Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Is Your 10-Key Numeric Keyboard Not Working in InDesign? Here's Why.

Yesterday, my 10-key stopped working in InDesign. After a day of thinking about it, I figured out how to fix the problem. Now, keep in mind that I'm on a mac. It's been several years since I even touched a PC. But I remember something on PCs called "NumLock." It's a key you press to disable the 10-key on the side of your keyboard.

Now, I can't for the life of me figure out why anyone would want to disable 10-key. But apparently, the same type of function exists on a mac. It's the "clear" key. It's at the top left hand corner of the numeric keypad. Somehow, while working in InDesign, this key got pressed.

If you're in InDesign and you press "clear," your 10-key numeric keypad will be disabled and act instead as cursor keys. So you will think that you're typing in data, but in reality, you'll just be cursoring through your text. Interestingly, the other applications aren't affected like this by pressing the "clear" key.

Here's what you should keep in mind about pressing the "clear" key:
  1. In order for your 10-key to stop working, you must press it while working in InDesign.
  2. And in order to get your 10-key to start working again, you must press "clear" again while in InDesign.
After a bit of thought, I finally figured out how the "clear" key got pressed. I didn't press it. One of my dogs did. You see, my dogs have their own dedicated sunning spot on my desk. Yesterday, I went downstairs to answer the doorbell, and he got agitated and walked across my keyboard, trying to find a way to get off the desk. In the process, he stepped on the "clear" key. Thanks a lot, buddy!

Clarence the wiener dog, Keyboard Walker Extraordinaire


  1. Thank you for this! Saved my day! :-)

  2. If that doesn't work, it may be because you have "mouse keys" enabled on you Mac. What is mouse keys, you ask? It's a way to control the mouse pointer with the number pad. Why on earth would anyone enable mouse keys, you ask? Well I had to because I took my mouse to work one day and forgot to bring it home.

    Anyhow, here's how to enable/disable Mouse Keys on your Mac: 1) Open system preferences, 2) Open Accessibility, 3) Click on Mouse & Trackpad, and click/unclick Enable Mouse Keys.

    Of course, that will be pretty hard to do if you find yourself without a mouse. In that case, you can access System Preferences by pressing ctrl/F2 (or ctrl/fn/F2, depending on your setup) and then using the arrow keys/tab/return to navigate.

  3. @Andrew, That its great! I never knew about "mouse keys" on the mac. Thanks for sharing.

  4. ah - my dog types all day when i'm not around. thanks for the rescue!

  5. I've been working on Mac's and using InDesign for YEARS and today's the first day I discovered this bug! Many thanks as I figured someone had a Pepsi moment with my keyboard while I was gone!

    As someone who has a 3 cats that love the warm exhaust heat from my 27" iMac... in the App store is a program called "Screen Lock 2" and it's GREAT to keep the furry kids from messing things up every time you turn your back :) and you don't have to enter a password when you return, just slide your fingers over the keys left to right to unlock it.

  6. Thankyou! This has been puzzling me for days. Although, I don't have a clear key - it's a rectangle with a cross through it!

  7. Thanks! Altough i have a mac with a mac keyboard, the numlock key tip worked :D

  8. Wow. Thanks! My cat is the one who pressed the clear key. Actually, everytime she jumps on my keyboard and I'm working in InDesign, I see new things popping up that I had no idea that were there!