02 Keyboards

Sometimes you have a jumble of numbers or characters in front of you as a puzzle, which can be translated into plain text using keyboards.

Keyboard shifts and position

A variant of the keyboard shifts usually works with a standard QWERZ keyboard – i.e. the one we usually have under our fingers in Germany. This is not absolutely necessary, the procedures described here also work more or less clearly with other, standardised keyboards – I just hope that the owner has put up a corresponding notice in such a case…

With the right-left-up-down shifts, you don’t take the letter you actually want to use for encoding, but the one to the right or left of it, or the one above or below it, sometimes even mixed. Encrypting in this way only works moderately well, however, because some adjacent keys are no longer letters. But at least this keyboard shift
can be recognised quite well.

“Summer sun” is shifted one letter to the right to “dp,,rtdpmmr”, to the left to ainnweaobbw, downwards presumably to something like “w9jj34w9hh3” (since the keys are slightly slanted over
each other, there’s still guesswork here).

You can also describe the “location” of the key you want to tell the guessing person about its position. Such a keyboard normally has one line with numbers (and special characters) at the top, and three with letters below. So line 4, key 8 – counting from the left – could be used to “encode” an N, for example, with 4/8.

Similarly, if you use the 10-finger typing technique as “encryption” and only reveal which finger is currently typing. Possibly still with the indication of the line it is serving. “rz4” would be right index finger, fourth line. So again the “N” (or the “M”, the index finger operates both keys here) “rm2” the “i”, … Happy the one who types in the eagle search system but still knows which key should be operated by which finger 😉

Finally, there are other ways to play: who says that the keyboard layout is based on the QWERTY keyboard? There are now quite a few keyboard systems that are designed for fast, low-fatigue typing and thus arrange the letters differently. Well-known are Dvorak, Colemak, Ristome and Neo. But France also has its own layout. Maybe there is a hint hidden in the text … and you have to convert between the layouts 😉

Special characters and shift

I have a jumble of characters in front of me, which by no means happen to consist of these: !”§$%&/()=, then it helps to look at the row of digits on the keyboard – some clever person has simply pressed the shift key and “encoded” digits monoalphabetically with the special shift characters on them. By the way, the same thing happens – a bit more difficult – with the American keyboard.

Painting numbers / number pad

(see also chapter 3.4 )

If you take a look at the “matrix” of the numeric keypad, you can “describe” digits or letters with it. 1-4-7-5-3-6-9, if you look at these digits in the order on the numeric keypad and trace them, would make an N . 9-8-7-4-5-6-3-2-1 would make a five…


Vanity – see also chapter 4.1 – no longer refers to computers, but to the telephone keypad, where letters are assigned to each digit. This results in a code consisting of digits that are repeated frequently and in which the 1 normally does NOT occur!