When you are working in a fast-paced trading environment, keyboard shortcuts (aka hotkeys) can be extremely helpful. They can save you time and make you a more efficient trader.
However, if you aren’t accustomed to using these keyboard shortcuts, it can become a big problem when you accidentally activate one. It’s an especially big problem if you don’t know how to deactivate it. If this happens in the middle of entering a trade, it could cost you money.
If you suddenly find your trading computer is behaving in one of the following ways, and you didn’t expect it or don’t want to be there, here’s how to fix it.
1. Repeated Password Errors
You enter your passwords for trading portals and applications so many times that you often subconsciously remember them. So it’s very puzzling when you keep getting password errors even though you are 100% sure you are typing the right password.
These mysterious password errors usually stem from mistakenly pressing the Caps Lock key. It’s easy to press it by mistake due to its proximity to the Shift and Tab keys.
If you have entered a password several times and keep getting an error, check if the Caps Lock key is turned on. Some keyboards have a light on the key to indicate it’s active.
The problem is so common that websites and software applications will often show the message “Caps Lock is on”.
If this gets to be a major problem for you, you can set Windows to play a sound when you toggle Caps Lock on or off: Settings > Ease of Access > Keyboard > Toggle Keys.
2. Application Stuck on Full Screen
Sometimes you might hit a key that brings your application to full screen and then you get stuck there. Generally, if you move your cursor to the top of the screen, the menu bar or minimize/maximize buttons should appear.
If none of the control menus or buttons show up, you can use the F11 key (with your cursor on the offending screen) to get out of full-screen mode. (In fact, F11 will toggle you both in and out of full-screen mode.)
3. Laptop Touchpad Not Working
Most trading laptops have some combination of Fn key and another F key that can disable the touchpad. You’ll have to consult your laptop’s manual to find out the exact combination.
But if you find yourself in a situation where your touchpad isn’t working, try combinations of Fn and various F keys to see if the touchpad starts working again.
This is something that’s good to figure out before you need it since laptops don’t have a standard key for this purpose.
4. Can’t Type Numbers
On the far right side of your trading computer keyboard, you’ll see the keys with numbers. There you’ll also find the Num Lock key.
Earlier computers didn’t have a mouse or any external pointing device. The numeric keypad functioned both as cursor control and numeric keyboard. The Num Lock key was introduced as a switch between the two functionalities.
Today’s computer keyboards have retained this functionality. If you never use the numeric keypad to enter numbers, it probably won’t matter to you if the Num Lock key is on or off. But if you are used to entering data through that keypad and suddenly your cursor is flying all over the screen, check the Num Lock key.
The same Windows setting that allows you to play a sound for Caps Lock will also enable a sound to let you know when Num Lock is clicked.
5. Display Orientation is Wrong
The Ctrl+Alt+Arrow keys can change the orientation of your display. If you mistakenly press one of these key combinations on your trading computer and end up with a disoriented screen, use a similar combination to reorient the display back as it was.
Also, you can go to Settings > System > Display. Scroll down to the option group Scale and layout. You can set the Orientation as needed to bring your trading computer back to normal.
6. Typing Overwrites Existing Text
Generally, when you position your cursor between characters, the cursor adds whatever you type without disturbing the exiting characters. However, if you find the added characters are overwriting (replacing) the existing characters, then your INSERT key might have activated Overwrite mode.
Press the INSERT key again to disable Overwrite mode. This will return the keyboard to the familiar insertion behavior.
7. Generally Weird Behavior
If you experience any other unexpected behavior from your keyboard, such as highlighting text or automatically minimizing windows, you might have turned on the Sticky Keys feature.
The Sticky Keys feature is an accessibility setting that allows someone with a disability to press one key at a time for keystrokes that require multiple key presses (like Ctrl+Alt+Del). However, it can cause all sorts of unexpected behavior when toggled by mistake.
If you press Shift five times in a row on Windows, it will bring up the Sticky Keys dialog box, so you can turn it off.
If All Else Fails
If none of the above tips is helping, and especially if you have no clue what keys you hit by mistake, try using Ctrl+Z to undo.
Play around with some of these hotkeys now, while you’re thinking about it. You’ll be more likely to remember what to do the next time you run into a problem, when every second might count.
There are more trading computer tips like this in our buyer’s guide. Check out our “How To Buy a Trading Computer” e-book.
Remember, we are here to help with all your technology-related questions. If you think of additional questions about computer hardware or other questions, give me a call. My team and I are here to help. We’re happy to answer any of your questions about trading computers via phone: 800-387-5250.
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