Manual 16-bit version 1.22

AllChars for Windows



Copyright © 1994-1999:

Jeroen Laarhoven




1. Introduction

2. How does AllChars work ?

3. Installing AllChars on your system

3.1 Removing AllChars from your system

4. AllChars and deadkeys

5. The AllChars menu

5.1 Special key-combinations

5.2 AllChars settings

6. The writer

7. Copyright, usage, copying and responsibility

Appendix A - customizing the translation-tables

Appendix B - Upgrading from versions v1.1x

Appendix C - technical data

Appendix D - ANSI-table and AllChars key-combinations



1. Introduction

AllChars for Windows is a small utility which adds a missing functionality to Windows: an easy way to make accents like é Ü ç î æ and special characters like ƒ ² ‰ © £ ± ß ° ½ ¿ _ _ » ™ „ available within every Windows program.

AllChars for Windows is very easy and intuitive in usage and it is possible to adapt AllChars for Windows to your wishes.

AllChars for Windows is (now) FREEWARE.

AllChars for Windows works with Windows 3.1(1), Windows for Workgroups 3.11 Windows95 and Windows98.

As a bonus, AllChars for Windows makes it possible to change the point in the numeric keyboard to the decimal symbol as defined in the International settings of Windows. In most European countries this is a comma instead of a point.



2. How does AllChars work ?

When AllChars for Windows is started, the program 'hooks' itself into the Windows system and watches all keys pressed.

By pressing the Control-key and releasing it again without having pressed another key in the meantime, AllChars is activated. It will now try to translate the next two keys pressed into one special character. For example:

Ctrl, ', e gives an é

Ctrl, 1, 2 gives an ½

Ctrl, -, f gives an ƒ

Because the normal usage of the Control-key is always using it together with another key (pressed at the same time) and AllChars is activated by pressing and then releasing the Control-key, the program is usable with all Window programs (including system dialogs etc.) without conflicting with these programs.

Most special characters are built out of keys representing 'parts' of this character, like the examples above.

There are also 'double-keys' defined for fast usage: so f and f gives an ƒ, and L and L gives a £.

Some characters can also be formed by there name: d and g gives a ° (degree), c and r gives a © (copyright), m and u gives a µ (mu), etc..

It doesn't matter which of the two keys you type first. And you can use upper- and lowercase mixed. So: c and r , or r and c , or C and r , or R and C , etc . all give ©.

A help screen showing all standard defined key-combinations is available by typing Ctrl h h .

In Appendix D you can find all the special characters with their standard defined key-combinations and their ANSI-values.



3. Installing AllChars on your system

You can install AllChars for Windows on your system by copying all AllChars files to a directory (any) on your harddisk.

To activate AllChars, just start it.

If you wish AllChars for Windows to start every time you start Windows, add AllChars.EXE to your startup group of Windows.

AllChars for Windows does not need to be in your Windows directory and does not copy any file to this (or the system) directory. AllChars also makes no changes to your system files or registration database.


3.1 Removing AllChars from your system

You can remove AllChars from your system by deleting all files in the AllChars directory. If you have added AllChars to your startup group, you also have to remove it from there.



4. AllChars and deadkeys

Windows has for international users (like us in Europe) the so called deadkeys. After typing some keys their characters are not shown. Windows waits for you to type the next key and then tries to see if the combination of these two makes any sense. If so the accent is typed. This way we Europeans got our needed accents.

For example you type ' and you see nothing. If the next key is an e then you see an é , if the next key is a t then you see 't .

This looks like the functionality of AllChars for Windows. So why use AllChars ?

· AllChars is language independent and can make all of the font specified characters. All accents: the normal ones, and also some special German, Scandinavian, French and Spanish ones and all other characters not found on the keyboard, like ² ‰ © ± ° ½ _ » etc.

· If you're a programmer or sometimes make spreadsheet macros, the use of these deadkeys is very annoying, because in programming languages accents like ' and " are part of the program/macro language.

· Most programs do not handle deadkeys the way they should. You don't get any feedback and so often just type the key again ...

If you which, you can use AllChars together with deadkeys (but why should you?).

If you wish to switch off the deadkeys, the way to do this is by changing the settings of the keyboard to the standard US layout.

For the 'good old' Windows GUI (Windows 3.11 etc.) open the Control Panel, choose International and change the setting Keyboard to 'US'.

In the 'great new' Windows GUI (Windows95) open the Control Panel again, choose Keyboard and change (or add if needed) the keyboard layout English (United States).



5. The AllChars menu

Normally AllChars works in the background, without you having to pay any attention to it. But if you want to change the AllChars settings, you have to activate the AllChars window first.

If you have AllChars running hidden (see the option Hide Window further on), you have to unhide AllChars first. This can be done by typing the key combination w w (type: Ctrl w w) or by starting AllChars a second time. The new started AllChars notices that AllChars is already running and will unhide and activate the first instance of AllChars.

The AllChars window will be shown now.

If AllChars is running in the background, but not hidden, you have to activate the AllChars window.

The AllChars menu shows the following functions:

Iconize Switches AllChars to the background. AllChars will stay active in the background and the AllChars window is still in the active tasks list.

Hide window Hides AllChars. AllChars will stay active in the background but the AllChars window is hidden and no longer available in the active tasks list. To switch to the AllChars window you have to start AllChars again. This second start will unhide and activate the AllChars window.

Help Gives a screen with all special characters and the key-combinations to make these characters with AllChars.

Configuration Gives the screen for changing AllChars settings. See further on.

About Gives information about the AllChars version and the copyright.

Stop AllChars This stops AllChars. The program 'unhooks' itself from the system and removes itself from memory.


5.1 Special key-combinations

AllChars knows a few special key-combinations that do not result in a special character, but are used to perform an action. The key-combinations are:

· Ctrl H H : to show the help screen with all standard defined key-combinations.

· Ctrl D D : to toggle the translation of the numeric keypad to decimal symbol (on/off)

· Ctrl W W : to show the AllChars window if it is hidden.


5.2 AllChars settings

You can change the next AllChars settings with the menu choice Configuration:

· Key-combinations : allow Reverse allows typing the key-combination in reverse order. For example: c r gives ©, but also r c gives © .AllChars first tests the typed order and if this key-combination is not defined, it will try the reverse order.

· Key-combinations : not case Sensitive makes the the key-combination case insensitive. So next to c r , also C R and C r and c R gives the ©-sign.
Here also first the typed key-combination is tested and only if this is not defined switching the case of the characters is tested. So ' E will always give É and 'e will always give é .

· By switching on the option Beep on : Undefined combination you will be warned by a beep if the typed key-combination is not defined. If switched off no beep will be given.

· If the option Beep on : Premature ending is selected you will hear a beep if the AllChars translation is stopped prematurely by typing a non-character key (e.g. space, Alt, Ctrl, Tab, etc.) as one of the keys in the key-combination. If switched off no beep will be given.

· When Beep on : Use Speaker is selected, the speaker beep is used in stead of the default beep.

· Numeric Keypad : Point -> Decimal symbol will, if selected, change the point key in the numeric keypad into the decimal symbol, in some countries a comma.

Use the Windows Control Panel to define the decimal symbol.

By typing Ctrl d d you can toggle this translation between on and off.

· If the option Startup : Hide window is selected, AllChars will hide its window after starting. The program is active but will be hidden. You will not see it on a taskbar, or in the tasklist and can not activate it by ALT-TAB. You can unhide the AllChars window again by simply starting the AllChars program a second time. In this way the first AllChars window will be unhidden and activated.



6. The writer

The first version of AllChars for Windows has been written by Jeroen Laarhoven in 1994. At first, it has been distributed in the Netherlands only. Two years later it got translated into English and has found it ways on the net.

In 1997 a 32-bit version has been released for Windows95 and Windows NT 4.0.

AllChars is developed in Borland Pascal and this version is recompiled in Borland Delphi 1.0.

Information and the latest version(s) of AllChars are available at :




7. Copyright, usage, copying and responsibility

AllChars for Windows is copyrighted by the writer Jeroen Laarhoven.

AllChars for Windows is FREEWARE, you are free to use the program without having to pay a single penny, cent or whatever. You may copy the program and its documentation freely.

Spreading the program and its documentation by electronic networks, diskette, CD-ROM etc. is allowed as long as you're not selling it and the program and documentation is distributed unchanged and completely (see Appendix C).

And ... the developer of Allchars for Windows makes no representations about the suitability of this software or about any content or information made accessible by the software, for any purpose. The software is provided 'as is' without express or implied warranties, including warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose or noninfringement. This software is provided gratuitously and, accordingly, the developer of Allchars for Windows shall not be liable under any theory for any damages suffered by you or any user of the software.

The developer of Allchars for Windows will offer limited support for this software and is under no obligation to issue updates to this software.



Appendix A - customising the translation-tables

The file AllChars.INI in the AllChars directory contains the tables used by AllChars for translating the key-combinations into special characters.

The file can be changed with any text editor, e.g. notepad or msdos edit.

The tables are built as long strings of characters buily up out of groups of three characters separated by a space character.

You can change or add to these tables, but do not change the format.

There are three tables: StandardTable, AccentTable and UserTable.

The first one contains all definitions except accents, which you find in the second table.

The UserTable is normally empty and meant for you to add definitions.

The definitions in the UserTable are interpreted first so you can also override definitions defined in one of the other tables. For example if you define cr® in the UserTable, then you will get the ®-sign instead of the ©-sign when typing Ctrl c r.

This way you never have to change the StandardTable and AccentTable.

After changing the tables you always have to stop AllChars and start it again to activate the changes.



Appendix B - Upgrading from versions v1.1x

If you are currently using an older version of AllChars for Windows (before called Al!Chars for Windows) you have to remove the old version from disk and replace it by the new version.

If you want to reuse the old translation tables, you can use the old AllChars.INI file if you make the following changes:

· Change the filename from AL!CHARS.INI in ALLCHARS.INI.

· Change the first line in this file from [Al!Chars] in [AllChars].

The next (shareware stuff) can be removed:

· UserName= ...

· UserFirm= ...

· RegNr= ...



Appendix C - technical data

Operatingsystem - Windows 3.1(1) or

Windows for Workgroups 3.11,

Windows95 or Windows98

Note: this version does not work with Windows NT.

Hardisk usage - ca. 100 Kb.

Memory usage - ca. 90 Kb.

Principle of operation - AllChars uses the Windows keyboard-hook and calls, if not translating a key-combination, always other keyboard-hooks if any.

Configuration - In AllChars.INI (standard Windows profile format).

Minimal configuration - AllChars needs the following files to function:




Complete file list - AllChars v1.22 should be distributed with the files:

AllChars.EXE - the program itself

ALLCHR.DLL - AllChars dynamic link library

AllChars.INI - AllChars configuration

AllChars.DOC - online AllChars manual

FILE_ID.DIZ - short information about AllChars

WHATS.NEW - Version history information



Appendix D - ANSI-table and AllChars key-combinations


ANSI chars ANSI chars ANSI chars ANSI chars

0128 = e 0160 s p 0192 À ` A 0224 à ` a

0129 0161 ¡ ^ ! 0193 Á ' A 0225 á ' a

0130 . , 0162 ¢ / c 0194 Â ^ A 0226 â ^ a

0131 ƒ - f 0163 £ - L 0195 Ã ~ A 0227 ã ~ a

0132 , , 0164 _ x o 0196 Ä " A 0228 ä " a

0133 3 . 0165 ¥ = Y 0197 Å o A 0229 å o a

0134 | + 0166 ¦ | | 0198 Æ A E 0230 æ a e

0135+ + 0167 _ * f 0199 Ç , C 0231 ç , c

0136 ˆ \ ^ 0168 ¨ \ " 0200 È ` E 0232 è ` e

0137 % % 0169 © O C 0201 É ' E 0233 é ' e

0138 Š ^ S 0170 ª . a 0202 Ê ^ E 0234 ê ^ e

0139 . < 0171 « > > 0203 Ë " E 0235 ë " e

0140 Œ O E 0172 ¬ - , 0204 Ì ` I 0236 ì ` i

0141 0173 s - 0205 Í ' I 0237 í ' i

0142 Ž 0174 ® O R 0206 Î ^ I 0238 î ^ i

0143 0175 ¯ ^ _ 0207 Ï " I 0239 ï " i

0144 0176 ° . o 0208 Ð - D 0240 ð

0145 ' . ` 0177 ± + - 0209 Ñ ~ N 0241 ñ ~ n

0146 ' . ' 0178 ² . 2 0210 Ò ` O 0242 ò ` o

0147 " ` ` 0179 ³ . 3 0211 Ó ' O 0243 ó ' o

0148 " ' ' 0180 ´ \ ' 0212 Ô ^ O 0244 ô ^ o

0149 * . 0181 µ , u 0213 Õ ~ O 0245 õ ~ o

0150 n - 0182 q | 0214 Ö " O 0246 ö " o

0151 m - 0183 · . . 0215 × x x 0247 ÷ : -

0152 ˜ \ ~ 0184 ¸ \ , 0216 Ø / O 0248 ø / o

0153 T M 0185 ¹ . 1 0217 Ù ` U 0249 ù ` u

0154 š ^ s 0186 º . 0 0218 Ú ' U 0250 ú ' u

0155 . > 0187 » > > 0219 Û ^ U 0251 û ^ u

0156 œ o e 0188 ¼ 1 4 0220 Ü " U 0252 ü " u

0157 0189 ½ 1 2 0221 Ý ' Y 0253 ý ' y

0158 ž 0190 ¾ 3 4 0222 Þ b p 0254 þ | o

0159 Ÿ Y 0191 ¿ ^ ? 0223 ß s s 0255 ÿ " y

Alternative combinations:

0128 e e 0163 £ L L 0178 ² ^ 2 0186 º ^ 0

0131 ƒ f f 0167 § p p 0179 ³ ^ 3 0188 ¼ / 4

0150 – 2 - 0169 © c r 0182 µ m u 0189 ½ / 2

0151 — 3 - 0174 ® r m 0185 a a 0190 ¾ / 3

0161 ¡ ! ! 0176 ° d g 0185 ¹ ^ 1 0191 ¿ ? ?