd*Meta_R.width: 1

Customizing Keyboard Layout

Layout of keys on the xvkbd window can be customized with following resources:
xvkbd.NormalKeys
list of keys available when neighter of Shift and AltGr are selected
xvkbd.ShiftKeys
list of keys available when Shift is selected
xvkbd.AltgrKeys
list of keys available when AltGr is selected
xvkbd.ShiftAltgrKeys
list of keys available when both AltGr and Shift are selected
xvkbd.KeyLabels
list of labels displayed on the keys
xvkbd.NormalKeyLabels
list of labels displayed on the keys when neither of Shift and AltGr are selected.
xvkbd.ShiftKeyLabels
list of labels displayed on the keys when Shift is selected
xvkbd.AltgrKeyLabels
list of labels displayed on the keys when AltGr is selected
xvkbd.ShiftAltgrKeyLabels
list of labels displayed on the keys when both AltGr and Shift are selected

Four resources to set labels on the keys (xvkbd.NormalKeyLabels, xvkbd.ShiftKeyLabels, xvkbd.AltgrKeyLabels and xvkbd.ShiftAltgrKeyLabels) will be used instead of xvkbd.KeyLabels when xvkbd.modalKeytop resoruce is set true.

In all of those resources, each keys are separated by spaces, and rows of keys are terminated with ` \n\' (note that `\n' must have space before it). Please refer XVkbd-german.ad and XVkbd-latin1.ad in the xvkbd distribution for more about these resources.

XVkbd-german and XVkbd-latin1 will be installed in the system's application default directory, and setting the resource ``xvkbd.customization: -german'' will make xvkbd to use the German layout. For another method to activate those settings, please refer "How to Customize xvkbd" above.

Assigning Text to Function Keys

Text can be assigned to each function keys (and, actually, to most other keys). If text is assigned to the function key, clicking on the key will send the assigned text instead of the function key itself. When pointer is on a key where text is assigned, the text will be displayed near the key.

The setting will be read from a text file which contains text for each function keys as:

  F1 text for F1
  F2 text for F2
  s:F1 text for Shift-F1
  c:F1 text for Control-F1
  m:F1 text for Meta-F1
  a:F1 text for Alt-F1
  ...

`s:', `c:', `m:' and `a:' before the keys name indicates four modifiers (Shift, Control, Meta and Alt) respectively.

If the first character of the assigned string is `!', the string will be used as command to be executed when the key is clicked. To assign string starting with `!' or `\', put `\' before the string.

The file is $HOME/.xvkbd in default, and it can be changed by setting the filename with xvkbd.keyFile resource.

For F1 to F12 with or without Shift modifier, it is possible to edit the assigned string on a panel popped up via "Edit Function Keys..." in the main menu.

Edit Function Keys


Miscellaneous Informations

Notes

Additional Informations

FAQ - Possible Problems and Solutions
http://homepage3.nifty.com/tsato/xvkbd/faq.html

Making your own completion dictionary
http://homepage3.nifty.com/tsato/xvkbd/make-dic.html

Hints to use xvkbd -text
http://homepage3.nifty.com/tsato/xvkbd/xvkbd-text.html

Note about how to send key events
http://homepage3.nifty.com/tsato/xvkbd/events.html


Change Log

Version 0.1 (2000-05-13)

Version 0.2 (2000-09-15)

Version 0.3 (2000-10-05)

Version 1.0 (2000-11-03)

Version 1.1 (2000-12-23)

Version 1.2 (2001-02-18)

Version 1.3 (2001-03-19)

Version 1.4 (2001-04-22)

Version 1.5 (2001-10-08)

Version 1.6 (2001-11-10)

Version 2.0 (2001-12-09)

Version 2.1 (2002-01-27)

Version 2.2 (2002-03-17)

Version 2.3 (2002-04-05)

Version 2.4 (2002-10-02)

Version 2.5 (2002-10-12)

Version 2.5a (2003-06-25)

Version 2.6 (2004-05-04)

Version 2.7 (2005-05-05)

Version 2.7a (2005-05-07)

Version 2.8 (2006-09-10)

Version 2.9 (2008-03-30)

Version 3.0 (2008-05-05)

Version 3.1 (2010-01-17)

Version 3.2 (2010-03-14)

Version 3.3 (2012-03-03) [ New (2012-03-03) ]

Version 3.4 (2013-03-31) [ New (2012-07-15) ]

Version 3.5 (2013-07-15) [ New (2013-07-15) ]


Author

xvkbd was written by Tom Sato, and it is distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License Version 2 or any later version.

Please send any feedback (such as bug reports, requests or comments) to Tom Sato <VEF00200@nifty.ne.jp>.

The latest version of this software and more information about it may be available at http://homepage3.nifty.com/tsato/xvkbd/. Release of the new version will be announced on the Freecode (http://freecode.com), and you can probably receive the announce via e-mail if you wish.


by Tom Sato, 2012-03-31
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