Setup instructions for the SpaceSaver M

Setup Instructions for the Unicomp SpaceSaver M

Your SpaceSaver M merges the Unicomp Buckling Spring Keyboard technology with some of the features of Apple keyboards and OS X.  The most apparent of these features is the dual mode function across the top row of the keyboard—a selection of media control functions as well as the function keys F1-F15.  In order to get the most from you SpaceSaver M, please follow the instructions below.


First, connect your keyboard via the keyboard USB with any USB port on the Apple device or any USB hub that is connected to the Apple device.  The first time you connect your SSM to the Apple device, OS X will direct you through a couple of key presses to identify the type of keyboard layout your SSM has, ANSI (typically used in the Americas), ISO (typically used in Europe) or JIS (Japanese).  You will be directed to enter the key just to the right of the left-hand Shift key and the key just to the left of the right-hand shift key.  For an ANSI keyboard, those keys will be the “Z” followed by a “/”.  For an ISO keyboard those two keys will be something other than a “Z” and “/”, probably “<” and “-“.  OS X will then show you which keyboard type it has assigned to your keyboard.  Your keyboard is now ready to use.

Note you can repeat this identification process by selecting System Preferences>Keyboard.  Select the Keyboard Type button on the bottom left of the screen and follow the on-screen procedure to re-identify you keyboard to OS X. 

The top row of buttons on your SSM operates in two modes.  The default mode provides a set of media related functions that are hopefully self-explanatory from the symbols on the buttons.  The media keys are programmed with the assumption that OS X has the default set of Keyboard Shortcuts assigned.  Esc, F5-6, F13-15 are the exceptions to the statement.  These six keys are always assigned as Function keys regardless of the mode.  The alternate mode can be selected by depressing the Function key on the bottom row.  Note the FCN LED is illuminated when the alternate mode is active.  In that mode, the top row of keys is defined as Esc and F1-F15.


Some Apple branded keyboards have this dual mode capability as well.  In those cases, OS X provides a locking function which will lock the top row in the alternate mode.  This function is selected with a checkbox shown at System Preferences>Keyboard>Keyboard.  However, when the SSM is connected, the checkbox is grayed out or is not offered at all, depending on which version of OS X you are using.  Regardless, the function is not available because there is no way for the SSM to advise OS X that it has a dual mode capability.   However, the user can lock the keyboard in alternate mode by depressing the Shift key (left or right) followed by the Function key.  You’ll note when you release the keys, the Fcn LED will remain illuminated indicating the keyboard is locked in the alternate function mode.  The keyboard can be temporarily moved to the primary mode by depressing and holding the Fcn key (the Fcn LED will extinguish) and the top of row keys will revert to primary, media mode.  The top row can be unlocked from the locked mode by depressing the Shift key (left or right) followed by the Function key.  When the keys are released, the Fcn LED will extinguish and the top row will return to its default, media mode of operation.

System update notes:

OS X 10.6-10.7 had two functions that had key functionality for those versions.  The functions are Expose and Dashboard.  Note the default key code assignments to call Expose and Dashboard were F9 and F12, respectively.  In version 10.8, Expose was eliminated and over the past few versions, Dashboard has fallen out of favor.  It is still available in version 10.11 but it must be enabled.  If you enable Dashboard in OSX, you can still call it using the Dashboard key on your SSM.  The other option is to reassign the Dashboard keycode (F12).  For example you could go into System Preferences>Keyboard>Shortcut and reassign the Dashboard keycode ( F12) to another function, say for example Mission Control.  Also, The Expose key position could be reassigned to, say, LaunchPad ( later versions of OS X only).  You can do this by assigning the F9 keycode to LaunchPad.