Sometimes when your keyboard is not working due to any wiring or hardware problem, or there are one or two keys that have stopped working or stuck. Don’t worry, there is an inbuilt feature in Microsoft Windows known as the On-screen Keyboard or you can say a virtual keyboard.

It is easy to use by any pointing devices like mouse or joystick by clicking on the keys or just by simply hovering over them.

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How to Use the On-Screen Keyboard on Windows 7, 8, and 10

Windows 7

  • You basically have to open the Ease of Access window which can be done in two ways.
  1. By opening control panel and then choosing the last option, that is Ease of Access.
  2. Or by going into the Start menu, All programs, Accessories and then choosing the Ease of Access option.

You can also use the shortcut by pressing <Windows key+U> to directly open Ease to use window.

  • There you will find the option “Start On-screen Keyboard” in the Quick Access to common tools box.
  • Once you click on it the On-screen Keyboard appears. There you can find the “Options” key. Click on it to change any settings if you want

By default, the keyboard is set on the Click on Keys option. This means you have to click on respective keys with a pointing device.

Windows 8.1

Here in Windows 8.1 there are two ways to open the On-screen Keyboard.

  • One way is by simply doing a right click on the taskbar, that is the bar at the bottom with the Start Menu, and in the toolbars option clicking on the Touch Keyboard option. You will see a Keyboard image in the system tray.

This keyboard won’t have that many features and works in the same way the normal On-screen Keyboard works.

  • To open the more advance On-screen Keyboard. You have to go to the Ease of Access window. You can search it (swipe in from the right edge of the screen or press <Windows+C> to open the Charms menu where you can search it) or you can go to the Control Panel. From there to Ease of Access option and choosing the “Start On-screen Keyboard” option.


In the Lockscreen you have the Ease of Access option in the bottom left corner. From there you can open the Keyboard to enter the password or any other use.


Windows 10


In the same way like we did in Windows 8.1 here also there are two ways to use the On-screen Keyboard.

  • Enable the touch keyboard option by going to the right click options on the taskbar. If yes you can find it in the system tray and when you click on it the touch keyboard will appear.

The icons in the top right corner give you the option to move the keyboard or change its size.

  • To open the more advanced On-screen keyboard. Go to the start menu and from there go to the settings option.

Find Ease of access and then click on Keyboard option. There you will have to turn the On-screen Keyboard on and there you go.

You can pin the option of opening the On-screen keyboard directly to your taskbar. When the keyboard if open and is showing in the taskbar right click on it and choose the “Pin this program to taskbar” option.

One other way of opening the On-screen Keyboard in any Windows is by entering “osk” in Run program which you can search and open.

The On- screen keyboard has far many options than just typing in texts. If you click or touch on any command keys like Ctrl or Alt or Tab you can use the combos or the shortcuts just like you do in your normal keyboard.

About the keyboard and options

The On-screen keyboard for will be set on “clicking on the keys” option when opened. You can easily make your experience better by choosing different settings in the options menu. You will find it near the lower right corner.

So first let’s talk about the first two options that we get. When you click on the keys to type, the first option is about the sound of it. The second one is Turn on numeric keypad. If you check that box and press okay you will see that the keyboard will have more options now. The number pad changes into arrow keys and more options by pressing the Num Lock key.

To use the On-screen Keyboard

Click on keys: This is using the keyboard by simply clicking on the keys by any pointing device.

Hover over keys: If you choose this option you don’t have to click on the keys to use the keyboard instead just move the pointer on them. You can choose the duration which means the time that the pointer should stay on the keys.

Scan through keys: In this option you have to choose which device you would be using. To use the On-screen keyboard. Whatever you use there will be a button in those devices (spacebar or right click or button on joystick) that would have to be pressed to use the keyboard. When you press the button once the shaded area would highlight the areas. You would have to choose the areas to get to your key.

The last option is to turn on the text prediction which makes it very easy to use that keyboard.