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Wednesday, November 09, 2016

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How to Create Custom Shortcuts with Bluetooth Keyboard on Android

Oyetoke Tobi - Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Do you normally use a Bluetooth Keyboard with your Android Device? Are you tired of only using the basic and universal keyboard shortcuts? You can always create your own custom shortcuts. With it you can easily open any of your apps just by pressing the combinations of keyboard keys. 

Although custom keyboard shortcuts features are part of the Android system back in the Gingerbread days, which are unfortunately outdated. Luckily, we’ve got an app that is gonna do just that for us.

The app is known as External Keyboard Helper (EKH). There is a free demo version, while the pay version will only cost you a few bucks.

So to get started you have to make sure your Bluetooth keyboard is connected to your Android Device. You can read this article on how to do so.

Go ahead and download the app from Google Play, install and run it. You should be able to see the app main screen after running it. The first to do here is to head straight to the “Advanced Settings”. For now, you shouldn’t worry yourself about choosing a custom layout or anything else.


So select “Keyboard Mapping”, and then select “Application Shortcuts”.


You can create up to 16 custom application shortcuts with this. So we’ll be creating a custom shortcut to the Facebook app for this guide. Select “A0”, and select Facebook from the resulting list. So you can do this for apps, services, and settings. So the Facebook app is now connected to application-zero (A0):


Then head back to the Advanced Settings page and select “Customize Keyboard Mappings”. So you will be asked to create a custom keyboard layout, so select “Custom 1″.


In case you wish to create a custom layout, you can do many things with your keyboard. For instance, generally, most keyboards have predefined function (Fn) keys, which you can connect to your tablet’s brightness controls, Wi-Fi toggle, and so on.

Note: Doing this might make the application to automatically remap some certain keys when you create a custom layout. And this might mess up some of the existing keyboard combos. In case you want to add more functionality to your keyboard, you can just delete EKH’s default changes and start your custom layout from scratch.

So to create a new combo, just select “Add new key mapping”.


So we’ll be assigning the Facebook app to open when Alt+F is pressed. Tap on the “Scancode” field and type in the “F” key on your keyboard. So it will show up as “33,” because this is the letter F’s keycode. Don’t forget, you can also change this later by using the “Change” button.

Now we’ll assign the Alt key to application “A0”, the previously designated as the Facebook app. Enter “A0” in the “AltGr” field and then save the custom combo.


From now on, the Facebook app should open whenever you press Alt+F on your keyboard. 

The External Keyboard Helper also has some advanced functions and extends far beyond simple application shortcuts. In case you’re looking for a deeper keyboard customization options, you should try knowing how to use it. Among other things, EKH allows you to quickly switch between custom layouts using a key or key combo, and also let you add up to 16 custom shortcuts.

You can buy the full version for only just $1.99 on the Play Store, but you can try the demo version for free. 



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