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Barcode-Scanner Keyboard: User Manual

The soft-keyboard with integrated barcode scanner provides a fast and convenient way to scan bar-codes with any application. On request this new input method replaces the default soft-keyboard of your Android device. Scanned bar-code data appears as entered by the user, manual typing is - of course - still supported.

 

Introduction

Introduction

Android Barcode-Scanner Keyboard

The Barcode-Scanner Keyboard provides an additional input method for your Android device. It offers a convenient soft-keyboard for manual typing which was extended with an additional key for fast barcode scanning. For the target app there is no difference between manual user input or barcode scanner input - the data appears in both cases as typed by the user.

The Barcode-Scanner Keyboard offers English, German, French, Russian and Swedish keyboard layouts. The suitable keyboard layout is activated automatically depending on the system language of your handset.

The Barcode-Scanner Keyboard is extremely easy to use and enables you to scan bar-codes without leaving the target app.

Setup Wizard

Initial Configuration

After you have downloaded and installed the Barcode-Scanner Keyboard a setup wizards simplifies the initial configuration. The wizard guides you through the minimal required configuration steps:

  • Enable the input method
    In order to use the Barcode-Scanner Keyboard you need to enable it. Do this by opening Android Settings, Language & keyboard and enable the input method named Barcode Keyboard by checking the box. Confirm the security warning (see privacy).
  • Activate the input method
    After the input method was enabled it must be activated. Long tap on any edit field, choose the entry Input Method in the upcoming menu and select the input method Barcode Keyboard.
  • Test the input method
    Press the button Test it! to display the new soft-keyboard. You can type data manually or use the scan-key for barcode scanning.
That's all! Your Android is now using the Barcode-Scanner Keyboard as input method. You are able to scan bar-codes with the camera scanner by tapping on the scanner key of the soft-keyboard. Scanned bar-codes appear like manually entered data into the edit-fields of the target app.

Overview

The Keyboard

Visible Barcode-Scanner Keyboard

The Barcode-Scanner Keyboard is organized as follows:

  • Scanner Key
    Action key - camera scanner
    A short tap on the scanner key invokes the camera bar-code scanner. Long-tap the scanner key to enter characters like colon :, slash /, ampersand &, left parenthesis (, right parenthesis ), minus -, plus +, semicolon ;, comma ,, at-symbol @, single quote ', double quote ", question mark ? and exclamation mark !.
  • ?123 Key
    Short tap this key to switch between the alpha- and the numeric/special characters keypad. A long tap shows a menu which offers you the following options:

Settings

Barcode-Scanner Keyboard Settings

To modify the Barcode-Scanner Keyboard options, go to Android Settings -> Language & keyboard -> Barcode Keyboard (as an alternative you may also press the ?123 key as mentioned earlier). The following options are available:

Barcode-Scanner Keyboard Settings 1
  • Keyboard Options

    This section is used to specify general keyboard options and simulation rules specific to target apps.

    Sound on Keypress

    Adjust whether a keypress should produce a sound.

    Vibrate on Keypress

    Adjust whether a keypress should trigger a short vibration.

    Show Scan Key

    If selected (this is the default), the comma key on the keyboard is replaced with a special barcode scanner key. Pressing this key invokes the selected camera scanner app.
    If this option is not selected, you may invoke the camera scanner via the ?123 key or with the hardware search key (see below).

    Search Key Function

    Specify, if the hardware search key (magnifier symbol) is used as hotkey for invoking the selected camera scanner app. Please note that on some handsets the hardware search key may not be available.




  • Barcode-Scanner Keyboard Settings 2
  • Camera Scanner
    Camera Scanner

    This option let you choose between the built-in camera scanner (based on Barcode Scanner from ZXing) or select any other installed camera scanner app.

    Enable Flashlight

    If checked, the flashlight is enabled while scanning bar-codes (this option may not work on all devices).

    Batch Scanning

    If this option is selected, the barcode scanner works in batch mode and scans barcodes continuously until interrupted with the back-key.

    Pause Between Scans

    This option is only available if the batch-mode was enabled. It specifies the waiting time between the single scan operations in milliseconds (1000 milliseconds = 1 second).

    Simulation Rules

    By the means of Simulation Rules the user is able to configure keystroke simulation mode and cursor movements per target application.

    Barcode Character Set

    Use this option to ensure the correct decoding of bar-codes which are encoded using a special character set. The following character sets are available: automatic mode, ASCII, Latin Alphabet, UTF-8, UTF-16, Korean (949), Russian (20866), Japanese (Shift-JIS), Traditional Chinese (950), Traditional Chinese (Big5).




  • Barcode-Scanner Keyboard Settings 3
  • About

    This section provides commands for displaying the user manual, the software version and the copyright information. In addition you can display your license information or enter a manual license.

    User Manual

    This command shows this web-page in your browser. Please contact us in case of questions, suggestions or if you want to report a bug.

    YouTube Videos

    This command opens TEC-IT’s YouTube channels with relevant data acquisition videos.

    License

    This command opens a dialog which displays the current state of your license. You may purchase a full license directly via the Android Market. For users without access to Android Market or if you are interested in a bulk-license with special pricing, the Barcode-Scanner Keyboard can be licensed by entering an activation key. Activation keys are available from TEC-IT upon purchase, licensing with activation keys requires one-time internet access.

    About

    Displays the current software version, a copyright notice and 3rd party credits.

Cursor Control

Simulation Rules

Scanner-Keyboard Simulation Rules

By the means of simulation rules the user is able to configure keystroke simulation mode and cursor movements per target application. When transforming a barcode into simulated keystrokes, the Barcode Keyboard searches for an active rule for the the current target app. If no such rule is found, it applies the active default rule.

To maintain simulation rules, go to Android Settings -> Language & keyboard -> Barcode Keyboard -> Simulation Rules. By tapping on a rule name you have the following options:

  • Disable rule
    This option diables the selected rule.
  • Enable rule
    This option enables a previously disabled rule.
  • Edit
    Modify the rule settings (see below)
  • Remove
    The initial default rule can't be deleted
A new rule can be added with the button Add Simulation Rule.

Two methods for simulating user input are available:

  • All keys at once
    Scanned barcode data is injected as a single string into the target app.
  • One key at a time
    Scanned barcode data is forwarded keystroke by keystroke. This method is recommended if the target app is a browser or a RDP (remote desktop) application.
If you have problems forwarding keystrokes to a specific target application you may add an application specific rule for exactly the app in question. Most likely browser or remote desktop (RDP) applications require the setting One key at a time for correct bar code forwarding.

Keyboard Simulation Rule

Each simulation rule allows the user to add cursor control commands before and after the barcode data. The following placeholders are supported:

  • ${INPUT} or ${I}
    This is the placeholder for the barcode data
  • ${ENTER} or ${E}
    Placeholder for the enter key
  • ${TAB} or ${T}
    Placeholder for the tab key
  • ${DOWN} or ${D}
    Placeholder for the cursor down key
  • ${UP} or ${U}
    Placeholder for the cursor up key
  • ${LEFT} or ${L}
    Placeholder for the cursor left key
  • ${RIGHT} or ${R}
    Placeholder for the cursor right key
  • ${F1} ... ${F12}
    Placeholder for the function keys F1 to F12
  • ${NOW} or ${N}
    Placeholder for the current date and time

Any placeholder (except for the function keys) can also be used with a multiplier: ${R3} is equivalent to ${R}${R}${R}.

Example: To instruct Barcode-Scanner Keyboard to inject the barcode data followed by the enter key use this rule: ${I}${E}.

Is My Data Safe?

Barcode-Scanner Keyboard Privacy

TEC-IT respects your privacy. Your data is safe.

The Barcode-Scanner Keyboard does not log, store or forward typed text, passwords or other personal data. Please contact us if you have any concerns regarding phishing, key logging or spying.

Important background information: In order to use an alternative input method on Android devices, the user must manually activate this method. By default, Android displays a security hint whenever an alternative input method is activated. This security hint can safely be ignored for all input methods developed by TEC-IT.

Sample security hint: This input method may be able to collect all the text you type, including personal data like passwords and credit card numbers. It comes from the application Barcode Keyboard (or a similar name). Use this input method?

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