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On-Screen Keyboard \windows\system32\osk.exe

A full, onscreen keyboard controlled by the pointing device.

To Open

Start Programs Accessories Accessibility On-Screen Keyboard

Command Prompt osk


Among the tools provided with Windows XP to assist those with physical disabilities is the On-Screen Keyboard. Intended to be used by those who are unable to comfortably use a keyboard, the On-Screen Keyboard allows any key normally available on the keyboard to be pressed with click of the mouse, or whatever pointing device is currently being used (see Figure 4-67).

Figure 4-67. The On-Screen Keyboard lets you type by pointing and clicking

What makes the On-Screen Keyboard especially appropriate as a primary input device is that you can click keys when another application has the focus. For example, open the On-Screen Keyboard, and then open your word processor; the keyboard will float above the word processor, allowing you to click any key to “type” it into your document.

Configuring the On-Screen Keyboard is straightforward. Use the Keyboard menu to change the layout of the keys, or Settings Font to change the font of the key labels. Go to Settings Typing Mode to choose how keys are pressed; by default, each key must be clicked, but you can set it up so that you can hover over keys to select them, or even use a joystick to control the keyboard.


Also included with Windows XP is the Character Map (discussed earlier in this chapter), which allows access to symbols and other characters not normally available on a standard keyboard. However, only the On-Screen Keyboard is designed to be a primary input device.

See Also

“Microsoft Magnifier”, “Narrator”, “Utility Manager”, “Character Map”

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