Use the On-Screen Keyboard (OSK) to type

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.


  • A PC with a touchscreen also has a touch keyboard. When you’re using a Windows PC with a touchscreen, tap in a text field or other area where you can type and the touch keyboard appears. For more info about the touch keyboard, see How to use the touch keyboard.

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 open the OSK from the sign-in screen, tap or click the Ease of Access button Ease of Access button in the lower-left corner of the sign-in screen, and then tap or click On-Screen Keyboard.

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.


    • Text Prediction is available in English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish. If you want to use one of these languages and it isn't installed, install the language files for that language.

    • If you're using either hovering mode or scanning mode and accidently minimize the OSK, you can restore it by pointing to it in the taskbar (for hovering mode) or by pressing the scan key (for scanning mode).

    • If you minimize the OSK and switch to the Start screen or a full-screen app, you won't be able to get to the OSK. Open the OSK first, and then go to the Start screen or app.

Need more help?