Look to scroll

Julius edited this page Mar 5, 2018 · 2 revisions

Look to scroll is an alternative method of scrolling provided by OptiKey in which scrolling occurs continuously and where you control the direction and speed by looking at different parts of the screen. When enabled, it replaces the standard scrolling keys on the Mouse and Web Browsing keyboard with its own.

Quick start

  1. Head to the Other tab of the Management Console.

  2. Check the box to enable look to scroll. (This will display some additional settings below. Ignore them for now.)

    Screenshot of the Management Console's Other tab

  3. Click OK at the bottom of the Management Console and OK again on the dialog that appears to restart OptiKey.

  4. Once OptiKey restarts, navigate to the Mouse keyboard.

  5. Press the "Look to Scroll" key (#1 in the screenshot below).

    Screenshot of the Mouse keyboard with look to scroll keys

  6. Similar to how you would place the cursor using the other "Do at point..." keys on the Mouse keyboard, direct your gaze to a point in some window you would like to scroll and hold it there for a few moments to select it.

  7. Congratulations, you're now looking to scroll! Try looking at different parts of the screen and see how the scroll direction and speed changes.

  8. Press the "Look to Scroll" key again to stop scrolling.

The scroll bounds and the deadzone

You may have noticed that a couple of rectangles were drawn on screen while look to scroll was active: a large one around the edges of the screen and a smaller one inside it around the point that you chose. These are called the scroll bounds and the deadzone, respectively.

The scroll bounds defines the outer limits of look to scroll: scrolling only occurs while looking inside it. Conversely, the deadzone defines the inner limits of look to scroll: scrolling only occurs while looking outside it.

The deadzone always lies within the scroll bounds and, except when using the "Screen at Point" bounds type, lies at its centre. Furthermore, both the scroll direction and scroll speed are based on where you are looking relative to the deadzone. Look above it to scroll up, below it to scroll down, etc. and the farther you look away from it, the faster you scroll.

Look to scroll keys

Screenshot of the expanded Mouse keyboard with look to scroll keys

  1. Activates/deactivates look to scroll. Depending on the type of bounds chosen, you may need to choose a point, window, or region before scrolling starts. While look to scroll is active, the key will appear locked down.
  2. Cycles between three scroll speed presets: Slow, Medium and Fast. Takes effect immediately.
  3. Cycles between five types of bounds: Screen at Point, Screen Centred, Window, Window Region and Custom Region. See the section on additional settings for advanced usage of this key. Takes effect the next time you activate look to scroll.
  4. Cycles between four scroll modes: Free, Cross, Vertical and Horizontal. Takes effect immediately.
  5. Cycles between several scroll increments. These increments are expressed in mouse wheel units where 120 mouse wheel units is equivalent to a single "click" or notch in a mouse's scroll wheel. All scrolling messages sent to the operating system and other applications are forced to be multiples of this amount. Smaller increments allow for smoother scrolling, but larger increments may be necessary or more convenient when working with certain applications such as text editors like Notepad. Takes effect immediately.

The speed, bounds type, scroll mode and scroll increment are all carried over between sessions, so if you find a specific one you like, you won't have to switch to it again each time you run OptiKey.

Types of bounds


Screen at Point
Choose a point by gazing at it. The deadzone is placed at that point. If OptiKey is not docked, the scroll bounds is set to the entire screen. Otherwise, only the remaining portion of the screen is used.

Screen Centred
If OptiKey is not docked, the scroll bounds is set to the entire screen. Otherwise, only the remaining portion of the screen is used. In either case, the deadzone is placed at the centre of the scroll bounds.

Window
Choose a window by gazing at it. Its bounds are used for the scroll bounds, and the deadzone is placed at its centre. The bounds and deadzone are automatically adjusted as you move the window around or resize it. If you close the window, look to scroll deactivates. Scrolling only occurs while looking directly at this window. You cannot choose the OptiKey window.

Window Region
Choose a rectangular portion of a window by gazing at two points inside of it in sequence. Those two points become two corners of the scroll bounds diagonally opposite one another; the other two corners are determined for you. The deadzone is placed at the centre of the resulting rectangle. The bounds and deadzone are automatically adjusted as you move the window around or resize it. Keep in mind when doing so that the location of the bounds is fixed relative to the top-left corner of the window. If you close the window, look to scroll deactivates. Scrolling only occurs while looking directly at this window. Both points chosen must belong to the same window, you cannot choose the OptiKey window and the rectangle formed must be large enough to fit the deadzone.

Custom Region
Choose a rectangular portion of the screen by gazing at two points in sequence. Those two points become two corners of the scroll bounds diagonally opposite one another; the other two corners are determined for you. The deadzone is placed at the centre of the resulting rectangle. This rectangle must be large enough to fit the deadzone.

Scroll modes


Free
Allows scrolling both vertically and horizontally at the same time. For example: if you look near the top-right corner of the scroll bounds, you'll scroll up and to the right.

Cross
Allows scrolling both vertically and horizontally but not at the same time. Instead, you only scroll vertically when looking within the horizontal deadzone, and you only scroll horizontally when looking within the vertical deadzone. Put another way, you only scroll when looking inside the "cross" shape formed by both deadzones. Think Saint George's Cross. It is advised that if you want to use Cross mode that you not get rid of either deadzone completely in the settings or else you'll have no area in which to look to scroll.

Vertical
Allows only vertical scrolling. Where you are looking horizontally does not matter, as long as it is still within the scroll bounds.

Horizontal
Allows only horizontal scrolling. Where you are looking vertically does not matter, as long as it is still within the scroll bounds.

Additional settings

After look to scroll has been enabled, an additional group of settings is displayed on the Other tab of the Management Console. Here you can customize the behavior and appearance of several look to scroll features:

Screenshot of the look to scroll settings in the Management Console

Most are self-explanatory, but a few deserve special mention:

  1. Enabling this setting causes the bounds type key to behavior very differently. After activating look to scroll and choosing a point, window, or region, the bounds type key becomes locked down. Instead of cycling between the various bounds types, pressing it in this state will allow you to choose a different point, window, or region without having to deactivate and then immediately re-activate look to scroll. The key will remain down even after you deactivate look to scroll, and if it remains down the next time you activate look to scroll, that same point, window, or region will be re-used. This can come in handy if you find yourself using, for example, the same window over and over. Pressing the key while it is locked down but look to scroll is inactive will unlock it and allow you to resume cycling between the types of bounds.

  2. The base speed is applied no matter how far away you're currently looking from the deadzone. It is expressed in "clicks" or notches of a mouse's scroll wheel per second (cps). It starts off at 0 by default, meaning scroll speed is determined purely by distance. If you have set a very large deadzone, setting a base speed as well can provide a helpful "kick" to get scrolling started. Conversely, if you have set a very small deadzone, having a base speed can result in a lot of "jumpiness" as you quickly flip-flop between scrolling up/down or left/right.

  3. The acceleration is the additional speed gained for every bit of distance between the point on the screen that you're looking at and the edge of the deadzone. This distance is measured in pixels, so the acceleration is expressed in cps per pixel or "clicks" per second per pixel. The speed gained from distance is added to the base speed to compute the total scroll speed. If you find yourself having trouble controlling the scroll speed, consider reducing or removing the acceleration and using a base speed.

Help! Why isn't my window scrolling?

Make sure the window has focus. You can do so by left-clicking on the window. By default, when using the "Screen at Point", "Window" or "Window Region" bounds types, the window at the point(s) you selected will automatically be brought into focus for you when look to scroll is activated. This can be turned on/off in the settings.

Alternatively, in Windows 10, try enabling the "Scroll inactive windows when I hover over them" setting (in Settings > Devices > Mouse) if it is not already enabled. This will allow you to scroll the window even if it doesn't have focus as long as the mouse cursor is over it.

Help! The wrong window is being scrolled!

In Windows 10, scrolling messages are no longer sent to the window that has focus but rather to the window currently underneath the mouse cursor. This is quite handy for mouse users but complicates things for us a bit, especially when using a point source that's controlled independently of the mouse cursor. By default, the mouse cursor will be automatically moved to the centre of the deadzone for you when look to scroll is activated. This can be turned on/off in the settings.

If that doesn't help, try using the other keys on the Mouse keyboard to manually move the mouse cursor over the window you want to scroll. Alternatively, you could try using the Magnetic Cursor (key #15 in the screenshot below).

Screenshot of the Mouse keyboard including the Magnetic Cursor key

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