Use the On-Screen Keyboard (OSK) to type

Applies to: Windows 10Windows 8.1Windows 7

Windows 10

There are several different kinds of keyboards for PCs. The most common type is a physical, external keyboard that plugs into your PC. But Windows has a built-in Ease of Access tool called the On-Screen Keyboard (OSK) that can be used instead of a physical keyboard.

You don’t need a touchscreen to use the OSK. It displays a visual keyboard with all the standard keys, so you can use your mouse or another pointing device to select keys, or use a physical single key or group of keys to cycle through the keys on the screen.

To open the On-Screen Keyboard

Go to Start , then select Settings  > Ease of Access  > Keyboard, and turn on the toggle under Use the On-Screen Keyboard. A keyboard that can be used to move around the screen and enter text will appear on the screen. The keyboard will remain on the screen until you close it.

To change how info is entered into the On-Screen Keyboard

With the OSK open, select the Options key, and choose the options you want:
  • Use click sound. Use this option if you want to hear a sound when you press a key.
  • Show keys to make it easier to move around the screen. Use this option if you want the keys to light up as you type.
  • Turn on numeric keypad. Use this option to expand the OSK to show a numeric keypad.
  • Click on keys. Use this mode if you prefer to click or tap the on-screen keys to enter text.
  • Hover over keys. Use this mode if you use a mouse or joystick to point to a key. The characters you point to are entered automatically when you point to them for a specified time.
  • Scan through keys. Use this mode if you want the OSK to continually scan the keyboard. Scan mode highlights areas where you can type keyboard characters by pressing a keyboard shortcut, using a switch input device, or using a device that simulates a mouse click.
  • Use Text Prediction. Use this option if you want the OSK to suggest words for you as you type so you don't need to type each complete word.