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How to use the on-screen keyboard in Apple OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion

How to use the on-screen keyboard in Apple OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion

Note: For keyboard access make sure ‘Full keyboard access’ is turned on - you can turn it on or off; by pressing ‘Ctrl’ + ‘F1’ at any time.


The on-screen keyboard can be used instead of a physical keyboard to interact with your computer. You can use your mouse or pointing device to select the keys.

This page shows you how to start the Mac OS X on-screen keyboard and explains how it works:

Step 1

  • Make sure you are in ‘Finder’, press ‘Apple’ + ‘Tab’ if necessary to cycle through open applications until you return to ‘Finder’.
  • Click on the ‘Apple’ menu in the top-left of the screen or press ‘Ctrl’ + ‘F2’.
  • Click on ‘System Preferences...’ as shown in Fig 1 or press the down arrow key to highlight it and then press ‘Enter’.

Fig 1

Step 2

  • Choose 'Keyboard' or press 'Tab' repeatedly (you might need to press 'Ctrl' + 'F7' first) to cycle through the icons until the 'Keybaord' icon is highlighted and then press the 'Spacebar'. Fig 2

Fig 2

  • Click to select or ‘Tab’ to the ‘Show Keyboard & Character Viewer in menu bar’ checkbox and press the ‘Spacebar’ to select, Fig 3.

The Keyboard settings screen
Fig 3

  • Click on the 'Keyboard' window's close button or press ‘Apple’ + ‘W’.
  • To view the keyboard, click on the ‘Show Character’ in the upper right of the Apple menu  and select ‘Show Keyboard Viewer’ (No Keyboard shortcut), Fig 4.

The Keyboard icon in the right of the menu bar.
Fig 4

  • The on-screen keyboard will appear and float over all applications. To make the keyboard larger or smaller click on the green ‘+’ symbol in the top-left of the keyboard , Fig 5.

Fig 5

Note: If this does not work it could be because your computer settings cannot be changed due to local IT policies - contact your local IT support for further help.

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