Barcode/NFC Scanner Keyboard User Manual V2

The soft-keyboard with an integrated barcode scanner / NFC reader provides a fast and convenient way of scanning bar-codes or reading NFC tags with any application. The scanned or read data appears in the target apps as entered manually by the user, manual typing or voice input are of course still supported.

Introduction

Android Barcode-Scanner Keyboard

The Barcode/NFC Scanner Keyboard provides an additional input method for your Android device. It offers a convenient keyboard for manual typing (or voice-input) which is extended by an additional key for fast barcode scanning (or NFC tag reading). Inconvenient app-switching or copy & paste is not required. For the target app there is no difference between user input or scanned data - in both cases, the data appears as typed by the user.

The Barcode/NFC Scanner Keyboard offers support for all common input languages. The suitable keyboard layout is manually configured or activated automatically depending on the system language of your handset.

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


Features:

  • State-of-the-Art keyboard layout
  • Voice recognition, suggestions, dictionaries, fast keyboard switching
  • Multi-language support
  • Guided installation
  • Configurable scanner keys
  • Quicktext (custom text modules) support
  • Integrated camera scanner (portrait, landscape, automatic)
  • Integrated NFC reader capabilities
  • Versatile licensing capabilities
    Google Play licensing, online activation without a Google account, bulk licensing with license files based on device id (serial number or IMEI)
  • Simple bulk configuration by files
  • Rule-based scanner behavior, adjustable initial keyboard layout
  • Automated barcode scanning / NFC reading in certain input fields
  • Uses version 3.2 of the ZXing barcode scanner engine
  • External barcode scanner support

Barcode-Scanner Keyboard Installation

Barcode/NFC Scanner Keyboard Installation

The guided setup routine (e.g. Barcode/NFC Scanner Keyboard from Google Play) installs, enables and activates the Barcode/NFC Scanner Keyboard automatically. No additional steps are required by the user.

Please perform the following steps to re-enable the Barcode/NFC Scanner Keyboard if it was deactivated:

  • Navigate to Android Settings > Language & Input
  • Tap on Virtual Keyboard and Manage Keyboards, then select Barcode/NFC Scanner Keyboard. You need to accept the standard security warning (see below).

For older Android versions you may need to navigate to Android Settings > Language/Keyboard, check Barcode/NFC Scanner Keyboard and confirm the security warning. After enabling the keyboard it needs to be adjusted as active input method: touch an input field for some seconds until a menu appears. Select Input method and choose Barcode/NFC Scanner Keyboard.

The Keyboard

The Barcode/NFC Scanner Keyboard is organized as follows:

This is how Barcode/NFC Scanner Keyboard looks
  • Quicktext
    Action Key - A-Button
    Long-tap the "A" icon to edit quicktexts. A short tap inserts the defined quicktext in the active input field.

  • Scanner Key
    ActionKey - Camera Scanner
    A short tap on the barcode icon opens the camera bar-code scanner, the NFC tag reader - or both. The captured data is injected into the current input field after scanning.

  • Settings
    ActionKey - Settings
    Tap on the cog wheel key or long-press the comma key to change keyboard settings.

  • Voice Input
    ActionKey - Microphone
    Tap on the microphone icon to activate the voice input.

Barcode/NFC Scanner Keyboard Settings

Barcode/NFC Scanner Keyboard - Common Settings

To modify the Barcode/NFC Scanner Keyboard options, press either the cog wheel key or long-press the comma key. Alternatively, go to Android Settings -> Language & keyboard -> Virtual Keyboard -> Barcode/NFC Scanner Keyboard. The keyboard preferences are divided into preferences which are relevant for the barcode/NFC keyboard functions (Common) and preferences which are relevant for generic keyboard functionality (Common Keyboard Preferences). The following options are available if you tap on Keyboard preferences:

  • Full version

    Purchase a license or check license status

    License

    Tap this to purchase the full version of the app (in-app purchase) or to check the current state of the license. For users without access to the Google Play Store or if you are interested in a bulk-license with special pricing, the Barcode/NFC 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.


  • Common

    This section is used to specify general Barcode/NFC Scanner Keyboard options like if and where scan-/settings-key should be displayed and how to modify quicktexts.

    Operation mode

    Choose the operation mode of the keyboard: select if the scan-key opens the camera barcode scanner, the NFC tag reader or both (first NFC tag reader, then camera scanner).

    Clipboard

    If checked the scanned data is copied into the clipboard.

    Section for advanced settings:

    Show scan-key

    Adjust whether the scan-key is displayed in the suggestion bar or not.

    Long tap on scan-key

    Select the intent action string when long-tapping the scan key.

    Show settings-key

    Adjust whether the settings-key (cog wheel) is displayed in the suggestion bar or not.

    Suggestion bar

    If checked, the suggestion bar is displayed if the numeric keypad is active.

    Bottom scan-key

    If selected (this is the default), the scan-key is displayed on the left of the space bar.

    Custom scan-keys

    Define individual keys used for barcode scanning or tag reading. You have the possibility to extend the key-popup with barcode scanner functionality or to replace the key with the scanner functionality (the original key is still available in the popup with a long-tap). Configured scanner keys are marked with a thin red frame.

    Show quicktext-key

    Define whether the quicktext-key is displayed in the suggestion bar or not.

    Quicktexts

    Add, edit or delete own quicktexts.


  • Camera Scanner
    Barcode/NFC Scanner Keyboard - Camera Settings

    This section is only enabled if the camera scanner is in use (see Operation mode).

    Camera Scanner

    Choose between the internal camera scanner (based on barcode scanner engine from ZXing) or select any other installed camera scanner app which supports the use by 3rd party applications. For the built-in scanner it is possible to configure the preferred orientation used for barcode scanning (landscape, portrait or auto-mode). Tip: certain OEM versions of the Barcode/NFC Scanner Keyboard also show the entry HSM SwiftDecoder which is a high-performance, industry grade scanner engine.

    Batch Scanning

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

    Pause Between Scans

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

    Section for advanced settings:

    Flashlight

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

    Silent scan

    If checked, no sound is emitted when scanning.

    Autofocus Mode

    Choose between Normal or Compatibility mode (useful if you are experiencing difficulties).

    Permanent Autofocus

    Enable or disable the permanent autofocus: If disabled, the focus is adjusted only once when a scan is initiated.

    Autofocus Delay

    This option is only available if "Permanent Autofocus" has been enabled. The delay between individual autofocus attempts is adjusted in milliseconds (1000 milliseconds = 1 second).

    1D / Linear Bar Codes

    Enable or disable the recognition of certain 1D or linear barcodes.

    2D Bar Codes

    Enable or disable the recognition of certain 2D barcodes.

    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).


  • Camera Scanner (only available in OEM version)

    These options are available only if the scan-engine HSM SwiftDecoder is selected.

    Feedback on Success

    If enabled, a sound is played after a barcode was scanned successfully.

    Show Aimer

    If enabled, a crosshair symbol is displayed while scanning.

    Scan Region

    Selects the region used for scanning barcodes.

    Enable Front-Facing Camera

    Selects the camera to be used for scanning. Tip: for better results use the camera with the higher resolution.

    Support for AccessToGo

    Enables better scan-support for the RDP app AccessToGo.

    Silent Scan

    If checked, no sound is emitted when scanning.


  • NFC Reader

    This section is only enabled if the NFC reader is in use (see Operation mode).

    Section for ISO 15693:

    Specifies the parameters for reading ISO15693 (NfcV) tags.

    Enabled

    If this option is selected, ISO 15693 tags can be read.

    User confirmation

    If checked, the user must confirm a NFC reading. NFC data is injected only into the target app after a confirmation.

    Group hex data

    Select whether hexadecimal data should be grouped into blocks of 2 hex-digits.

    Invert UID

    Select the order for transmitting the single hex-digits of the UID. The UID is available via the placeholder ${INPUT} in the simulation rule (see below).

    Start index for user data

    Select the first byte position of the user data (starting with 0). The user data is available via the placeholder ${USERDATA} in the simulation rule (see below).

    Length of for user data

    Specify the length of the user data block in bytes. The user data is available via the placeholder ${USER_DATA} in the simulation rule (see below).

    Address flag

    Select whether the address flag should be set for reading user data (support depends on tag).

    Option flag

    Select whether the option flag should be set for reading user data (need to be supported by tags).

    Multi block read

    Select whether single or multi-block read methods should be used (need to be supported by tags).

    Section for other tag technologies:

    Specifies the parameters for reading NfcA, NfcB, NfcF, IsoDep and NDEF tags.

    Enabled

    If this option is selected, NfcA, NfcB, NfcF, IsoDep and NDEF tags can be read.

    User confirmation

    If checked, the user must confirm a NFC reading. NFC data is injected only into the target app after a confirmation.

    Group hex data

    Select whether hexadecimal data should be grouped into blocks of 2 hex-digits.

    Invert UID

    Select the order for transmitting the single hex-digits of the UID. The UID is available via the placeholder ${INPUT} in the simulation rule (see below).


  • Barcode/NFC Scanner Keyboard - Common Settings
  • Keyboard Behavior
    Keyboard Behavior

    Define behavior (prefix, suffix,...) for target-apps. By the means of Simulation Rules the user is able to configure the keystroke simulation mode and cursor movements per target application.

    Enable Automatic Scans

    If disabled, the Autoscan feature is turned off for all Simulation Rules (see below for further instructions). This setting is only available for the internal camera-scanner.

    Section for advanced settings:

    Advanced parameters for hardware keyboards and swipe support.

    Show soft keyboard

    If enabled, the soft-keyboard is shown even if a hardware keyboard is connected.

    Swipe keyboard layout

    If enabled, swiping the keyboard left or right switches the keyboard layout to numeric or symbolic input.

    Swipe to scan

    If enabled, swiping down invokes the barcode scanner / NFC reader.

    Swipe to clear all

    If enabled, swiping up clears the current input field.


  • Import/Export

    This section provides functions to import or export the configuration of the app from/to XML files. Whenever a configuration file is found in the Download folder, Barcode/NFC Scanner Keyboard reads it, applies the settings and renames it thereafter.

    Import

    Import a configuration file (from Google Drive, a local storage location, etc.).

    Export

    Export the configuration to an XML-file ("BarcodeKeyboard.xml").

    Password Protection

    Set a password to avoid unintended configuration changes. Clear the password to remove the protection.


  • 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.

    App permissions

    Opens an activity which provides the possibility to selectively grant or deny app permissions.

    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.

    Privacy policy

    This command shows the privacy policy for this app.

    Device ID

    Displays the serial number of the device. Tap on the serial number to copy it into the clipboard.

    About

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

Barcode/NFC Scanner-Keyboard Simulation Rules

Simulation Rules

By the means of so-called simulation rules the user is able to configure prefixes, suffixes (like an appended ENTER) and various other settings which are used to scan a barcode into a specific target application. When transforming a barcode into keystrokes, Barcode/NFC Scanner Keyboard searches the appropriate rule for the current target app. If no such rule is found, it applies the default rule.

  • List of Simulation Rules

    To maintain simulation rules, go to Android Settings -> Language & keyboard -> Barcode/NFC Scanner Keyboard -> Keyboard Behavior. You see a list of predefined rules. Except for the default rule at the bottom each rule is valid for a specific app only. By tapping on a rule you have the following options:

    • Disable rule
      This option disables 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. While it is possible to add multiple rules, only one rule can be enabled for a single app or for the default section.

  • Edit a Simulation Rule
    Rule name

    The user-defined name of the rule.

    Applies to

    Specifies the app for which this rule should be applied. If you select All Apps this rule will be a default rule (a default rule is applied only if no other app-specific rule exists).

    Simulation rule Add a 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
    • ${WAIT###} or ${W###}
      Placeholder for a delay in milliseconds
    • ${KEY###}
      Placeholder for a generic keycode - see Android Keycode List for a complete list of keycodes
    • For a complete list of placeholders press the ... button.

    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/NFC Scanner Keyboard to insert the barcode data followed by the enter key use this rule: ${I}${E}.

    Simulation mode

    Two methods for simulating user input are available:

    • All keys at once
      Scanned barcode data is inserted as a single string into the target app. This simulation mode does not support the simulation of special keys like backspace (${BACKSPACE}) or cursor movements (like ${DOWN}).
    • One key at a time
      Scanned barcode data is forwarded keystroke by keystroke (byte by byte) to the target app. This method is recommended if the target app is a browser or an RDP (remote desktop) application.

    If you have problems forwarding keystrokes to a specific target application you may have to add an application specific rule for 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.

    Unknown Keys

    If One key at a time is active and this option is selected, any character which can't be mapped to keycodes is forwarded as hexadecimal character codes. This options is useful for debugging.

    Initial Keyboard Layout

    Specifies the initial keyboard layout for this rule. Choose from Letters, Numbers and Symbols in Shifted or Unshifted state.

    Enable Autoscan

    Enable or disable the autoscan-feature for this rule. If enabled the keyboard checks if the content (or hint) of an input field matches a trigger pattern (see below). Whenever the cursor is placed into an input field and a match is detected the scanner is invoked automatically.

    Look for trigger pattern

    The keyboard tests for matches of the trigger pattern with the Input hint (an input hint in a field provides the user with information on what he needs to fill in, the input hint is usually displayed in gray color), the Field content or both (Input hint or field content).

    Trigger pattern

    In order to start the scanner automatically when the cursor is placed into an input field, the input hint or the field content must match this trigger pattern. Enter a fixed text or a regular expression.

Barcode/NFC Scanner Keyboard Privacy

TEC-IT respects your privacy. The app does not log, store or forward sensitive information.

When using alternative input methods, Android displays a security warning as a general precautional measure which must be confirmed during installation. This message is normal and reads something like this: 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/NFC Scanner Keyboard. Use this input method?.

Please contact us if you have any privacy or security concerns.