Use the command line
It makes sense to use this method when the standard keyboard works. You may need it in various cases. For example, if some keys on the laptop are broken or for more efficient typing in languages whose characters layout is not displayed on the standard “Russian-English” keyboard.
To start you will need to bring up the Windows menu. This is done by pressing the Win key, or by clicking on the “Start” button on the taskbar in the lower left corner of the screen.
Next, find the “Search” field and type there the word “osk” (without the quotes). Two values will appear in the results: under “Programs” and “Control Panel”.
Choosing the first of the proposed options (execution of the command “osk”), you will immediately open a new window with a virtual keyboard, which can be moved wherever you want. Entering data via it is done with the mouse.
The main drawback of this method. unlike on the usual “physical” keyboard, you won’t be able to press two buttons at once. You should press each of them separately.
If you choose the second option. the “Enable On-Screen Keyboard” item under the “Control Panel” section. it will open a separate window with the corresponding menu. All the next steps will be analogous to the method described below.
Technically, the virtual keyboard starts up just like any other application. with an executable file. It is called osk. exe and is located in the System32 directory. After entering this folder the user will see that it is not easy to find the program he needs. It is much more convenient to use alternative ways to activate the utility. Windows developers have provided several methods of quick access to the on-screen keyboard.
There are three universal ways to call the utility:
Open the “Start” menu and find the “Standard” folder in it. There is a subdirectory called “Special Features” where the utility you are looking for is located. This is true for Windows 7, but version 10 has a separate folder in the ‘Start’ called ‘Special Features. The “features” where you can find a shortcut to the virtual keyboard. In Windows 8 you need to do the same in the “All Programs” menu on the Start screen.
If you have a lot of programs installed on your computer, the list in the Start Menu can be quite long. Finding the folder you need in this case will be difficult. System search can simplify the process and is designed to quickly locate system utilities, user files and directories by their name. You can do it in two ways:
- Through “Explorer” Windows. To find the executable file responsible for the on-screen keyboard, you need to open any folder (preferably the root directory of the system drive) and type osk. exe command in the search bar located in the upper part of the window, next to the folder address.
- From the “Start” menu. This method works only on Windows 7 and later systems. In these versions of the OS, the search bar can be found at the bottom of “Start”, to the left of the “Shut Down” button.
- Through the special search menu next to the “Start” icon on the taskbar. This option is available only on systems with an updated interface. Windows 8, 8.1 и 10. In Windows 8 you can also use the WinW key combination to open the search menu.
Even faster to connect a virtual keyboard will help “Run”. a simple utility that allows you to open any file, knowing their address on your computer. The only exception is System32 folder, documents from which you can launch, knowing only their names. To open the keyboard shortcut, press WinR. To display the keyboard on the screen you need to write “osk.exe” in the window that pops up and press Enter. You can also write just “osk”, but if you do so the command may take some time to execute.
The usual way to activate the on-screen keyboard
The most common way to launch the on-screen keyboard in Windows 10 is to click on its icon, which is located on the right side of the taskbar.
If the keyboard icon is not displayed, right-click on the taskbar and in the list that opens select “Show touch keyboard button”.
After performing this action, the touch keyboard icon will appear on the taskbar, and you can now launch it by clicking on it.
How to turn on the virtual keyboard in macOS
Open the Apple menu (apple icon) and click “System Preferences” → “Universal Access”. Select ‘Keyboard’ from the list and go to the ‘Assist Keyboard’ tab and check the ‘Enable Assist Keyboard’ box. After that it will appear on the screen.
Besides standard keys the virtual keyboard has additional keys. For example, to call Launchpad, and to control the volume, brightness and music.
The gear in the upper right corner opens the on-screen keyboard settings. You can change the scale, design theme, transparency, typing features and other parameters.
The virtual keyboard does not want to turn on
It is unlikely, but it is possible that none of the ways to start the virtual keyboard has worked. Then, most likely, you have disabled the service responsible for launching this utility. Of course, you have to turn it back on, which is what we’ll do:
- Right click on “Start” and then click on “Run”;
- In the already familiar window, enter the combination services.msc to go to the “Services” window;
- Then, in the list of commands, you need to find “Touch Keyboard Service”. Then you should click the line a couple of times with your mouse;
- A new window will pop up. In it you need to press the “Run” button. Attention! If the “Run” command is not active, you have to click on “Stop” first, then we will run the service again.
Having done the above steps, it only remains for us to launch the virtual keyboard by one of the methods mentioned above.
How to enable the onscreen keyboard in Windows 7/8/10
The on-screen keyboard is an analogue of the physical keyboard, which in Windows can be enabled in several ways, which we will talk about in this topic. Here we will show you how to activate the on screen keyboard in Windows 7, 8, 10 in the easiest and not quite standard ways and how to create a shortcut on the desktop to launch it quickly. But first, we have prepared for you a convenient keyboard working in online mode.
How to turn on the onscreen keyboard in Windows 7
The on-screen keyboard can be a better way to enter information if using a physical keyboard is difficult for one reason or another. It looks the same as the physical keyboard. Letters can be selected with a mouse, switch or joystick.
There are several situations in which an on-screen keyboard can be useful, of which there are three most common reasons:
- Some keys on your physical keyboard do not work, this often happens after getting water, especially on a laptop where it can be difficult to change it.
- Your physical keyboard no longer works at all. It can be caused by driver problems and viruses.
- You need a keyboard that speaks another language. Even if it works, typing in a foreign language, with a physical keyboard that is only signed in Cyrillic and Latin, is extremely difficult. In this case this utility will make your work with your computer much easier.
This does not mean that you have to use it all the time, but you can wait it out for a while until it is repaired.
To enable the option that will result in displaying the on-screen keyboard on Windows 10 and earlier editions of the OS, you can use these methods:
The on-screen keyboard displayed on the screen has alternative solutions. But about them a little later.
To begin with, how to enable the virtual system keyboard, using the standard way, but not the fastest way.
In fact, this is the main method. But because of the duration of the process itself, not all users decide to apply it. In particular, if the on-screen keyboard needs to be started regularly. But knowing how to open it in the standard way is necessary. It requires:
- click on “Start”;
- then go to the “All Programs” tab;
- then to the “Standard”;
- after that to the thematic section “Special Features”;
- and in the list that opens, select the keyboard.
In this simple way we can turn on keyboard on PC or notebook.
Now for the alternatives, which are used in addition to the standard method. If you do not know how to turn on the virtual on-screen keyboard on your computer relatively quickly, then use a special command.
Here you will need to perform literally a few steps:
Quite an easy way to display your computer or laptop the desired virtual keyboard.
The thing is, OSK stands for On Screen Keyboard. It is a standard command for any version of Windows. At the same time, this is not the last option, how to display the necessary virtual keyboard on the screen of your computer device.
A great option on how you can easily invoke the virtual on-screen keyboard on different versions of the Windows operating system, including Windows 10 and already stopped receiving updates Windows 7. And the method seems to be the most obvious one. But for some reason some users forget that operating systems have a built-in search for files, programs, applications and other components.
To open the on-screen keyboard you’re looking for on Windows 7 or another edition of the popular operating system, simply:
- open the Start menu;
- at the bottom to find the search bar;
- start typing the word on-screen;
- wait for the search results to appear;
- launch the necessary tool from among the offered ones.
It literally takes a few seconds to. That’s it, the virtual data entry device is in front of your eyes. It is safe to say that this is one of the fastest ways to display an on-screen keyboard on your computer or laptop desktop. But, again, not the last one.
If you want to display a virtual on-screen keyboard on your desktop, and you will be using the tool very often, a great solution can be to create a special shortcut on the taskbar.
Again, the method is extremely simple. The advantage is that once configured, the corresponding tool will always appear in the taskbar at the bottom of the screen. Just click on it, and the tool will open.
A really convenient variant. To be able to launch the on-screen keyboard at any time through the taskbar, you need to do the following:
- via the “Start” menu to open the folder with special features;
- or use the search bar;
- to find the corresponding shortcut of the virtual keyboard tool;
- Right-click on it;
- in the context menu, select the Pin to taskbar option;
- Additionally it can be docked to the “Start” menu.
This greatly speeds up the launch of the function. Besides, it is enough to do this procedure once and then you will not have to open Start and look for this shortcut in the folders with special features. Everything is already on your desktop, and opens literally with one click.
Many people who need to enable the virtual on-screen keyboard on computers running Windows 8 and Windows 7 choose this option.
Shortcut on the Desktop
If there is a need, you can configure your built-in Windows on-screen keyboard so that it starts with a shortcut directly on the desktop.
Here, too, you will have to perform several procedures. But then all you have to do is to click on the shortcut and everything will work. It saves a lot of time in comparison with launching from the shortcut location in the Start menu and in the folder with special features.
Since you already know how to find the necessary virtual keyboard on your computer, it won’t be a problem to quickly create a working and functional shortcut.
How to open onscreen keyboard on laptop
Here you will need to perform several successive operations:
- find the tool’s main shortcut by using the Search or Start menu;
- right-click on it;
- click on “Properties” in the context menu that opens;
- Click on the “Shortcut” tab in the window that appears;
- copy all the contents from the “Object” column;
- on any free space on your desktop, right-click on the screen;
- choose the “Shortcut” option in the context menu;
- paste copied values from the shortcut’s properties in the object’s location line;
- click the Next button;
- think of a suitable and convenient name for the new shortcut, or just write “On-screen keyboard” in the standard way;
- click on the “Done” button.
That’s it, now you have a shortcut on your desktop, and when you launch it the virtual keyboard will open automatically.
You can make some more improvements to the shortcut created in the previous step. Namely to teach it to open simply by pressing certain keys. For some users this is even more appropriate than the usual double-click on the shortcut.
For the tool to start by pressing a combination of buttons on the regular keyboard, you need to do the following:
- right-click on the created shortcut;
- select the properties menu;
- Open the section with the quick access settings;
- Here, the standard value should be “No”;
- click on this section and specify the desired combination;
- save changes made.
This option uses a combination of 3 buttons. The first two are always standard, and you can not change them. This is Ctrl and Alt. And the third button the user chooses at his discretion. The main thing is that it must not overlap with the functions of other hotkeys.
It is worth telling separately about the hot keys in the case of Windows 10. Previous versions of Windows operating systems did not have standard combinations set at the OS level. So the user had to set the way of autorun by pressing these or those buttons.
But with the advent of the updated version of Windows 10 there are standard keys. This is a combination of the buttons Win, Ctrl and O. If you press them simultaneously, a virtual keyboard will appear on your desktop. And the same combination of keys will also disable the function.
Use Windows RUN
If the onscreen keyboard still doesn’t appear when you enable it with a keyboard shortcut or from the Options menu you can try forcing it from the Windows Runtime window.
Simply open the Windows “Run” console using the Win R shortcut, type the command below in the dialog box and press Enter on your keyboard.
This should immediately launch the on-screen keyboard on your PC screen.