Microsoft IntelliType Common Questions

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

What happens to your keyboard if you don't install IntelliType?

The “itype.exe” is the core software. If this process is not running, then the special keys on your keyboard may not work. For example, the Zoom slider won't work, the My Favorites buttons won't work, the volume increase/decrease or the Mute button won't display visual feedback (if you have turned on visual feedback). However, some of common special keys will still work, because the OS understand them. For example, the Web/Home button, Search button, Mail button, Calculator button, all still work but their actions will be system default, not whatever you have defined with IntelliType.

How to swap Cap Lock and Control?

You cannot do it with IntelliType. (possible exception is with a Microsoft's gaming keyboard) You can do so using AutoHotkey. See: Microsoft Windows: Swap Caps Lock, Alt, Control Keys.

How to make the zoom slider do zoom in Firefox?

Add the following text:

    <Application UniqueName="MozillaUIWindowClass" AppName="Firefox">
      <C319 Type="5" KeySeq="ctrl add" />
      <C320 Type="5" KeySeq="ctrl subtract" />

In the <ALL>…</ALL> section of the file commands.xml. Make sure that you are editing the actual C:\Program Files\Microsoft IntelliType Pro\commands.xml file, not a virtualized copy at $HOME\AppData\Local\VirtualStore\. [see Windows Vista VirtualStore Problem]

How to make the Zoom slider do scroll?

Open the file commands.xml at C:\Program Files\Microsoft IntelliType Pro\, then change these two strings for all such strings:

<C319 Type="6" Activator="ZoomIn" />
 ↓ ↓ ↓
<C319 Type="6" Activator="ScrollUp" />
<C320 Type="6" Activator="ZoomOut" />
 ↓ ↓ ↓
<C320 Type="6" Activator="ScrollDown" />

Then, restart the process “itype.exe”.

There are also lines like this for some applications:

<C319 Type="6" Activator="OutlookZoomIn" />
<C319 Type="6" Activator="IllustratorZoomin" />
<C319 Type="6" Activator="WebEditorPrintPrvZoomIn"/>

You might want to change those too.

If you want the zoom to be page up/down instead, change them into this:

<C319 Type="5" KeySeq="pageup" />
<C320 Type="5" KeySeq="pagedown" />

(Note: Type="6" means that the slider will function continuously, such as for zoom or scroll. Type="5" means it's more like one-time key press, such as page down.)

Note: C319 is for pushing the slider up (C320 is down). C319 is usually set to zoom in, but however, in the “commands.xml” file, some app have the zoom direction reversed. That is, they have C319 set to zoom out, with lines like this:

<C319 Type="6" Activator="ZoomOut" />
<C320 Type="6" Activator="ZoomIn" />

So, this means, when you replace the zoom lines in the text to scroll, you have to match these lines too.

How to have one of the Favorite key open the Control Panel

The Control Panel folder is a virtual folder. When you are asked for a path, simply give “Control Panel”.

How to make the Favorite 5 button do next song? (and Favorite 4 for previous song)

Change the value of following registry keys:

Key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\IntelliType Pro\EventMapping\81\Command
Value: “704” (decimal)

Key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\IntelliType Pro\EventMapping\82\Command
Value: “703” (decimal)

Then, restart the “itype.exe”. Note: if you are using iTunes, you still need to switch to iTunes first for the keys to work (at least on Windows Vista)

If you want it to switch song without having to switch to iTunes first, you'll need to use AutoHotkey. Create a script that select next song, then set your button to run that script. Here's the ahk script:

; swich to next song in iTunes
IfWinExist, ahk_class iTunes
ControlSend, ahk_parent, ^{Right}

Save this as a file named “iTunes next song.ahk”. Then, using IntelliType to assign a key to open this file.

Here's the code for previous song.

; swich to previous song in iTunes
IfWinExist, ahk_class iTunes
ControlSend, ahk_parent, ^{Left}

See: AutoHotkey Tutorial.

IntelliType vs AutoHotkey

After 5 months of keyboard hacking here and there on the Windows platform, i find that it's much better to spend time with AutoHotkeys instead of IntelliType, because it is more powerful and more complete in keyboarding features. However, you still need IntelliType to capture many of its special keys that won't be registered without the IntelliType software.

However, you need to have programer knowledge and spend many hours to write even simple AutoHotkey macro, because the language is extremely lousy. With IntelliType, you can set up simple keys or macros by just few minutes of button press or mouse click.

IntelliType allows you to remap keys to predefined actions. Most of the predefined actions are actually just key sequences. (for example, when you assign some key for undo, then press the key, then IntelliType actually sends the 【Ctrl+z】 key-press to the software. It does not in some way directly call a undo command in the software.) It does not let you define complicated actions that needs “if then else” statements. For example, you want a key that closes the current window, tab, dialog box, or program, or hide it. All these are similar concepts but different apps have different keys for it. Some app support 【Alt+F4】, some 【Ctrl+F4】, some 【Ctrl+w】, and dialog windows usually support 【Escape】. Some support a combination of them, some none. You want to be able to know what is the current app or window name, and choose a key combo based on that. So, you need a “if then else” on the current window's name. That is not possible with hacking IntelliType's registry or its xml files. (For more detail, see: Problems of Microsoft IntelliType.)

If you are using a Microsoft keyboard, then IntelliType software is still necessary, for mapping the various special buttons and knobs on the keyboard. But for the core key actions, AutoHotkeys is much more flexible. See AutoHotkey Tutorial.

The most reliable way i find so far to make many of special buttons on Microsoft keyboard to work with AutoHotkeys, is to create a AutoHotkey script that does what you want, then use IntelliType to assign a key to launch that script. For example, if you want a key to increase volume, create a ahk script like this:

Send {Volume_Up 5} 

Then, in IntelliType, assign a key to open (run) this script.

Hacking the IntelliType registry is too time consuming and not reliable.

Old Microsoft Keyboard Topic

  1. Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 Review
  2. Microsoft Wireless Natural Multimedia keyboard Review
  3. Microsoft Comfort Curve Keyboard 2000 Review
  4. Fix Defective Keys in Comfort Curve Keyboard
  5. AutoHotkey Tutorial
  6. Microsoft Keyboard: How to Disable the F Lock Key
  7. Microsoft IntelliType Review
  8. Microsoft IntelliType Common Questions
  9. Microsoft IntelliType Hacks
  10. Microsoft IntelliType Registry
  11. Microsoft IntelliType commands.xml File
  12. Microsoft IntelliType Macros
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