David Chandler's Journal of Java Web and Mobile Development

  • David M. Chandler

    Web app developer since 1994 and Google Cloud Platform Instructor now residing in Colorado. Besides tech, I enjoy landscape photography and share my work at ColoradoPhoto.gallery.

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    August 2010
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Mac tech notes (phantom NumLock stuck, KeyNote)

Posted by David Chandler on August 19, 2010

The latest episode in my adjustment to the Mac involved the nonexistent NumLock key on the MacBook Pro. Twice during presentations, the keyboard has gotten stuck in NumLock mode in which the j,k,l and surrounding keys function as the numeric keypad and no other keys work. Thankfully, my password has a letter in the phantom numeric keypad area so I could diagnose this situation when typing in the login box. The trouble is, the MacBook Pro has no NumLock key (older Macs used Fn + F6), so it is a mystery how I got into this mode. It appears to be a bug in Mouse Keys. The solution is to tap the Option key 5x to turn off Mouse Keys or go into System Preferences | Universal Access and disable Mouse Keys.

On the bright side, KeyNote rocks. I kept noticing that the most polished presenters were using KeyNote, and now I see what they’re seeing: a presentation console on the notebook LCD that shows the current AND next slides (which makes smooth transitions much easier), speaker notes, and a giant digital clock. It uses extended desktop mode beautifully: console on the notebook display, and audience slides on the secondary display, to which you can also drag over all demos, editors, etc. KeyNote alone has finally sold me on the Mac.

5 Responses to “Mac tech notes (phantom NumLock stuck, KeyNote)”

  1. […] Hey, I had the same problem, was driving me nuts, especially since other accounts on the machine worked fine, just mine was stuck. Then I found the solution: Mousekeys is probably stuck on. Press the option-key 5 times, or turn it off in universal access (system preferences > universal access > mouse & trackpad > mousekeys. Must give credit where credit is due: I found the solution on this fellow's website after doing some Googling. So thank you to him! Mac tech notes (phantom NumLock stuck, KeyNote) TurboManage […]

  2. Thanks! said

    Thanks much for the solution! I had my laptop (MacBook) closed with an external (wireless) keyboard and monitor (and apparently Mouse Keys enabled) and when I put it to sleep, disconnected the external monitor then opened the lid, I was in the stuck Num Lock state. Mouse Keys was off in System Preferences, but toggling it On and then Off again got me out of the stuck Num Lock state! (Apparently pressing the Option key five times to toggle Mouse Keys is disabled when the Laptop’s keyboard/trackpad is active [the toggle option IS enabled in universal access]).

  3. Harkumar Singh said

    Tried everything here in sequence and cant get the numlock to switch to letters. Either it types numbers or it goes off completely disabled. When numlock(F6) is OFF the keyboard types letters except for the few keys that has the number keys (i.e m,j,k,o,i, etc); and when the numlock is on, all other keys are disabled and only the numlock keys work 0-9, etc. I have tried this with the mouse keys, numlock (f6 function key) and sticky keys, all enabled, all off and other mix until i am blue in the face to no avail. What else can be suggested here. This problem occurred after an update was done. Please help.

    South America

  4. jimmijazz said

    Same problem here, none of the suggestions work for me. Running Ubuntu 11.10 on Macbook Pro “A1226” model. Extenal keyboard works fine, just the built-in laptop one stuck with Numlock problem.

  5. Paul said

    I know this is a really old post, but it just solved an insanely frustrating mystery for me in 2016! Option key x5!!! THANK YOU!!!!!

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