Replace Gnome On-Screen Keyboard With Florence Virtual Keyboard [Linux]

Danny Stieben 23-05-2011

florence on-screen keyboardAs far as I know myself, there have been plenty of times where a virtual keyboard would have been extremely helpful. For example, it is sometimes recommended to use a virtual keyboard when typing in a password for an important website like a bank or Lastpass in order to eliminate the chances of keylogging software to catch your password. Whatever the cause may be where one needs a virtual, or on-screen, keyboard, when you need it, you need it. Period.


For GNOME users, there’s a nice little application that should do the job called Gnome On-Screen Keyboard, or GOK for short. However, when I tried to get my virtual keyboard to load, I got stuck at a different window, with no clue how to continue. The great, wide web couldn’t help me much either, so I knew that I had to get something else instead. And I found something that does exactly what I need it to do.

Getting Started

Florence Virtual Keyboard is a great little replacement for GOK that is easy to configure and, most importantly, easy to use. Installation, like any other Linux program, is as easy as going into your package manager and choosing the right package. Simply searching for “Florence” should be enough to lead you straight to the correct package. Install it, and away you go.

When you first launch the Florence virtual on-screen keyboard, you’ll be asked to click “OK” in order to enable the GNOME accessibility features. Once you do that, it’ll ask that you log out and log back in. Afterwards, you can launch Florence again and you’ll have your virtual keyboard ready for you.

florence on-screen keyboard


In terms of basic functionality, Florence does exactly what you need it to: provide an on-screen keyboard that works. The keyboard itself is easy to use and intuitive. If you’ve rarely used virtual keyboards, it will work exactly how you might expect it would. Therefore there is absolutely no learning curve.
For those who would like to see a few more features than the basic functionality, don’t worry! Florence comes with a nice amount of options for your liking. You get numerous style, window, behavior, and layout options. Under the style options you can choose what kind of buttons the keys should have, and various color properties. In the you can choose things such as its opacity, whether it has window decoration, if it should be resizable, and whether it should be always on top. In the behavior tab you can set auto-click and auto-hide options. Finally, in the layout tab, you can choose what kind of keyboard layout should be displayed and whether the keyboard should include Florence keys (like the options button), Function keys (F1, F2, F3, etc.), and a number pad.
florence keyboard

Style Options

florence on-screen keyboard

Window Options


That’s all there really is to it. It’s easy to use, it works well, and it doesn’t confuse the crap out of you like GOK did to me. I bet I just missed something, but that still doesn’t take away the fact that I couldn’t find any way to launch the keyboard after half an hour. I recommend Florence Virtual on-screen Keyboard to anyone on a GNOME desktop who needs an on-screen keyboard, as KDE‘s default virtual keyboard is probably better. Just don’t expect to get 50 words per minute on Florence like you usually do.

Do you use a virtual keyboard regularly? What for do you usually use it? Do you use a different virtual keyboard on Linux? Let us know in the comments!

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Explore more about: GNOME Shell, Keyboard, Keylogger.

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  1. Does not work on Raspbian
    January 7, 2018 at 1:46 pm

    This shit doesn't work in Raspian on a raspberry pi zero w.
    If I click with the mouse any key used to type anything, it will just close the keyboard application entirely.

    Nothing out of the ordinary.
    That's Linux for you.

    But 2018 will definitely be the year of the Linux desktop.

    May 11, 2017 at 9:42 am

    " Once you do, install it and you’re ready to launch it."

    • Does not work on Raspbian
      January 7, 2018 at 1:49 pm

      It's Bill Gates' fault!!! Microsoft is evil!!!1

  3. Ekaitz
    May 11, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    I like Florence and i use it normally. But there is an issue i want to comment. It has 2 keys marked with a smile. If pressed in combination with Florence's Ctrl key, a screensaver-like starts, and the mouse buttons and keybord are blocked. Only way for exit i know is press Ctrl-Alt-Backspace, and reset the session.
    Somebody can say me some solution, out of not press Ctrl-smile?
    I use a distro Ubuntu 12.04 based.
    Apologize for my english. Thanks.

  4. Jaykai
    March 31, 2015 at 7:12 pm

    Will this work on Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon?
    We use a on screen keyboard on our computer at home. It is hooked up to our TV and provides ample amounts of entertainment. The default on screen keyboard is really weird. It can't be moved. and will pop up randomly and wont go back down. Thank You

  5. Alfred Herzog
    February 12, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    Please when I enter the first symbol of password (in florence), this symbol repeat its by itself 10-15 times and then stops. Further symbols, 2.,3, ...writer the florence normally. I am affraid, that my florence is hacked and also the keystrokes are written in someone log.

    • Peter Pan
      February 21, 2015 at 11:25 am

      Reinstall Linux?

    • Ekaitz
      April 3, 2017 at 1:04 pm

      It's a program bug. Also occurs to me.
      Use onboard instead