How to Utilize the On-Screen Keyboard in Windows

Ben Stegner 22-02-2016

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 Learn To Navigate Windows Without A Mouse, Keyboard Or Screen You just spent hours labouring over an important document when your keyboard dies on you. Would you know how to save your work, exit programs, and shut down your computer? We'll show you. Read More .


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 Windows Keyboard Shortcuts 101: The Ultimate Guide Keyboard shortcuts can save you hours of time. Master the universal Windows keyboard shortcuts, keyboard tricks for specific programs, and a few other tips to speed up your work. Read More ! 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 How To Best Use Or Disable The Windows 8 Touch Keyboard Typing on a touchscreen is much easier if you know all the tricks! If you frequently type on your Windows 8 tablet, consider upgrading to Windows 8.1! It comes with many improved features as this... Read More 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

Related topics: Accessibility, Keyboard, Windows Tricks.

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  1. SkiddMarxx
    February 22, 2016 at 11:11 am

    In Windows 7, if you need the screen keyboard, you may not be able to type anything into the Start Menu to bring the screen keyboard up. In all versions of Windows, you can use the mouse and Windows Explorer to navigate to "C:\Windows\System32\osk.exe" to start the On Screen Keyboard. It may not be a bad idea to create a desktop shortcut to the osk.exe on your desktop if you think you may need it.

    • Md. Asif Rabbi
      February 22, 2016 at 1:41 pm

      I found this windows feature very unnecessary.

      • SkiddMarxx
        February 23, 2016 at 2:36 am

        ... until your keyboard ceases to function...

        • Ben Stegner
          February 23, 2016 at 3:20 pm

          This is a great tip, SkiddMarxx! It might be tough to get to the on-screen keyboard without your actual keyboard, and this is a good "emergency tool" to keep around.