How to Open the On-Screen Keyboard

You are probably wondering why you would ever need an on-screen keyboard when you have a real keyboard right in front of you. Well things happen, and trust me, one day you may need it.

A friend of mine used it regularly because he was missing a few keys off his laptop keyboard.. They were not cheap to replace either.

onscreen Keyboard layout

It is also great for people with disabilities that find it easier to use a mouse rather than a keyboard. If you open the on-screen keyboard you can use your mouse to press the keys to type.

How To open the On-screen Keyboard

  1. Click on start at the bottom left corner.
  2. Choose run and type OSK.
  3. Then the on-screen keyboard will come up.

open the on-screen keyboard

You can also search for the osk.exe file, then right click on the file and choose open containing folder. Then you can double click on the file to open the on-screen keyboard. But going to the start menu is the easiest way.

How to Open the Onscreen Keyboard When Your Computer Keyboard Does Not Work?

If you can use your mouse, then you can open the on-screen keyboard. This is handy if you keyboard does not work when you need it.

Open the On-screen Keyboard for Windows XP

  1. Click on start at the bottom left corner.
  2. Then choose All Programs>Accessories>Accessibility>Onscreen keyboard

Open the On-screen Keyboard for Windows Vista

  1. Go to the Vista logo.
  2. Click All Programs, then Accessories.
  3. Choose Ergonomic options and then On-Screen Keyboard.

Open the On-screen Keyboard for Windows Seven

  1. Go to the Start button.
  2. Click All Programs, then Accessories.
  3. Then choose Ease of Access, and then On-Screen Keyboard.

To open On-Screen Keyboard for Windows 8

  1. From the Start screen, tap or click the Desktop tile to open the desktop.
  2. Open Control Panel by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, tapping Settings, and then tapping Control Panel(or if you’re using a mouse, pointing to the upper-right corner of the screen, moving the mouse pointer down, clickingSettings, and then clicking Control Panel).
  3. Tap or click Ease of Access, and then tap or click Ease of Access Center.
  4. Tap or click Start On-Screen Keyboard. Source

Create a Desktop Short-cut to Open the On-screen Keyboard

If you want to use this keyboard regularly you can create a desktop shortcut to it. Here’s how.

  1. Right click on the desktop.
  2. Choose new from the menu. Then choose shortcut.
  3. Type in the path to your file which is c:windowssystem32osk.exe
  4. Then name your shortcut ,osk, click next, and then click finish.
  5. An icon will now be on the desktop.
  6. Click on it and test it.

I hope this tutorial can help you open your on-screen keyboard. First published Jun 1, 2010. Now updated for all Windows versions.


  1. Rohit says

    nice tips mitz..
    sometimes the onscreen keyboard proves itself a great help. I rarely use this trick, windows 7 and windows 8 has a utility button at the start screen so there is no need to enter any command. :)

  2. says

    On screen keyboards are a useful option available with the users and your post has justfully explained the advantage of it. Thakns for sharing this info.

  3. says

    Nice tips mitz. I couldn’t find it in Windows 8 before, but now with the help of your instructions I found it out. Well I am quite a lazy guy using a desktop PC, On-screen keyboard really help me a lot when I am on bed and don’t want to wake up just to type some commands on my computer. Now I can do it with mouse only. Thanks for sharing the tips.

  4. says

    Very useful tips! Though it is seldom to experience the malfunction of the keyboards but these tips can be applied just in case.

  5. says

    Using an on screen keyboard proves useful not only if your real keyboard has lost some keys, but one more important use of on screen keyboard is to enter very crucial passwords like banking or credit card details or similar things.

    This way, one can save himself from a hardware key-logger.

  6. says

    I think new generation system have this feature, all touch screen system display on screen keyboard , but maximun web workers are used to keyboards and we don’t feel comfortable with on screen keywboards

  7. says

    wow, i did not know that we could also create a shortcut so as to open it. However I did know how to open this from the start menu. Thanks.

  8. says

    On-Screen Keyboard is an important feature, but it’s rarely used. Typing long documents using the On-Screen Keyboard is very time consuming. If a keyboard breaks while working on an important task, it’s probably a better idea to have a cheap keyboard as a replacement.

  9. says

    On-screen keyboard is such an awesome feature on Windows. It allow many users to access multiple keys at one time. I have used it several times on my computer. I always use it when I am sitting at a different from my computer, and trying to chat with someone.

  10. merlin says

    you can also download some free software’s for displaying very good, simple and good user-interfaces. Just search on Google and you can see a number of on-Screen key board or you can use native keyboard app and follow the instructions as given above.

  11. says

    Until recently, I didn’t know this feature existed in Windows. It really is useful, though I will say perhaps the reason I use it is a bit weird. For example, I have a fully functional keyboard, but sometimes one of my cats will jump up on my lap and go to sleep, and if I lean forward to type something, well, that movement will wake them up! So I usually just pull up the On-Screen keyboard and get by that way.

    Anyways, good article to bring attention to a handy feature!

  12. says

    yet another unique topic that i didnt know before reading this (post) .. Thanks for Sharing this Mitz , waiting for more such topics


  13. Piyush says

    oops its really good because some key of my lappy was not working than i use onscreen keyborad..
    you may got it easily in type onscreen keyboard on your “run” box.

  14. says

    oh wow that is really great this online screen keyboard can really help while a keyboard is dead ! I’ll surely use this on screen keyboard whenever I need to use it.

  15. Shanice says

    How do u do this but without the use of ur keyboard, the keyboard isn’t working so all I have is the mouse and I want to bring up the manual keyboard

    • says

      Go to Start > All Programs > Accessories > Accessibility > On-Screen Keyboard (in XP)
      or Vista logo > Accessories > Accessibility > Ergonomic options > On-Screen Keyboard (in Vista)
      or Start button , clicking All Programs, clicking Accessories, clicking Ease of Access, and then clicking On-Screen Keyboard (Windows 7)

  16. says

    Wooooot! Another thing I didn’t know. I’m using it right now. It’s a bit slow so I’ll switch back.
    It looks a lot cooler than the windows xp version though. But it works. and that accesibility section has some other cool programs as well.
    I did have to turn off the annoying click sound. :)