AltGr Trouble with Synergy – a workaround

Hi. I am a German using a German keyboard, so I have to use the AltGr key a lot to type an @ (AltGr+Q) for example.

I also like to use Linux and Windows side by side at work. This is facilitated by Synergy (https://symless.com/synergy). Here my “main” mouse and keyboard are connected to my Linux machine which hosts the synergy server, which shares the keyboard and mouse with my Windows machine.

It works amazing, were it not for the non-working AltGr key.

Now I finally found a workaround.

Step 1

Configure your synergy server as usual.
Then save the configuration to a file, e.g. /home/$USER/synergy.conf

Edit this file and add the line “altgr = shift” to the section “sceens” under the entry of your Windows client machine. This will send a “RightShift” key to the client whenever you press AltGr.

Don’t worry. This is okay, since I found out that Synergy actually sends a “LeftShift” when you press either of the real shift keys on your keyboard.

Now use the synergy GUI to select and use the altered config file by clicking on the “Use existing configuration” radio button. Then click “Apply” to load and use the new configuration.

Step 2

Go to your Windows client machine and download a fine little open source tool named “sharpkeys”: https://github.com/randyrants/sharpkeys/releases

You don’t have to install anything, just download the portable .zip version, unpack it and run “SharpKeys.exe”. You only have to run it once to change the key mapping in your registry. You might have to run it as system administrator.

Map “Right Shift” to “Alt Gr”, as in the above picture. Then click “Write to Registry”. Reboot or log out your user for the key mapping to become effective.

Done!

Now it is time to test your “hack” (for example by typing sth in Notepad):

Since the synergy host sends a “LeftShift” when I use either shift key, and sends a “RightShift” only when I press AltGr, the usability does not suffer.

The only downside is, that on the Windows PC I now have two “AltGr” keys … but I can live with that, since usually I don’t use it at all.

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