Microsoft has long included an on-screen keyboard for accessibility reasons in Windows, but it’s really become useful since Windows 8’s emphasis on touch-screen controls, especially if you want to navigate Windows without peripherals.
The process to enable it differs slightly depending on version, while Windows 10 and 8.x each pack a lighter keyboard and a full-featured one depending on your needs.
For Windows 10, right-click your Taskbar and click Show touch keyboard button. Then, just click the keyboard icon in the notification area on the right side of the taskbar to open it; you can drag it around or resize using the handles on the top-right. For the full keyboard, browse to Settings > Ease of Access > Keyboard and enable On-Screen Keyboard.
In Windows 8/8.1, right-click the Taskbar and choose Toolbars > Touch Keyboard, followed by the keyboard icon in the system tray like in Windows 10. For the full keyboard, press WIN + X to open the power user menu, and choose Control Panel. Browse to Ease of Access > Ease of Access Center and choose Start On-Screen Keyboard.
With Windows 7, simply open the Start menu and type On-Screen Keyboard and choose the item that pops up. This is the only option on Windows 7.
Once the keyboard is enabled, it’s just a matter of tapping on a text field and using your fingers (or mouse) to hammer out the keys — you can even type keyboard shortcuts! For those with convertible tablets, this is probably a lot more convenient than carrying around a keyboard.
Make sure you read how to tweak or disable the touch keyboard to learn even more!
What do you use the on-screen keyboard for? Let us know if you find it useful in the comments!
Image Credit: Luis Azevedo via Shutterstock.com