ECTkeyboard - Additional features of the program

Additional features of the program

ECTkeyboard doesn't only allow symbol-by-symbol text typing, which can be saved into external files. The program can also be used for editing an existing text, mouse cursor movement, selection of different applications windows and text pasting into any third-party software. Furthermore, ECTkeyboard allows the user to pronounce typed messages.

The functionality of the program can be significantly expanded with special macro commands. These commands allow the user to save and load files, execute external commands, launch various applications and emulate different keystrokes and combination of keys. The patient can use macro commands to change several parameters of ECTkeyboard directly from the main window of the program!

Text editing and work with vocabulary

There's a set of special buttons in ECTkeyboard that was created for text editing and work with the auxiliary vocabulary (see fig. 21).

Buttons for text editing and work with the vocabulary (Fig. 21. Buttons for text editing and work with the vocabulary)

Text editing buttons are located in the first row of the virtual keyboard. There are seven of them, and they are mostly copying the functionality of several keys of the traditional keyboard. The user can press these buttons in order to correct some mistakes or possible misspellings in the text relatively quickly.

Cursor keys (left, right, up and down). Left and Right keys allow the user to move the cursor by one symbol to the left or to the right correspondingly. Up and Down keys move the cursor by one row up or down. In the case of moving up or down, the cursor will appear before the first symbol in that row.

HOME. This button can be used to move the cursor to the beginning of the current row.

END. This key can be used to move the cursor to the end of the current row.

ENTER. This key allows the user to create a new row at the current location of the cursor. All text after the cursor will be moved to that newly created row.

BKSP. This key deletes one symbol located to the left from the cursor.

DEL. This key deletes one symbol located to the right from the cursor.

Keys for work with vocabulary are located in the right part of the seventh row of the virtual keyboard.

QUICK. This button allows the user to control the predictive typing function. When the user is typing a text symbol-by-symbol, the quick entry window shows all the words that start with the entered sequence of symbols. Each word is assigned a number or letter, which can then be used to select that word. Thus, the user can perform fewer actions and can work with the program faster and more efficient.

+WORDS. Keeping in mind the fact that all main dictionaries contain only the most common words, the user may need to add new words to the vocabulary. Such words may include names, geographical names and terms that can't be found in traditional vocabularies. This button allows the user to add all new words, which were entered in the text output window, to a separate vocabulary (independent from the main vocabulary). The user has to be really careful with the +WORDS and avoid any mistakes or misspellings in typed words; otherwise, these wrong words will be added to the vocabulary and will appear in the quick entry window.

SAVE. This button can be used to save the typed text into an external file.

Mouse cursor control. How to copy and paste text

The ECTkeyboard program can be used to copy any typed text and paste it into any third-party application window, i.e. text editors, web browsers, chats and so on. The program also allows the user to pronounce typed text messages. Furthermore, it allows the user to emulate all main mouse actions, i.e. cursor movement, single or double left-click and right-click. In order to grant access to the mentioned additional features, it's required to set 8 as the value of parameter 47 of the settings window of the program. After doing that, the user will see a new row in the virtual keyboard (see fig. 22). These buttons can be used to move the mouse cursor and interact with third-party application windows in order to paste text that was typed in ECTkeyboard.

Keys to control mouse cursor and pronounce typed text (Fig. 22. Keys to control mouse cursor and pronounce typed text)

The first group of 4 buttons (Mouse←, Mouse→, Mouse↑ and Mouse↓) can be used to move the mouse cursor by a short and predefined distance left, right, up or down. These buttons were made to make it possible to control the mouse cursor using ECTkeyboard by locating it above other applications where the user may need to pass typed texts, or above control elements that require a left or right mouse button click.

MOUSE L, MOUSE R, and MOUSE 2L buttons can be used to emulate a single left-click, single right click and double left-click correspondingly. Such clicks will be performed for the elements or windows located under the mouse cursor.

Attention! In order to provide the proper working of mouse action emulating buttons (single and double clicks), the user has to enable the actions interception mode. To do that it's required to select the Set Global Hook item of the main menu or press the F8 hotkey. This mode has to be manually enabled after every new start of ECTkeyboard.

When working in the interception mode, the program will inhibit all keystrokes in any third-party application that are used to control ECTkeyboard. For example, if the user controls the virtual keyboard with cursor buttons and uses Enter to confirm the selection, all mentioned buttons will not work in any other application.

Furthermore, controlling key emulation is also unavailable in this mode of ECTkeyboard. This feature was disabled in order to avoid cyclical keystrokes of one and only one button, when such an emulated action will be intercepted and performed again and again.

Furthermore, ECTkeyboard allows the user to control the mouse scrolling function in order to scroll through contents in an external application window. The SCROLL↑ button will scroll such content upwards, while the SCROLL↓ button scrolls downwards. The scrolling will be performed in the window under the current position of the mouse cursor. It's not required to perform a mouse button click or any other action. The user can just locate the cursor above any required window.

The main feature of ECTkeyboard during work with any external application is its ability to paste any typed text into such an application. After locating the cursor above any desired window, the user just needs to press the SEND button on the virtual keyboard. By doing so, the user will transfer all typed text from the output window of ECTkeyboard to the window under the mouse cursor.

Another very important and popular feature of ECTkeyboard is its ability to pronounce texts from the main window of the program. This can be done with the SPEAK button. By using this button, paralyzed patients can use synthesized speech in order to communicate with other people. This feature can be used in several other scenarios. For example, by using macro commands, the user can open any external text file in the main window of the program (a book or any other document) and press the SPEAK button in order to read it aloud.

The program involves an internal SAPI algorithm of Windows OS. After adding any external voice libraries, ECTkeyboard will be able to speak with different voices and even in various languages!