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Windows 7 and Windows 8 – Using Windows on-screen keyboard

Some people have a physical condition that means they find using a keyboard difficult. Many of them, however, may be able to use a mouse or mouse equivalent.

These people may find using an on-screen keyboard the best way to input information. An on-screen keyboard looks just like a picture of a keyboard on the screen.

Letters can be selected from the keyboard using a mouse, a single switch, or a pointing device.

Windows 8

  • To open the Ease of Access Centre press ‘Windows’ logo key +‘U’
  • On a touch-enabled device, swipe in from the right hand edge of the screen then tap ‘Search’ and enter Ease of Access in the search box.
  • Tap ‘Settings’ then tap ‘Ease of Access Centre’ from the search results.
  • Using a mouse move the mouse pointer to the upper right hand corner of the screen, then move the pointer down to select ‘Search’ and enter Ease of Access in the search box.
  • Tap ‘Settings’ then tap ‘Ease of Access Centre’ from the search results.

windows_8_Accessibility_settings

Ease of Access page

You can find more settings on the Ease of Access page where you can assign ‘Windows’ key + ‘Volumn Up’ quickly turn on ‘On-Screen Keyboard’.

  • On a touch-enabled device, swipe in from the right hand edge of the screen then tap ‘Search’ and enter Ease of Access in the search box.
  • Tap ‘Settings’ then tap ‘Ease of Access’ from the search results.
  • Using a mouse move the mouse pointer to the upper right hand corner of the screen, then move the pointer down to select ‘Search’ and enter Ease of Access in the search box.
  • Tap ‘Settings’ then tap ‘Ease of Access’
  • Tab to the drop down under ‘Pressing Windows + Volume Up will turn on’ and use the up and down arrow keys to select ‘On-Screen Keyboard’.

Windows 7

  • Ease of Access Center has replaced Accessibility Options in the ‘Control Panel’.
  • Open Ease of Access Center press ‘Windows’ logo key + ‘U’ or click Start button ‘Control Panel’ + ‘Ease of Access’ + ‘Ease of Access Center’.
  • The windows 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.

Windows 7 and 8

Step 1

  • Open the ‘Ease of Access Center’, under Quick access to common tools press ‘Alt’ + ‘K’ or select ‘Start On-Screen Keyboard’, see Fig 1. This will start the key board for current use.


Fig 1

  • To have the keyboard start at your login, under Explore all settings, ‘Tab’ to or select ‘Use the computer without a mouse or keyboard’ and press ‘Enter’, Fig 2.


Fig 2

  • Under Type using a pointing device, press ‘Alt’ + ‘K’ or click to select ‘Use On-Screen Keyboard’ and press ‘Alt’ + ‘O’ or click ‘OK’, Fig 3.


Fig 3

Once the keyboard is on screen you can tailor it to suit your needs, click on options on the on screen keyboard to open the options window, Fig 4.


Fig 4

There are several ways you can use the keyboard select or press:

  • ‘Click on keys’ or press ‘Alt’ + ‘C’ to access the keyboard with a mouse or other pointing device by clicking on the cell you wish to use.
  • ‘Hover over Keys’ or press ‘Alt’ + ‘H’ to access the keyboard with a mouse or other pointing device by ‘hovering’ over the cell to select. You can select the length of time that you will be required to hover by using ‘Hover duration’ slider.
  • ‘Scan through keys’ or press ‘Alt’ + ‘S’ to access the keyboard using a range of access devices including the spacebar, switch or gamepad.
  • The scanning speed can be selected through the use of the ‘Scanning Speed’ slider.


Fig 5

Text Prediction

In Windows 7 and 8 the On-screen Keyboard has an integrated text prediction tool to speed up typing and to help with spelling.

  • To turn on text prediction select ‘Use Text Prediction’ or press ‘Alt’ + ‘T’, you can also choose to add a space to all selected words, click to select or press ‘Alt’ + ‘W’, Fig 6.


Fig 6

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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