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, 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
When here, click on Start On-Screen Keyboard.
To start the onscreen keyboard, you can also go to the Windows Start Search, type osk.exe and hit Enter.
In Windows 10, you will see the setting in Settings > Ease of Access > Keyboard.
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.
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.
Here, you will see options like:
- Use click sound
- Show keys to make it easier to move around the screen
- Turn on the 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.
If you want the Windows on-screen 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.
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.
See this post if Windows 10 On-Screen keyboard appears on login or startup.