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NeoOffice keyboard navigating shortcuts

The information on this page may depend on the NeoOffice version and OSX version you are using.

NeoOffice 2.2 + OSX 10.4 (Likely also for 10.5)

The description below is based on the following system:

  • Mac OS X 10.4.11 (2008-03-22)
  • NeoOffice 2.2.2
  • In the Java options in 'Preferences…' the Use a Java runtime environment (Listed are Apple JRE: 1.5.0_13 and 1.4.2_16) is enabled.
  • Keyboard-layout: Intel MacBook Pro with English/US keyboard layout

In order to understand the Mac key-nomenclature, the following may be helpful:

Symbol Key Note
1) Shift This key can be helpful for selecting text in combination with other navigating keys
Alt or option Mac typical use: advancing cursor to next/previous word
 ⌘ Apple or command Mac typical use: advancing cursor to beginning and end of line
fn Function
◀ home Right cursor key Right
end ▶ Left cursor key Left
Backspace E.g. to delete a character, use [fn + ←]

Keyboard navigating solution

It's quite easy to reconfigure NeoOffice to behave more like standard Mac OSX commands for cursor movement2). Commands like ⌘▶ (command + right) to jump to the end of a line or ⌥▶ (option + right) to advance to the next word are typical examples of what should be standard behaviour but is not in NeoOffice when it's installed initially.
Within NeoOffice there is a menu option where keystrokes can be customized. But from the listed and selectable keystrokes over there, there is just no entry with the (option) key, which means, this key cannot be assigned to any function from there.
The missing (option) key functionality in NeoOffice can be easily circumvented in the System Preferences… pane in OSX, where it's possible to assign ' (option) key'-keystrokes to set menu items. For example '⌥▶' would be assigned to a menu item called 'To Word Right'. Of course cursor navigating functions like 'To Word Right' should have been previously added manually in NeoOffice in a menu3).
Unfortunately the Java version which NeoOffice uses by default, Java Runtime Environment 1.5, has a bug, in which all key commands with the ⌥ (option) key are not handled properly. As a consequence of this bug, keystrokes which have been added in the System Preferences…, aren't detected in NeoOffice. A workaround for this problem is to use Java Runtime Environment version 1.4 instead. See below how to revert to version 1.4.

Shortcuts for cursor movement

In order to assign the proper shortcut for the cursor movement to jump to the beginning and end of line ⌘◀ and ⌘▶, we must change these shortcut keys in Writer with the Keyboard tab in the customize… option in the tools menu. Mind that (1) it holds already the functions 'To Word Left' and 'To Word Right', which functionality we want move to the alt (⌥) key and (2) the modifier for the alt (⌥) key is not available in NeoOffice. We will deal with that later. For now, perform the following steps4):

Navigating to begin and end of line
1. Open the Customize dialogue. (choose Customize… from the Tools menu.)
2. Click on the Keyboard tab.
3. Make sure that the radio button for Writer (on the top right of the dialogue box) is selected.
4. In the Category list (in the Functions section), choose Navigate.
5. In the Function list, choose To Line Begin.
6. In the Shortcut keys list (on the top left), choose ⌘Left.
7. Click on the Modify button (in the top right of the dialogue)5).
8. Repeat steps 4 to 7 to change the definition of ⌘Right into To End of Line.
9. Repeat steps 4 to 7 to change the definition of ⇧⌘Left into Select to Begin of Line6).
10. Repeat steps 4 to 7 to change the definition of ⇧⌘Right into Select to End of Line7).
11. Click on OK to assign these new shortcuts.

There is a bug in the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) 1.5, which doesn't handle the ⌥ key properly. As a consequence of this, NeoOffice which relies on Java, the ⌥ key for navigating to words will not work8). A workaround for this problem is to change/revert to version 1.49). It is not clear whether version 1.4 introduces other problems which had been solved in JRE 1.510).

Enabling JRE 1.4 in NeoOffice
1. In NeoOffice, select Preferences…
2. Open the NeoOffice branch, select Java.
3. Make sure 'Use a Java runtime environment' is enabled.
4. Click on the small circle at the line with version 1.4 (1.4.2_16).
6. Click on OK.
7. NeoOffice must be restarted.

The workaround for navigating to words is to add these navigating functions to a menu in NeoOffice and then use the Application Keyboard Shortcuts in the Keyboard & Mouse option in the System Preferences to set the proper shortcuts to these functions11).

Adding functions to a menu
1. In NeoOffice open the Customize dialogue. (choose Customize… from the Tools menu.)
2. Click on the Menus tab.
3. Select in NeoOffice Writer Menus the Menu Edit.
4. Click on the Add… button.
5. Select Navigate in the Category list and To Word Left in the Commands list.
6. Click on Add.
7. Repeat steps 4 to 6 to add To Word Right to the edit menu.
8. Repeat steps 4 to 6 to add Select to Begin of Word to the edit menu.
9. Repeat steps 4 to 6 to add Select to Word Right to the edit menu.
10. Click on the Close button.
11. For aesthetic reasons, select each of the four entries and move them with the down arrow to the bottom of this edit menu list. (If you like, you may add a horizontal ruler to this menu, by placing your cursor at the item just before the four newly added functions and click on Modify→Begin a Group)
12. Click on OK.

Quit NeoOffice12). Now manually add shortcuts to these newly added menu functions in the System Preferences13).

Adding custom keyboard shortcuts
1. Open the Keyboard & Mouse pane of the System Preferences and click on the Keyboard Shortcuts tab.
2. (Scroll down to the bottom) and click on the Application Keyboard Shortcuts item, and then the + button at the bottom left.
3. Select as Application.
4. Enter exactly in the Menu Title To Word Left.
5. Enter in Keyboard Shortcut the more common shortcut ⌥◀ (alt + left).
6. Click on Add.
7. Repeat steps 2 to 6 to add Menu Title To Word Right with shortcut ⌥▶ (alt + right).
8. Repeat steps 2 to 6 to add Menu Title Select to Begin of Word with shortcut ⌥⇧◀ (alt + shift + left).
9. Repeat steps 2 to 6 to add Menu Title Select to Word Right with shortcut ⌥⇧▶ (alt + shift + right).
10. Close the Keyboard & Mouse pane.

Open NeoOffice, check in the Edit menu whether each navigate function has the proper assigned shortcut.

This key should appear as an arrow pointing upwards: ⇧, however I use Firefox and see a strange T-like character instead, which is not correct. Therefore I choose an unicode character which at least resembles that arrow: ⇑. In Safari it displays correct.
The presence of these functions are important, the exact locations aren't. Just about anywhere in any menu within NeoOffice is fine.
Remove as well Home
Remove as well ⇧Home
Remove as well ⇧End
In JRE 1.5 the shortcut to the menu option seems to be selected: the menu flashes shortly, but after that the expected action does not follow.
NeoOffice Preferences should provide you with an option to select either JRE version 1.4 or 1.5
Please see previous remark about selecting the proper Java Runtime Environment
Alternatively it should be restarted after the modifications in the System Preferences
software/neooffice/keyboard_navigating_shortcuts.txt · Last modified: 2008/05/14 17:54 (external edit)