[ptsefton.com] | [CV & Bio]

Getting the Alt key working for OpenOffice.org on Mac OS X


The OpenOffice.org version 2.0 I have for the Mac does not reliably work with the Alt key. It gives you menu access from the keyboard. Using the ICE template, I type ALT-S to access the styles menu, and life is miserable without it. Miserable also is life with Microsoft Word for the Mac. No Alt key there either even though the shortcuts are there for Windows users.

So a couple of weeks ago I got around to googling for a fix, and came up with this page on macosxhints. I tried some of the stuff suggested there and got it working for OpenOffice.org. Or so I thought.

But do you know what? When I started writing this post, and re-testing to make sure I had everything right I had to shut down X windows and restart it completely a few times, and the Alt key began to work only sometimes.

Turns out that I thought I had made changes to my config that made the Alt key work, but now I don't think they really did anything. Alt works for me if start X first, then click the OpenOffice.org icon to start the .app. if you let the OpenOffice.org application start X for you then Alt ends up not working.

It took ages for me to figure this out because I reboot this Mac very infrequently, like at intervals of a few weeks.

I do have a nice .Xdefaults file in my home directory that adds a scroll bar to the Xterm application, and allows you to make text bigger and smaller with Cmd – and Cmd +. That bit comes from another post on the same site. Make sure you read the whole thread if you want to try it.