First, you need to have the External Communications feature enabled on your account - if you don't, just reach out to us so we can add it for you (it's free!)

With this enabled, there is a three step process to follow:

  1. Create a new External Communication setup

  2. Add the relevant commands to the Ext Comms setup

  3. Configure the commands in a Layout to perform the actions you want

Let's dive in...


Set up the New Communication:

Go to the External Communications section and add a new comms setup by clicking 'Create New':

Give it a name that is relevant to you and hit 'Create'

Under 'Type' select 'Keyboard Input'

Now, click 'Save Changes'


Set up the Communication Commands:

Click the 'Commands' tab:

Then click, 'Add New Command'

Give it a 'Label' - this is just a UI name that will make it easy for you to recognise the command in the layout builder, for example I may want to change a page when keyboard button A is pressed so I might call it 'Change Page (Press A)':

Now choose the 'Key Character' you want to use - in this example, button 'A':

You can now add as many other keyboard character commands as you'd like by replicating the above and then once you've created all that you want, hit the 'Save Changes' button:

Now, the Ext Comms configuration is complete, we can head over to the Layout builder to start to configure the actions we want.


Using Commands in a Layout with an example:

We will presume that you are familiar with Layouts already but if not, head over to our Layout Builder articles to learn more.

In this Demo Layout, we have 3 pages set up with different designs. We are going to configure the commands to 'Show Next Page' when keyboard button 'A' is pressed.

The three pages are already created and they do not have any timeouts set, meaning the pages will remain on screen until a command is received to activate the next page:

To configure the Keyboard command, we need to click on the 'Ext Comms' tab in the layout builder:

Then, click 'Add Command'

Under the 'Communication' drop down, choose the External Communication setup we created earlier (we called it 'My New Keyboard' in the setup)

Now, select the 'Command' in this setup that you want to configure (we called it 'Change Page (Press A)' in the setup):

The 'Command Type' is fixed as receive (we are receiving an input from the keyboard) so you can move to next stage which is to add an action.

Click, 'Add New Action':

Here you choose an option from the available action types - in our example, we're going to choose 'Show Next Page':

The finished command configuration will look like the below so we can 'Save Changes' to commit:

Finally, we can save the layout... we're going to 'Save & Preview' this one to check the functionality in our browser:

With the layout preview loaded in the browser, we can now press 'A' on your keyboard and see the pages change:

Finally, we can publish this layout to a device and then with a keyboard connected or any other sensor or product that can send 'keyboard inputs', we can change layout pages at will by pressing the 'A' button.

Have fun! 😃


Keyboard commands not working in the browser preview?

It may be that you have a browser extension or other piece of software running that is preventing keyboard commands being passed to the layout preview in your browser.

If you experience the keyboard input not working in the layout preview here are a couple of things you could try:

  • try refreshing the page to load the preview again

  • try to disable any extensions in the browser and then refresh the page to load the preview again

  • close other software such as video recording software and then refresh the page to load the preview again

If the issue continues, then the best thing to do is to publish the layout to a device and test the layout on a physical device with the keyboard connected.

Should you have any questions about using this feature, please reach out to us via support@embedsignage.com

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