Use the On-Screen Keyboard (OSK) to type

Windows 8.1

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There are a few different kinds of keyboards. The most common is a physical, external keyboard that you plug into your PC.

Windows also has the On-Screen Keyboard (OSK), an Ease of Access tool. Use the OSK instead of a physical keyboard to move around your PC and enter text. You don’t need a touchscreen to use the OSK. The OSK displays a visual keyboard with all the standard keys. Select keys using the mouse or another pointing device, or use a physical single key or group of keys to cycle through the keys on the screen.

To open the On-Screen Keyboard

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, and then click Search.)
  2. Enter On-Screen Keyboard in the search box, and then tap or click On-Screen Keyboard.

    A keyboard appears on the screen that can be used to move around your PC and enter text. 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, tap or click the OSK Options key, and then select 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.


Article ID: 10762 - Last Review: Jun 1, 2016 - Revision: 21

  • Windows 10
  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows 7