Windows Onscreen Keyboard: Options and Settings

The Windows operating system includes an Onscreen Keyboard whose executable is osk.exe. It is a part of the Ease of Access feature of Wind0ws 10/8, which you can operate with the help of your mouse, instead of the physical keyboard. In one of our earlier posts, we have seen how to use the Windows computer without a keyboard or mouse. Today, we will have a slightly more detailed look at the Onscreen keyboard in Windows 8, its settings and options and how to enable the Numeric keypad.

Windows Onscreen Keyboard

To start the onscreen keyboard, press Win+U to open the Ease of Access Center. You will find it here:

Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Ease of Access Center

on-screen keyboard windows 8

When here, click on Start On-Screen Keyboard.

To start the onscreen keyboard, you can also go to the the Windows Start Search, type osk.exe and hit Enter.

In Windows 10, you will see the setting in Setings > Ease of Access > Keyboard.

onscreen keyboard windows 10

In Windows 8.1, you can also access it via Charms > PC Settings > Ease of Access panel. Move the slider to turn on On-Screen Keyboard.


Again – you can also access it when you are on the Sign In screen, when you click on the Ease of Access button.

Once you turn on the onscreen keyboard, you will see the following layout.

windows onscreen keyboard

You can use your mouse cursor to click on the buttons and operate the keys. Note that you cannot use touch with the Onscreen keyboard. For that, Windows offers the Touch Keyboard on touch devices.

Here Fade is one button you may find useful if you need the onscreen keyboard to fade in the background.

Clicking on the Options key will open its Options box. You can see various options here that will help you configure, how your onscreen keyboard should work.

onscreen keyboard options

Here, you will see options like:

  • Use click sound
  • Show keys to make it easier to move around the screen
  • Turn on numeric keypad
  • Click on keys / Hover over keys
  • Scan through keys
  • Use Text Prediction.

If you wish to enable the Numeric pad, check the Turn on Numeric key pad box.

onscreen keyboard numeric pad

If you want the Windows onscreen keyboard to start when you log in, open Control Panel > Ease of Access Center > Use the computer without a mouse or keyboard, and check the Use On-screen keyboard box. When you do this, the onscreen keyboard will start automatically every time you sign in.

onscreen keyboard start login

If on the other hand, your Windows onscreen keyboard auto popups when you do not want it to, simply uncheck this box.

Onscreen keyboard shortcut

You can create a shortcut to the Onscreen Keyboard, by right-clicking the desktop > New > Shortcut, and using path or location of the item as C:\Windows\System32\osk.exe.

Also read:

  1. How to use Narrator in Windows
  2. Windows Magnifier Tips and Tricks.
Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Anand Khanse is the Admin of, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.


  1. mae

    how to center the key in on-screen keyboard ? at the moment it appear top-left.

  2. harry

    left click and hold title bar and then drag to wherever you want it placed

  3. sekhar

    In my key board (“) is coming every time I type 2 in capitals and (@) when i type in capital (“). This has got changed. Else all other symbols are OK. Could anyone tell me what is the problem

  4. Lee Eastham

    Your keyboard is probably set for the UK if you get (“) when pressing shift + 2. You can use Regional Settings to fix this, just look for the keyboard setting.

  5. Vinny

    Is there a way to stop a thing from happening where when I mouse over the keyboard, it will un-select where I want to type and move other windows to the forefront when I don’t want them to. It’s very disruptive.

  6. Raghuram JC

    By mistake, only top row of the OSK is seen in my laptop. Even if I try to size it, only the top row gets bigger. Other rows are hidden. I need to use OSK since one key is not working in my physical keyboard. How do I restore OSK?

  7. Dmitriy Odesskiy

    There’s a tab there can’t remember is it general or common, but it was there, i clicked it it restored it all.

  8. Quixote2

    click on “general”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

5 + 2 =