Beware your keyboard layout when using keyboard shortcuts in the Azure Portal

Today I was talking with Microsoft support to troubleshoot an Azure issue and they asked me to hit Ctrl + Alt + D anywhere in the portal to bring up overlays with debugging information. Something like this:


That shortcut was new to me and I love learning new useful keyboard shortcuts, but when I tried it… nothing happened. So I tried in another window… an incognito window… another computer… and it wouldn’t work anywhere!

I found some documentation that mentions it, but nothing about pre-requisites or notes about why it wouldn’t be working.

Now, just as people who work on IT and/or software development learn that whenever you have an inexplicable issue you always turn to look at caching and DNS, I’ve learned to also look at my (admittedly unusual) keyboard setups. And after recently solving a long-standing issue I had with accented characters, looking at my keyboard setup was fresh on my mind.

And what do you know, of course the “problem” was there! Turns out that on the standard “English: US” keyboard layout, Ctrl + Alt + D on its own does nothing. The Javascript code in the Azure portal is then free to use it as a shortcut. But on the “English: United States – International” layout that I use, Ctrl + Alt + D actually produces a character: ð (I discovered this by pressing that key combo into the supreme tool: Notepad). And I bet the Azure portal isn’t prepared to handle that case.

So, solution to get those debugging overlays? Simply change my keyboard layout just to trigger the shortcut and enable/disable them. When you do funky stuff with your keyboards, like I do, you should always keep it in mind when something doesn’t seem to work as expected. And keep Notepad (or your plain text editor of choice) handy to check that your key presses aren’t generating characters that a standard layout would not.

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