How to turn on the on-screen keyboard in KDE 4

This page explains step-by-step how to turn on and customise the on-screen keyboard in KDE 4 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.

An on-screen keyboard looks just like a picture of a keyboard on the screen. Note that the on-screen keyboard in KDE 4 is very basic application, with less sophistication than the corresponding Gnome version. Letters can be selected from the keyboard only by using a mouse, not other types of pointing devices. You are also required to click the various keys - there are no auto-click or scanning options as standard.

Video how to guide

Text version

Using the on-screen keyboard in KDE 4

Use the on-screen keyboard in KDE 4

Click on the 'K' icon on the menu bar, or press Alt + F1, to open 'Kickoff' as shown in Fig 1.

Fig 1'Kickoff' menu

Click on 'Applications' and then 'Utilities', or use the arrow keys to select these and then press Enter.

To open the Kvkbd application, click on 'Virtual Keyboard' in the 'Utilities' submenu, or use the down arrow to select it and then press Enter. This will launch the Kvkbd keyboard, shown in Fig 2.

Fig 2Kvkbd keyboard with the numberpad hidden

You can show or hide the number pad (shown in Fig 3) by clicking the green arrow to the right of the main keyboard.

Fig 3Kvkbd keyboard with the numberpad visible

The keyboard can be resized by clicking and dragging the red hatched area at the bottom right of the keyboard.

You can change the keyboard settings by clicking the 'Spanner' button, located above the green arrow.

To minimise the keyboard to the taskbar, click on the 'Close' icon (the white cross on a red circle).

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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