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Turn On And Customise The On-Screen Keyboard

How To Change The Settings So That The Keyboard Is More Accessible Or Can Be Used On-Screen.

 

There are a number of ways you can adapt your computer to make it easier to use the keyboard. These guides explain how to customise your operating system (Windows or Mac ), so that you can use the keyboard with one hand, for instance, or minimise accidental keystrokes. You can also set up the on-screen keyboard and learn shortcuts and other tricks to reduce the amount of typing you need to do.

Here is a way to do this…

  • Turn on and customise the on-screen keyboard

Activate your operating system’s virtual keyboard, so you can use a mouse, switch or other device instead of a physical keyboard.

  1. Windows 7
  2. Mac OS X

How To Turn On And Customise The On-Screen Keyboard In Windows 7

This page explains step-by-step how to turn on and customise the on-screen keyboard in Windows 7. An on-screen keyboard may be the best way to input information if you have a physical condition that makes using a keyboard difficult but you are able to use a mouse or other pointing device.

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 joystick.

Note: The ‘Ease of Access Center’ has replaced ‘Accessibility Options’ (which was used in earlier versions of Windows) in the ‘Control Panel’ of Windows 7.

Step 1: Use the on-screen keyboard now

Open the ‘Ease of Access Center’ window by pressing the Windows key + U, or by clicking the ‘Start‘ button, followed by ‘Control Panel‘, then ‘Ease of Access‘, then ‘Ease of Access Center‘.

Under the ‘Quick access to common tools’ header, click ‘Start On-Screen Keyboard‘, as shown in Fig 1, or press Alt + K. This will start the on-screen keyboard for current use.

Fig 1

Step 2: Set the on-screen keyboard to start every time

Follow these steps to make the on-screen keyboard start automatically when you log in.

Open the ‘Ease of Access Center’ window as in step 1. Under the ‘Explore all settings’ header, click on ‘Use the computer without a mouse or keyboard‘ (Fig 2), or press Tab until it is highlighted and then press Enter.

Fig 2

Under the ‘Type using a pointing device’ header, tick the box next to ‘Use On-Screen Keyboard‘, as shown in Fig 3, or press Alt + K to tick it. Click the ‘OK‘ button, or press Tab until it is highlighted and then press Enter, to finish.

Fig 3

Step 3: Select how to use the on-screen keyboard

Once the keyboard is on screen, as shown in Fig 4, you can tailor it to suit your needs. Click the ‘Options‘ key on the on-screen keyboard to open the ‘Options’ window (Fig 5).

Fig 4

There are several ways you can choose to operate the keyboard, as shown in Fig 5.

Fig 5

Click the radio button next to ‘Click on keys‘ to access the keyboard with a mouse or other pointing device by clicking on the cell (on-screen key) you wish to use.

Click the radio button next to ‘Hover over keys‘ to access the keyboard with a mouse or other pointing device by ‘hovering’ over the cell to select it. You can choose the length of time that you will be required to hover by dragging the ‘Hover duration‘ slider.

Click the radio button next to ‘Scan through keys‘ to access the keyboard using a range of access devices, including the spacebar, a switch or a game pad. The scanning speed can be selected by dragging the ‘Scanning speed‘ slider.

Step 4: Turn on Text Prediction

In Windows 7, the On-screen Keyboard has an integrated text-prediction tool (shown in the top row in Fig 6), which can speed up typing and help with spelling.

To turn on text prediction, tick the box next to ‘Use Text Prediction‘, as shown in Fig 5. By ticking the box below it, you can also choose to add a space after all selected words.

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.



How To Use The On-Screen Keyboard In Mac OS X

This page explains step-by-step how to turn on and use the on-screen keyboard in Mac OS X. An on-screen keyboard may be the best way to input information if you have a physical condition that makes using a keyboard difficult but you are able to use a mouse or other pointing device.

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 joystick.

Note: The following abbreviations for keys on the Mac are used: Ctrl is used for the Control key, Apple is used for the Command key, and Alt is used for the Option key. 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.

Step 1: Set up the on-screen keyboard

Make sure you are in ‘Finder’. If necessary, press Apple + Tab to cycle through the open applications until you return to ‘Finder’.

Click on the ‘Apple‘ icon on the menu bar 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

Click on the ‘International‘ icon, as shown in Fig 2, or press Tab repeatedly (you might need to press Ctrl + F7 first) to cycle through the icons until the ‘International’ icon is highlighted and then press the Spacebar.

Fig 2

In the ‘International’ window (Fig 3), make sure the ‘Input Menu‘ tab is selected. If it is not, click on it, or press Ctrl + F7 to highlight one of the tabs and then press the left or right arrow key to select it.

To turn the Keyboard Viewer on, tick the box next to ‘Keyboard Viewer‘ by clicking on it (there is no keyboard shortcut for this).

Tick the box next to ‘Show input menu in menu bar‘ by clicking on it. Or press Tab until it is highlighted and then press the Spacebar to tick it.

Fig 3

Click on the ‘International’ window’s red close button or press Apple + W.

Step 2: Turn on the on-screen Keyboard Viewer

To view the keyboard, click on the ‘International’ (flag) icon near the upper right corner of the menu bar. Select ‘Show Keyboard Viewer‘ from the drop-down menu as shown in Fig 4. (There is no keyboard shortcut for this).

Fig 4

The on-screen keyboard (shown in Fig 5) will appear and float over all applications.

Fig 5

To make the keyboard larger, click on the green ‘+‘ symbol on the keyboard.



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