Using Zebra DS Series As Keyboard Input

The OmniBlocks® MRP application can be used with Zebra DS Series scanners as an input device. The scanner acts like a bluetooth keyboard paired to your laptop or tablet. Using the scanner as an input devices allows you to quickly scan the QR codes created by OmniBlocks®, or barcodes from other systems, and type data quickly into search fields or input boxes.

This provides a quick-and-easy way to interact with the OmniBlocks® SaaS application without having to type in long identifiers for inventory or product management.

Our setup has been tested with the Zebra DS3678 and Zebra DS3578 scanners attached to various devices including a MacBook Pro running MacOS Monterrey and an iPad Air running IOS 15.2.1

Setting Up The Scanner

The process of setting up the scanner involves scanning various bar codes that the Zebra DS scanners understand. These codes will enable bluetooth, make the device discoverable so you can pair it to your laptop or tablet, and setup the device so it will behave like a standard keyboard when scanning QR Codes.

Set Factory Defaults

Assuming you do not have any special settings configured on the scanner, start with a “clean slate” and reset it to defaults.

Turn Down The Volume

Optional, but highly recommended.

Set Bluetooth Keyboard Mode

This setting will enable the scanner to be paired directly to a device via Bluetooth and prepare it to be used as a keyboard input.

Turn off Bluetooth channels that may fight with WiFi

Make the keyboard discoverable

You will have about 30 seconds to pair with your device.

Pair to your device

Go to your device settings, turn on Bluetooth if necessary, and look for a new Bluetooth device. Is is usually named after the scanner such as DS3678 followed by a string of numbers (the unique address of the scanner).

You should now be ready to use the scanner as a keyboard input that will convert barcodes and QR codes to text. You will likely need to configure the scanner to get the results you expect. Common settings are below.

Configuring The Scanner

Disable Keypad Emulation

By default the scanner will only type numbers and symbols that appear on a classic IBM style numeric keypad. Some OmniBlocks® QR codes, the inventory labels for example, include fully qualified URLs. To use these URLs as input, as supported by various fields in the OmniBlocks® app, you need to disable keyboard emulation.

Add Enter Key

Often you will want the scanner to not only type in the information, but press enter for you. This is helpful when working in the OmniBlocks® app as various inputs require you to press enter to look up data or validate a QR code, such as the inventory URL. Pressing enter is what starts the validation process. Turning on this feature will allow the scan of a QR code to conduct the lookup automatically.

Enable IOS Compatibility

Working with an iPad or iPhone? You will need to turn on IOS compatibility or the keyboard buffer will drop characters and switch case for some inputs.

Enable IOS HID input

iPad Configuration

If you are paired to an iPad you will need to turn of auto-correct and auto-caps when using the scanner as a keyboard.

Go to Settings | General | Keyboard in IOS.

Click on Hardware Keyboards and set the following settings:

Type: English (US)
Auto-Capitalization: off
Auto-Correction: off
“.” Shortcut: off

Extra Information and Resources

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