Right ALT key highlights menu bar items - Windows 10

  • Hi,
    I use the right ALT key as the activation key for the program Win Compose, which lets me type unusual characters (such as ə, í, ä, etc) anywhere on Windows 10. To be exact, I have to hit the right ALT key, then let go of it, and then hit another sequence of keys for the desired character.

    Today I noticed that this no longer works in Notepad++, because the right ALT key instead makes it where a certain item of the menu bar is selected/highlighted, and the first letter of that menu item is underlined. I believe normal shortcuts, where ALT is pressed simultaneously with another key still work, but in my case i have to hit right ALT individually, let go of it, then hit another key.

    I didn’t used to have this problem. About two weeks ago I was able to use the right ALT key for WinCompose in Notepad++ just fine. I have searched some and found similar complaints, but only for other programs, which may help to understand the issue I’m having:

    Is there a way to change this behavior?

    Thank you,

  • @Anna-Maria-Schmid

    do you, by any change, use a laptop with fn keys??
    If so, it could be that you accidentally hit fn+altgr.
    Hit it another time.

    If this isn’t your issue than I assume some recent windows 10 update corrupted
    either your keyboard driver or keyboard layout or the hotkey for win compose has been deregistered.
    To be honest - I don’t know win compose but maybe a reinstall will solve it.


  • @Claudia-Frank

    Thank you for your reply.
    I do use a laptop with fn keys, but I make sure i always only hit the alt gr key when i intend to. The two keys aren’t close to each other on my keyboard anyways, it would be an unnatural movement to hit both.
    I can still use Win Compose without any issues in other programs, so this hot key definitely hasn’t been deregistered. For instance, these characters: ą â α were typed that way in my browser. An icon of win compose in the windows task bar also lights up to show that the hot key was hit. This happens anywhere perfectly fine, except when I’m typing in Notepad++ now.

  • @Claudia-Frank
    Nonetheless, I did go ahead and reinstall Win Compose.
    I’m happy to say that fixed the issue, although I don’t understand why Notepad++ was the only program to have issues with it!

    Thank you again!

  • Hi, I’m the WinCompose author. Did you install a new version of Notepad++ recently? I have noticed a pattern of user reports where installing a new version of an application (happens with Notepad++ but also others) causes WinCompose to no longer work in that particular application.

    My intuition is that this is caused by the installer running with elevated privileges in order to access C:\Program Files, then launching the application when it’s done. This results in the application running with some privileges that prevent WinCompose from interacting with it. This is often fixed by simply quitting Notepadd++ completely.

  • @Anna-Maria-Schmid

    nice to see that it has been solved - out of curiosity, did you reinstall WinCompose while npp was running?
    In other words, do you think it could be caused by @samhocevar assumptions?