On iPad, you can use the onscreen keyboard to enter and edit text. You can also use Dictation, an external keyboard, and Apple Pencil to enter text.

Enter text using the onscreen keyboard

In any app that allows text editing, open the onscreen keyboard by tapping a text field. You can pinch closed to shrink the keyboard, then tap individual keys to type, or use QuickPath to type by sliding from one letter to the next without lifting your finger (not available for all languages). To end a word, lift your finger. (If you tap the Delete key after sliding to type a word, it deletes the whole word.) You can drag the smaller keyboard from the bottom of the screen to move it wherever you want for easy one-handed typing. To return to the full-size keyboard, pinch open. On the full-size keyboard, you tap keys to type. While entering text, you can do any of the following on both the smaller keyboard and the full-size keyboard:

  • Type uppercase letters: Tap the Shift key , or touch the Shift key , then slide to a letter.
  • Turn on Caps Lock: Double-tap the Shift key .
  • Quickly end a sentence with a period and a space: Double-tap the Space bar.
  • Correct spelling: Tap a misspelled word (underlined in red) to see suggested corrections, then tap a suggestion to replace the word, or type the correction.
  • Enter numbers, punctuation, or symbols: Tap the Numbers key or the Symbols key .
  • Undo the last edit: Swipe left with three fingers, then tap Undo at the top of the screen; or tap the Undo button .
  • Redo the last edit: Swipe right with three fingers, then tap Redo at the top of the screen; or tap the Redo button .
  • Hide the onscreen keyboard: Tap the Hide Keyboard key .

See Select, cut, copy, and paste text on iPad.

Enter emoji with the onscreen keyboard

  1. Open the onscreen keyboard by tapping a text field.
  2. Switch to the emoji keyboard by tapping the Next Keyboard, Emoji key or the Next Keyboard key .
  3. To search for an emoji, tap the Search button at the bottom left, then enter a commonly used word—such as “heart” or “smiley face”—in the search field above the keyboard.
  4. To enter an emoji, tap it.To see more choices, swipe through the emoji that appear.
  5. To return to the regular keyboard, tap ABC in the lower-left corner.

See Switch between keyboards with iPad.

Turn the onscreen keyboard into a trackpad

  1. Touch and hold the Space bar with one finger until the keyboard turns light gray.
  2. Move the insertion point by dragging around the keyboard.A note being edited after the keyboard has been turned into a trackpad. The keyboard is dimmed to show that it now works as a trackpad.
  3. To select text, touch and hold the keyboard with a second finger, then adjust the selection by moving the first finger around the keyboard.

See Select, cut, copy, and paste text for more ways to select text.

Enter accented letters or other characters while typing

While typing, touch and hold the letter, number, or symbol on the keyboard that’s related to the character you want. For example, to enter é, touch and hold the e key, then slide to choose a variant. A keyboard at the bottom of the iPad screen, showing alternate accented characters that appear when you touch and hold the E key. You can also do any of the following:

  • On a Thai keyboard: To choose native numbers, touch and hold the related Arabic number.
  • On a Chinese, Japanese, or Arabic keyboard: Tap a suggested character or candidate at the top of the keyboard to enter it, or swipe left to see more candidates.Note: To view the full candidate list, tap the up arrow on the right. To return to the short list, tap the down arrow.

Set typing options

You can turn on special typing features—such as predictive text and auto-correction—that assist you when you type on iPad. While typing using the onscreen keyboard, touch and hold the Next Keyboard Emoji key or the Switch Keyboard key , tap Keyboard Settings, then turn typing features (below All Keyboards) on or off. There are several different kinds of keyboards for PCs. The most common type is a physical, external keyboard that plugs into your PC. But Windows has a built-in Accessibility tool called the On-Screen Keyboard (OSK) that can be used instead of a physical keyboard. You don’t need a touchscreen to use the OSK. It displays a visual keyboard with all the standard keys, so you can use your mouse or another pointing device to select keys, or use a physical single key or group of keys to cycle through the keys on the screen. Note: A PC with a touchscreen also has a touch keyboard. The touch keyboard will appear when you tap inside a text box when your PC is in tablet mode.

To open the On-Screen Keyboard

Go to Start , then select Settings > Accessibility > Keyboard, and turn on the On-Screen Keyboard toggle. A keyboard that can be used to move around the screen and enter text will appear on the screen. The keyboard will remain on the screen until you close it. Note: To open the OSK from the sign-in screen, select the Accessibility button in the lower-right corner of the sign-in screen, and then select On-Screen Keyboard.

To change how info is entered into the On-Screen Keyboard

With the OSK open, select the Options key, and choose the options you want:

  • Use click sound: Use this option if you want to hear a sound when you press a key.
  • Show keys to make it easier to move around the screen: Use this option if you want the keys to light up as you type.
  • Turn on numeric keypad: Use this option to expand the OSK to show a numeric keypad.
  • Click on keys: Use this mode if you prefer to click or tap the on-screen keys to enter text.
  • Hover over keys: Use this mode if you use a mouse or joystick to point to a key. The characters you point to are entered automatically when you point to them for a specified time.
  • Scan through keys: Use this mode if you want the OSK to continually scan the keyboard. Scan mode highlights areas where you can type keyboard characters by pressing a keyboard shortcut, using a switch input device, or using a device that simulates a mouse click.
  • Use Text Prediction: Use this option if you want the OSK to suggest words for you as you type so you don’t need to type each complete word.

Notes:

  • Text Prediction is available in English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish. If you want to use one of these languages and it isn’t installed, install the language files for that language.
  • If you’re using either hovering mode or scanning mode and accidently minimize the OSK, you can restore it by pointing to it in the taskbar (for hovering mode) or by pressing the scan key (for scanning mode).
  • If you minimize the OSK and switch to tablet mode, use the Task view button to get back to the OSK.

There are several different kinds of keyboards for PCs. The most common type is a physical, external keyboard that plugs into your PC. But Windows has a built-in Ease of Access tool called the On-Screen Keyboard (OSK) that can be used instead of a physical keyboard. You don’t need a touchscreen to use the OSK. It displays a visual keyboard with all the standard keys, so you can use your mouse or another pointing device to select keys, or use a physical single key or group of keys to cycle through the keys on the screen. Note: A PC with a touchscreen also has a touch keyboard. The touch keyboard will appear when you tap inside a text box when your PC is in tablet mode.

To open the On-Screen Keyboard

Go to Start , then select Settings > Ease of Access > Keyboard, and turn on the toggle under Use the On-Screen Keyboard. A keyboard that can be used to move around the screen and enter text will appear on the screen. The keyboard will remain on the screen until you close it. Note: To open the OSK from the sign-in screen, select the Ease of Access button in the lower-right corner of the sign-in screen, and then select On-Screen Keyboard.

To change how info is entered into the On-Screen Keyboard

With the OSK open, select the Options key, and choose the options you want:

  • Use click sound. Use this option if you want to hear a sound when you press a key.
  • Show keys to make it easier to move around the screen. Use this option if you want the keys to light up as you type.
  • Turn on numeric keypad. Use this option to expand the OSK to show a numeric keypad.
  • Click on keys. Use this mode if you prefer to click or tap the on-screen keys to enter text.
  • Hover over keys. Use this mode if you use a mouse or joystick to point to a key. The characters you point to are entered automatically when you point to them for a specified time.
  • Scan through keys. Use this mode if you want the OSK to continually scan the keyboard. Scan mode highlights areas where you can type keyboard characters by pressing a keyboard shortcut, using a switch input device, or using a device that simulates a mouse click.
  • Use Text Prediction. Use this option if you want the OSK to suggest words for you as you type so you don’t need to type each complete word.

Notes:

  • Text Prediction is available in English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish. If you want to use one of these languages and it isn’t installed, install the language files for that language.
  • If you’re using either hovering mode or scanning mode and accidently minimize the OSK, you can restore it by pointing to it in the taskbar (for hovering mode) or by pressing the scan key (for scanning mode).
  • If you minimize the OSK and switch to tablet mode, use the Task view button to get back to the OSK.

Your browser does not support video. Install Microsoft Silverlight, Adobe Flash Player, or Internet Explorer 9. There are a few different kinds of keyboards. The most common is a physical, external keyboard that you plug into your PC. Windows also has the On-Screen Keyboard (OSK), an Ease of Access tool. Use the OSK instead of a physical keyboard to move around your PC and enter text. You don’t need a touchscreen to use the OSK. The OSK displays a visual keyboard with all the standard keys. Select keys using the mouse or another pointing device, or use a physical single key or group of keys to cycle through the keys on the screen. Note: A PC with a touchscreen also has a touch keyboard. When you’re using a Windows PC with a touchscreen, tap in a text field or other area where you can type and the touch keyboard appears. For more info about the touch keyboard, see How to use the touch keyboard.

To open the On-Screen Keyboard

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search.
    (If you’re using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, and then click Search.)
  2. Enter On-Screen Keyboard in the search box, and then tap or click On-Screen Keyboard.A keyboard appears on the screen that can be used to move around your PC and enter text. The keyboard will remain on the screen until you close it.Note: To open the OSK from the sign-in screen, tap or click the Ease of Access Ease of Access button button in the lower-left corner of the sign-in screen, and then tap or click On-Screen Keyboard.

To change how info is entered into the On-Screen Keyboard

With the OSK open, tap or click the OSK Options key, and then select the options you want:

  • Use click sound. Use this option if you want to hear a sound when you press a key.
  • Show keys to make it easier to move around the screen. Use this option if you want the keys to light up as you type.
  • Turn on numeric keypad. Use this option to expand the OSK to show a numeric keypad.
  • Click on keys. Use this mode if you prefer to click or tap the on-screen keys to enter text.
  • Hover over keys. Use this mode if you use a mouse or joystick to point to a key. The characters you point to are entered automatically when you point to them for a specified time.
  • Scan through keys. Use this mode if you want the OSK to continually scan the keyboard. Scan mode highlights areas where you can type keyboard characters by pressing a keyboard shortcut, using a switch input device, or using a device that simulates a mouse click.
  • Use Text Prediction. Use this option if you want the OSK to suggest words for you as you type so you don’t need to type each complete word.

Notes:

  • Text Prediction is available in English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish. If you want to use one of these languages and it isn’t installed, install the language files for that language.
  • If you’re using either hovering mode or scanning mode and accidently minimize the OSK, you can restore it by pointing to it in the taskbar (for hovering mode) or by pressing the scan key (for scanning mode).
  • If you minimize the OSK and switch to the Start screen or a full-screen app, you won’t be able to get to the OSK. Open the OSK first, and then go to the Start screen or app.

Instead of relying on the physical keyboard to type and enter data, you can use On-Screen Keyboard. On-Screen Keyboard displays a visual keyboard with all the standard keys. You can select keys using the mouse or another pointing device, or you can use a single key or group of keys to cycle through the keys on the screen. Watch this video to learn how to type without using the keyboard (1:21) Your browser does not support video. Install Microsoft Silverlight, Adobe Flash Player, or Internet Explorer 9.

To type without using the keyboard

Open On-Screen Keyboard by clicking the Start button, clicking All Programs, clicking Accessories, clicking Ease of Access, and then clicking On-Screen Keyboard.

  1. Open On-Screen Keyboard by clicking the Start button, clicking All Programs, clicking Accessories, clicking Ease of Access, and then clicking On-Screen Keyboard.
  2. Click Options, and then, under To use the On-Screen Keyboard, select the mode you want:
Typing mode Description
Click on keys In clicking mode, you click the on-screen keys to type text.
Hover over keys In hovering mode, you use a mouse or joystick to point to a key for a predefined period of time, and the selected character is typed automatically.
Scan through keys In scanning mode, On-Screen Keyboard continually scans the keyboard and highlights areas where you can type keyboard characters by pressing a keyboard shortcut, using a switch input device, or using a device that simulates a mouse click.

Notes:

  • If you’re using either hovering mode or scanning mode and accidently minimize On-Screen Keyboard, you can restore it by pointing to it in the taskbar (for hovering mode) or by pressing the scan key (for scanning mode).
  • If you’re using a mouse click to select a key in the Scan through keys mode, the mouse pointer must be located over On-Screen Keyboard.
  • The keyboard layout changes in On-Screen Keyboard depending on the language displayed in the active program.

You can have On-Screen Keyboard make an audible click when a key is pressed.

  1. Open On-Screen Keyboard by clicking the Start button, clicking All Programs, clicking Accessories, clicking Ease of Access, and then clicking On-Screen Keyboard.
  2. Click Options, select the Use click sound check box, and then click OK.

You can use a numeric key pad to enter numbers with On-Screen Keyboard.

  1. Open On-Screen Keyboard by clicking the Start button, clicking All Programs, clicking Accessories, clicking Ease of Access, and then clicking On-Screen Keyboard.
  2. Click Options, select the Turn on numeric key pad check box, and then click OK.

When text prediction is enabled, as you type, On-Screen Keyboard displays a list of words that you might be typing.

  1. Open On-Screen Keyboard by clicking the Start button, clicking All Programs, clicking Accessories, clicking Ease of Access, and then clicking On-Screen Keyboard.
  2. Click Options, select the Use Text Prediction check box, and then click OK.If you don’t want to automatically add a space after you insert a word using text prediction, clear the Insert space after predicted words check box, and then click OK.

Notes:

  • Text prediction is only available in English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish. To enable text prediction in a specific language, you must first install additional language files for that language.
  • Text prediction isn’t included in Windows 7 Home Basic.

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Tech Specs

Interface Languages Virtual Keyboard UI Languages Supported Operating Systems Microsoft® Windows® 11 / 10 / 8.1 / 8 / 7 / Vista® / XP Microsoft Windows Server® 2022 / 2019 / 2016 / 2012 / 2008 / 2003


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