Changing hotkeys in DOS Guide

Posted 10 May 2000; updated 18 Apr 2002

Inside Guide's "Toolbar" dialog (in the Settings menu), you can already toggle the availability of a toolbar button for a given functions in Guide. As of 12 Mar 2002, Guide 8 users can select the hotkey for a given function in Guide from the Toolbar dialog. Thus, a person interested in (say) galaxies can revise the hotkey list so as to be able to hit 'p' and get the "Go to PGC Galaxy" function, 'c' to get the "Go to Common Galaxy name" function, and so on.

DOS Guide users can't do this, but can still revise hotkeys with a little more effort. Unlike almost any "normal" software, hotkeys in Guide are set through a text file, hotkey.dat. For example, the following line in hotkey.dat:

Alt-C          A 46 2344 A 67  2355 

means that when you hit Alt-C, you get "action number" 2344 in DOS Guide and 2355 in Windows Guide. (The 'A 46' and 'A 67' are used internally to Guide to decipher the key codes provided by DOS and Windows; you should leave them alone.) Usually, the action codes are the same in both versions, but not always; and as you'll see, some keys available in one version don't work in the other (because Windows "hides" certain keys that DOS can see, and vice versa). To determine what actions #2344 and #2355 are, you can look in the file toolbar.dat and find these lines:

#  2344                    Printer setup (DOS)
#  2355  !charon.bmp       Link to Charon     

From this, you can probably see how you would reset the hotkeys with a text editor. Suppose you wanted to have 'p' correspond to 'Go to PGC Galaxy'. toolbar.dat contains the following line:

#    61  !go_pgc.bmp       Go to PGC galaxy

You would then find the 'P' line in hotkey.dat, and add '61' to it. In this case, there would be no reason not to do so for both DOS and Windows Guide, as follows:

P                80   61   80    61 

At no point should you modify toolbar.dat. Only hotkey.dat should be altered.

Adding extended hotkeys to Windows Guide

I recently acquired a keyboard with a row of buttons across the top. At least on mine, these are labelled as follows:

Stop (as in browsing)
- Volume
+ Volume
Stop (as in media)
Prev Track
Next Track
Dell Support

Obviously, most non-Dell keyboards will have a different use for two keys (they're known within Windows simply as "App-1" and "App-2"), and not all keyboards support all these keys. But as this sort of keyboard has become reasonably common, I wondered if I could add support for the keys to Guide.

It turns out that it is quite easy to do so in the Windows version of Guide, and required no modifications to the actual software. There are two ways of doing it. One is very simple, but means you'll lose any existing hotkey assignments. That is, if you have carefully set up a lot of hotkeys in Guide, you'll find yourself back at the default assignments. If that's an issue for you, click here. Otherwise,all you need to do is to download this hotkey.dat file to your Guide folder (about 6 KBytes). It will replace an existing hotkey.dat file.

After doing this, you'll have the following new hotkeys set up:

Back             Go to previous chart
Forward          Go to next chart
Stop (media)     Stop animation
Prev Track       Animate backward
Next Track       Animate forward
Ctl-Prev Track   Take single animation step backward
Ctl-Next Track   Take single animation step forward
Media            About Guide

...and can use Settings... Toolbar to set up still more hotkeys as desired. (Note that not only the buttons, but Ctrl- and Alt- and Shifted versions, are supported, which should be enough hotkeys for anyone.)

Also note that Windows may lay claim to some of these buttons, preventing you from using them in Guide. For example, I couldn't link "Search" to "Go To Object Name", logical though that seemed.

If you don't want to lose your current hotkey settings, things are a little trickier, but not much so. You should edit your current hotkey.dat file, and cut-and-paste the following and add it to the end of the file. Save your newly-revised hotkey.dat, start up Guide, and you'll have the new hotkeys as described above.

Back                     B166  2542
Forward                  B167  2545
Browser-Stop             B169
Refresh                  B168
Search                   B170
Favorites                B171
Web/Home                 B172
Mail                     B180
Mute                     B173
Vol-down                 B174
Vol-up                   B175
Play/Pause               B179
Media-Stop               B178  2456
Prev-Track               B177  2455
Next-Track               B176  2454
Media                    B181
App-1                    B182
App-2                    B183
Sh-Back                  C166
Sh-Forward               C167
Sh-Browse-Stop           C169
Sh-Refresh               C168
Sh-Search                C170
Sh-Favorites             C171
Sh-Web/Home              C172
Sh-Mail                  C180
Sh-Mute                  C173
Sh-Vol-down              C174
Sh-Vol-up                C175
Sh-Play/Pause            C179
Sh-Media-Stop            C178
Sh-Prev-Track            C177
Sh-Next-Track            C176
Sh-Media                 C181
Sh-App-1                 C182
Sh-App-2                 C183
CtlBack                  D166
CtlForward               D167
CtlBrowse-Stop           D169
CtlRefresh               D168
CtlSearch                D170
CtlFavorites             D171
CtlWeb/Home              D172
CtlMail                  D180
CtlMute                  D173
CtlVol-down              D174
CtlVol-up                D175
CtlPlay/Pause            D179
CtlMedia-Stop            D178
CtlPrev-Track            D177  2453
CtlNext-Track            D176  2452
CtlMedia                 D181  2004
CtlApp-1                 D182
CtlApp-2                 D183
AltBack                  E166
AltForward               E167
AltBrowse-Stop           E169
AltRefresh               E168
AltSearch                E170
AltFavorites             E171
AltWeb/Home              E172
AltMail                  E180
AltMute                  E173
AltVol-down              E174
AltVol-up                E175
AltPlay/Pause            E179
AltMedia-Stop            E178
AltPrev-Track            E177
AltNext-Track            E176
AltMedia                 E181
AltApp-1                 E182
AltApp-2                 E183