How to turn on the on-screen keyboard in Gnome 2.2

This page explains step-by-step how to turn on and customise the on-screen keyboard in Gnome for Linux. 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.

Use the on-screen keyboard in Gnome 2.2

Note: You will be required to log out and log back on to apply the changes here. Be sure to save and close any open documents.

Click on 'System' in the menu bar, then 'Preferences' and then 'Assistive Technologies' to open the 'Assistive Technologies Preferences' window shown in Fig 1. Alternatively, press Alt + F1 and then use the arrow keys to move to 'System', then 'Preferences', then 'Assistive Technologies', and then press Enter.

Fig 1Detail from 'Assistive Technologies Preferences' window

The box next to 'Enable assistive technologies' should be ticked. If it is not, tick it by clicking on it, or press Alt + E to tick it.

Click the 'Preferred Applications' button, or press Alt + P, to open the 'Preferred Applications' window, shown in Fig 2.

Fig 2Detail from 'Preferred Applications' window

Under the 'Mobility' header, click on the drop-down button and select 'onBoard', or press Tab until the drop-down button is highlighted and then use the arrow keys to select 'onBoard'.

The box next to 'Run at start' should be ticked. If it is not, tick it by clicking on it, or press Alt + A to tick it.

Click 'Close' or press Alt + C to return to the 'Assistive Technologies Preferences' window shown in Fig 1.

Finally, click on the 'Close and Log Out' button, or press Alt + L, to apply the changes and reboot the desktop with the new settings. If the 'Close and Log Out' button is not enabled, click the 'Close' button or press Alt + C. If necessary, you may then need to log out and then log back on again to activate the keyboard.

Back to How to guides - I find a keyboard or mouse hard to use

More ways to: Make your keyboard easier to use

Change the keyboard settings on your computer

Control the pace of repeated keystrokes and avoid miss-keys

Use the keyboard with one hand

Set it so you don't have to hold down multiple keys at once

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