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Windows 8 Tablet / Touchscreen - On Screen Keyboard shortcut missing on Desktop

    Question

  • Hi

    On a windows 7 tablet, on the desktop, if I clicked a field (e.g. in Windows Explorer) a small keyboard icon appears with a shortcut to the on-screen-keyboard (OSK).

    On windows 8, this no longer appears. Instead you have to click the field, then select the OSK from the taskbar, and then click back in the field before typing.

    Technical Stuff:

    So far we've found that in Windows 8 there is no 'Options' window for the Input Keyboard in the Taskbar. In Windows 7 there WAS an 'Options' window which included the setting "For tablet pen input, show the icon next to the text box". This setting controlled the shortcut icon that appears when you click in a field, and changes the following setting in the registry: HKCU\Software\Microsoft\TabletTip\1.7\ShowIPTipTarget. This setting does not appear in the registry on a Windows 8 machine and adding it in makes no difference.

    Rant:

    Within 5 minutes of issuing a new Windows 8 tablet this problem was noticed by the end user, rendering the device almost useless if you want to work at any pace - and it was promptly handed back. Very frustrating and annoying as this feature appears to have been removed. With Windows 8 pitched directly at the tablet market, surely this setting is in there somewhere - I can't think of any reason why it would be removed.

    Any help much appreciated,

    Andrew

    Monday, December 03, 2012 10:11 AM

Answers

  • just as bad as having to click the Touch Keyboard icon in the taskbar.

    You only have to do that in Desktop mode.   More proof that they are making an effort to deprecate Desktop use.   Also, notice that use of the pen is not as convenient, so that must be being deprecated too.   Or more likely, the developers of W8 just weren't the same team that did Tablet PC and they simply didn't have a clue about the functionality and use cases that they were replacing.

    BTW (more deprecated functionality).   Do you have a spare Tablet PC button you could "program"?  (In any way.)   Then I think launching  Osk.exe  would be a good candidate for a button's function.   The way I have to do it now, using my pen is:  point at the bottom right to raise the ghost charms, click on the Start button, click on the Desktop tile, click on my OSK Taskbar button.   That would be when I need it for a Metro mode app and assume that my Taskbar was visible, e.g. not hidden by a Fullscreen IE window.   Then I would have to (somehow) get back to wherever I was when I had the need for the OSK, assuming by then I could still remember why I had the need for it.   Usability?   ;  }

     
    ---

    Wednesday, December 05, 2012 10:12 PM

All replies

  • Hi,

    Please search osk in Start and run it, then you will have the on-screen keyboard with Options. For adjusting the settings, you can also go to Ease of Access Center in Control Panel.

    In addition, regarding the design of the touch keyboard, please also see:

    Designing the Windows 8 touch keyboard

    http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/archive/2012/07/17/designing-the-windows-8-touch-keyboard.aspx

    Thanks.

    Nicholas Li
    TechNet Community Support

    Wednesday, December 05, 2012 10:12 AM
  • Hi, and thanks for your reply.

    Unfortunately this doesn't help as there is still no option in 'Options' to 'show the icon next to the text box'. The problem with OSK.exe is that the keyboard isn't dynamic in any way; it doesn't open when you click in a text field and to get the keyboard to close (or not to show on screen) you have to minimise it. This is just as bad as having to click the Touch Keyboard icon in the taskbar.

    The article 'Designing the Windows 8 touch keyboard' is excellent - and very thorough in explaining how and why the keyboard is structured like it is. I can see a vast effort has gone into the ergonomics of the keyboard in Windows 8, and so it is a shame that within five minutes an end user in our organisation concluded the keyboard in Windows 7 was more accessible. And all because of this missing/removed feature.

    Andrew

    Wednesday, December 05, 2012 10:50 AM
  • just as bad as having to click the Touch Keyboard icon in the taskbar.

    You only have to do that in Desktop mode.   More proof that they are making an effort to deprecate Desktop use.   Also, notice that use of the pen is not as convenient, so that must be being deprecated too.   Or more likely, the developers of W8 just weren't the same team that did Tablet PC and they simply didn't have a clue about the functionality and use cases that they were replacing.

    BTW (more deprecated functionality).   Do you have a spare Tablet PC button you could "program"?  (In any way.)   Then I think launching  Osk.exe  would be a good candidate for a button's function.   The way I have to do it now, using my pen is:  point at the bottom right to raise the ghost charms, click on the Start button, click on the Desktop tile, click on my OSK Taskbar button.   That would be when I need it for a Metro mode app and assume that my Taskbar was visible, e.g. not hidden by a Fullscreen IE window.   Then I would have to (somehow) get back to wherever I was when I had the need for the OSK, assuming by then I could still remember why I had the need for it.   Usability?   ;  }

     
    ---

    Wednesday, December 05, 2012 10:12 PM
  • Feature was removed in windows 8.  Windows 8 is worse than windows 7 for touch IMO. 
    Thursday, December 06, 2012 1:28 AM
  • You can setup the Windows 8 Touch Keyboard to be used from the desktop.  Right-click on the Taskbar, select 'Toolbars'.  Place a tick next to 'Touch Keyboard'.  A keyboard icon will appear. 

    • Marked as answer by Nicholas LiModerator Friday, December 14, 2012 7:50 AM
    • Unmarked as answer by agvonline Friday, December 14, 2012 7:56 AM
    • Proposed as answer by griffinfujioka Monday, January 07, 2013 4:26 PM
    • Unproposed as answer by agvonline Tuesday, January 08, 2013 8:04 AM
    Monday, December 10, 2012 10:46 PM
  • The reply from KsWahly is the problem, not the answer. Please don't propose it as the answer.

    I want the keyboard to appear automatically like it did in Windows 7, not by having to manually click the keyboard icon in the taskbar.


    • Edited by agvonline Tuesday, January 08, 2013 8:06 AM
    Friday, December 14, 2012 8:00 AM
  • In Microsoft's days of glory, existing features were retained and improved upon. In the present situation with stiff competition from all fronts, it has been two steps forward and one step back for Windows. Most of the Windows Phone 5/6 features that were removed in Windows Phone 7 were ultimately returned in Windows Phone 8. Expect the touch tablet features of Windows XP / 7 to be returned in Windows 9 timeframe.
    Sunday, January 06, 2013 12:09 AM
  • I agree - I am a QC tech for a software company whose primary focus is eliminating the "clutter" of peripherals for our users, namely the keyboard and mouse, which was possible in Windows 7, but not so much in Windows 8.  Our software is too robust to be developed to run as a Start Screen "app," forcing us to run it from the Desktop in Windows 8.  The problem of the touch keyboard not interacting dynamically with text fields within our desktop application is a major productivity killer for our tablet users.  Just the fact that I have to go down to the taskbar to manually launch the touch keyboard makes Windows 8 inefficient and, if it doesn't change, we're back to installing physical keyboards (grrr).  

    I understand that Microsoft wants to streamline the user experience, and for the most part Windows 8 does just that.  Don't get me wrong, I have thoroughly enjoyed learning all the new ins and outs of Windows 8, but the touch keyboard limitation takes a huge productivity feature away for business users, and is a major design flaw.

    Thursday, January 10, 2013 5:01 PM
  • I fully agree with ssxIdent and all other posters who find the new touch keyboard rather dumb.

    There is no point in explaining why MS has decided to do things this or that way and what philosophic reasons they can come up with. MS needs to understand that software has to be accepted by the users and should not irritate them.

    But this is irritating.

    I thought one of the main concerns of MS was to be as intuitive as possible and provide a most satisfying user experiance - this is definetly not.

    Has anyone at MS ever tried to e. g. rename several files in a directory with the touch keyboard? Especially when you get to the bottom of the screen. Then you not only need to have show/hide the keyboard permanently, you even have to bother moving it or resize the window. That is NO GOOD USER EXPERIANCE!

    I'd find it intuitive, if there was a way for developers in WPF or in Windows Forms to tag any UI element if it

    • Needs a keyboard (making the touch keyboard appear automatically) or
    • Would like a keyboard (showing a symbol next to the box, just like the X in WindowsStoreApps.TextBox, to trigger the keyboard or make it pop up automatically, if the keyboard had an option that can be set by the user to respond to these UI elements) or
    • Can have a keyboard (behaviour as is now)

    Once an application was built this way, users would intuitively be able to navigate through their beloved apps haveing the keyboard at hand when they will need it anyway, being able to access it just with a twitch of the hand if they want it and not being annoyed by it when they normally would not need it AND not being annoyed by permanently having to show/hide/show/hide that dratted thing by making miles of hand movement for nothing.

    For applications that are not tailormade this way some options to adjust the keyboard behaviour would help, too. Just provide an option to hook the keyboard to any focus change, and give users a selection of options to what major control types the keyboard should respond. For geeks you could even provide white list where they can add the GUIDs for classes the keyboard should show up automatically, a black list where the keyboard has to disappear and a gray list where the keyboard comes up on enter and disappears on leave.

    Some other thing I'm not happy with:

    I know Modern UI came somehow via Windows Phone 7, but our tablets, touch enabled laptops, ... are no telephones, so why has the touch keyboard numpad have the "1" at the top left corner and not at the bottom left like every other hardware keyboard or even the MS Windows OSK???????? In this point I contradict the explanation in the otherwise quite interesting article about the Design Concept because typing in numbers has more often to do with maths than with telephoning or switching TV channels. And calculators have the 1,2,3 in the bottom row, as have HW keyboards. The other misconception lies therin that you don't need to find 1,2,3 quicker with your eyes when you are typing lots of numbers e. g. into spreadsheets. The fingers of HW keyboard, calculator or cash register users are so used to the conventional position of the digits that won't be easy to reshape. Additionally when typing in quantities of numbers right handed users (90% of world population)  will have the hand rest on the keyboard, the thumb on 0 and index finger, middle finger, ring finger doing their respective columns low value low down, high value high up. Who is dialing phone numbers or changing TV channels this way? But what will users do more often with the numpad - especially when dealing with loads of input data?

    Why can we not at least have digits on the alpha keyboard like on Android with long press on "Q"="1" ... "P"="0"? Password policy sometimes forces you to add digits in a PW, calling for switch alpha/num/alpha/num which is annoying, too! Even with the peek thingy, since you need two hands.

    Why is there no indication what special characters are hidden behind a long press? It's possible when you press Ctrl, despite most people already knowing what Ctrl+C means. e. g. where is the paragraph sign "§"on the touch keyboard? Or have you left it out, so lawyers can't sue you for developing this touch keyboard ;-) You have added a set of emojos, but forgotten to put a character on that is on virtually any other keyboard??? Rather give us a layer user/developers could fill with their own set of special characters and swap the Ctrl hints for a special character preview.

    When I have my keyboard docked I can split the alpha key gaining access to the ODD numpad in the middle, but why can I not have the numpad when the alpha stays unsplit in the middle having a big black block to its left and right - there was space, why have you not used it properly??? Nevermind feeling crowded, as mentioned in the article, give us an checkbox in keyboard options than we can decide if we want it or not. Since the article argues that users tend to get comfortable with the keyboard after a while and needn't look at it, this "over crowded" feeling would fade away just the same. Or you might even dim it a bit when there is no finger near it.

    Where are the Fn keys? Give us an option - we'll decide if we want it e. g. on the left side of the alpha block. Just as with numpad this could be dimmed, too.

    I'd have a lot more suggestions to throw into this, but I fear you'll not even pick up on the easiest or most fundamental ones.

    Prove me wrong! Please do! I dare you!!!







    • Edited by Scruff.R Wednesday, January 30, 2013 5:08 AM
    Wednesday, January 30, 2013 12:32 AM
  • why has the touch keyboard numpad have the "1" at the top left corner and not at the bottom left like every other hardware keyboard or even the MS Windows OSK????????

    In fact, my real keyboard has a 1 in a box under the NumLock.  I have wondered what that was for?  <eg>

    Why is there no indication what special characters are hidden behind a long press? It's possible when you press Ctrl, despite most people already knowing what Ctrl+C means. e. g. where is the paragraph sign "§"on the touch keyboard?

    I don't know anything about "long press".   CharMap shows  U+00A7 Section Sign would be keystroke Alt+0167.   Unfortunately OSK does not support holding down an Alt-.  It gets released as soon as the next key is "pressed".   So looks like you would need to Copy and Paste from CharMap to get that character.

    Where are the Fn keys?

    On the optional "Standard" Touch Keyboard.  Do you not have it enabled yet?  Win-W G...  Touch Keyboard  Make the standard keyboard layout available  (at the bottom of the list, typically requiring a scroll to see).   Unfortunately, the "standard" keyboard does not have a Numpad but it does have a number row.  Also annoying is that except in very unusual as yet undiagnosed circumstances we can't have both the TK and the OSK up at the same time.  Otherwise you could use the OSK's Numpad.

    BTW thanks for the tip about the Numpad in the middle of the split keyboard.   I would never use that one or the Chicklets keyboard at the left for typing but that might be handy for entering numbers with only one context shift instead of two.

     
    FYI


    Robert
    ---


    Wednesday, January 30, 2013 5:19 AM
  • I suppose the [1] you mentioned on the numpad 7 key (top left) is a funny way to mark the [Home] or [Pos1] key on the numpad when NumLock is off. This key would beam your carret back to the beginning of the line, when not in NumLock.

    LongPress: The Win 8 Touch Keyboard (not the OSK) has the functionality to pop up additional special characters when you tap and hold a key (not all do have that, but try a number key, there you'll see subscript and superscript versions of the digit you pressed) - much like on smart phone keyboards.

    This would be a nice feature, but is a bit obscure, when you don't know what special chars might come up. And I would know how to get the §, but I'd expect this to accessable without workarounds.

    Sure, the OSK could be used, but why do I have to use TWO different ones, instead of having ONE that was designed in respect to user needs?

    But thanks for the tip anyway!

    Wednesday, January 30, 2013 2:11 PM
  • I just came accross a similar thread in MS Community Answers forum

    Instead of having a few posters on several scattered threads, we might bundle our power and show MS how severe our demand for a re-evaluation of this matter is.

    For tablets the touch keyboard is a pivotal means of input - this has to fit the needs of occasional users, but even more for users that HAVE to work with these devices.

    MS propagates Win8 tablets to be the first of their kind to fit the needs of "productive" users and real business utilization - so this ought to fit our needs and shall not dictate how we have to do our jobs.

    Wednesday, January 30, 2013 10:42 PM
  • I suppose the [1] you mentioned on the numpad 7 key (top left) is a funny way to mark the [Home] or [Pos1] key on the numpad when NumLock is off. This key would beam your carret back to the beginning of the line, when not in NumLock.

    The [1] is under the NumLock label on its key.   7 and Home is the key below it.   I'll try to see if I can make any use of that [1] based on your idea.

    LongPress: The Win 8 Touch Keyboard (not the OSK) has the functionality to pop up additional special characters when you tap and hold a key (not all do have that, but try a number key, there you'll see subscript and superscript versions of the digit you pressed) - much like on smart phone keyboards.

    I see now that on the Chicklets keyboards (not the one I use) many of the letters do that to give people accented characters.   Thanks for the tip.

    This would be a nice feature, but is a bit obscure, when you don't know what special chars might come up. And I would know how to get the §, but I'd expect this to accessable without workarounds.

    Now I understand your point.

     

    Robert
    ---

    Thursday, January 31, 2013 12:42 AM
  • This is slightly off topic, but:
    I don't want to be cheeky, but are you sure the symbol on the NumLock key is a "1" in the box?
    If it was an arrow pointing up, it might look similar, but meaning that NumPad is used as CursorPad. Just a wild guess.
    On my Logitech keyboard for example I have a stylized mouse to indicate that if tripple pressed the NumPad becomes a NavPad for the mouse.
    Thursday, January 31, 2013 1:40 AM
  • are you sure the symbol on the NumLock key is a "1" in the box?

    It's some kind of mnemonic about NumLock.   When I press it I can see [1] NumLock briefly flash up on my Display, where the [1] is a graphic of an actual button.  There are 4 of these.  [A] Caps Lock.  [F] Lock  [Downarrow] ScrLk  and [1] NumLock.    None of these has been reproduced on either the OSK or TK but they both have their own built-in reminders by highlighting the key when it is selected or by changing the keycaps of all the other keys being affected.
    Thursday, January 31, 2013 3:27 AM
  • Hello,

    Experiencing the same issue.  But I will add another.  When using RDP on any OS other than win8 you do not even get the touch keyboard toolbar down on the taskbar on the guest OS or the ability to add it, so you have to either start the touch keyboard before your start your RDP session, switch back to win8 desktop, evoke the touch keyboard then switch back to your RDP session, or use the OSK in accessories.(and yes I did try the win8 RDP app).

    We purchased a Lattitude 10 for 1 of our clients and like the OP above, it lasted about 1/2hr in production before it was returned as to hard to type something, anything in any text input box, or the simple fact that most of the time the touch keyboard covers the actual text you are trying to input.

    How the touch keyboard was so poorly implemented completely blows me away.  To not have the ability to touch a text input box and have a keyboard automatically pop up,(like every touch enabled OS device on the planet before win8 tablets hit the street) seems like someone forgot to hit enter when they wrote the code.

    Nicholas Li above posted a link that has absolutely nothing to do with the issue, and hopefully he or someone will give us an update on possible fixes.  Microsoft are you listening?  There are countless threads regarding the same or similar issues, so I'm sure someone is taking note.

    Hopefully this will get resolved.

    Tuesday, February 26, 2013 8:59 PM
  • >hard to type something, anything in any text input box, or the simple fact that most of the time the touch keyboard covers the actual text you are trying to input.
     
    If you hit that little vertical line button next to the X button, the
    screen goes into a split mode where the main screen gets squished down
    to where none of it is under the keyboard and everything is visible.
     
     

    Bob Comer - Microsoft MVP Virtual Machine
    Tuesday, February 26, 2013 9:37 PM
  • Hi Bob,

    that would have been one of the expected behaviors for an on screen keyboard, but I can't find the "little vertical line button" you are refering to.

    There is a "horizontal line button", tho'. And it does dock the TouchKeyboard to the bottom of the screen, and reduces the "work space" of the running application, but if the focus was on a control that's near the bottom of the application this control still gets hidden. Granted, not by the TouchKeyboard as such, but by pushing it out of scope in the application, requiring the user to scroll down in the application window to make the "lost" control appear again.

    Sure the applications could be made responsible to handle this, but since most applications existed before Win8 TouchKeyboard, there might have been a way for MS to ensure visibility of controls that were holding the focus when the TouchKeyboard gets docked.

    Additionally I would have expected the taskbar to stay visible even with docked TouchKeyboard - or at least make it appear in front of the TouchKeyboard with a swipe from the bottom edge.


    Wednesday, February 27, 2013 1:28 PM
  • >There is a "horizontal line button",
     
    That's it, brain cramp I guess.  I don't know why I said vertical,
    sorry.
     
    >Granted, not by the TouchKeyboard as such, but by pushing it out of scope in the application, requiring the user to scroll down in the application window to make the "lost" control appear again.
     
    Bummer, I haven't seen any of my apps do that, they all rearrange any
    of the controls to fit on screen.  It's probably an app that was
    programmed for a minimum size, ignoring smaller screens.
     
    >>Sure the applications could be made responsible to handle this, but since most applications existed before Win8 TouchKeyboard, there might have been a way for MS to ensure visibility of controls that were holding the focus when the TouchKeyboard gets docked.
     
    Any app that correctly uses available screen size should work.  I
    expect there is some kind of minimum where any app would get confused,
    but I haven't seen it.
     
    I agree MS needs to work on their on screen keyboard, it takes up way
    to much space, even on my tablet.  It could be smaller and not
    sacrifice any usability.  It would be nice too if a text field brought
    up the keyboard automatically, but that would be harder with all of
    Windows legacy applications.
     
    I don't see how MS could insure a control holding focus gets shown,
    that's all application space stuff, and Windows doesn't really know
    that.
     
    >Additionally I would have expected the taskbar to stay visible even with docked TouchKeyboard - or at least make it appear in front of the TouchKeyboard with a swipe from the bottom edge.
     
    That would be good too.
     
     

    Bob Comer - Microsoft MVP Virtual Machine
    Wednesday, February 27, 2013 2:09 PM
  • If you hit that little vertical line button next to the X button, the
    screen goes into a split mode where the main screen gets squished down
    to where none of it is under the keyboard and everything is visible.

    If it only had a tooltip which said "Dock" this would have been "discoverable" for me.   Thanks for this tip!  For some reason I only saw this as a means of making the Touch Keyboard "maximized" (which didn't seem very useful at all).  Now I will be doing a lot less dragging.   ; )

     
    ---

    Thursday, February 28, 2013 2:28 PM
  • Hi,

    this is the point i want to resolve since days! :)

    Here you can find a solution:

    http://www.autohotkey.com/board/topic/91002-how-to-automatically-popup-keyboard-in-windows-8/

    It should works for some people (see also the links there to the xda-developer and the tabletpcreview-forum for more infos), but for me, with me Acer W510, its not working.

    Perhaps you want to join and to help!

    Tuesday, March 05, 2013 12:22 PM
  • I hope that some of these suggestions will have found their way into Windows 8.1.

    * less waisted space

    * when docked in desktop mode, resize the desktop area like TaskBar does, when it is resized

    * don't hide TaskBar

    * auto hide feature like TaskBar

    * auto popup when input control gains focus

    * resizable (especially in inking mode - e.g. only one inking line)

    * all screen inking mode (when focus in input control, capture stylus input anywhere on screen like in OnNote (I think)

    * preview option of special characters for all keys at once (e. g. to find a specific one)

    * add digits as special characters to top alpha row (qwertyuiop -> 1234567890)

    * if space add special characters of standard hardware keyboard to the those alpha keys (e. g. German keyboard q -> @, e -> €, m -> µ, ...)

    * in desktop mode bottom edge swype up gesture should show touch keyboard

    Fingers xrossed!!!!



    Addition:

    I think I found a bug in the Touch Keyboard, when using the SHIFT to Caps Unlock option.
    Once you pressed Caps Lock you cannot Caps Unlock without loosing the Touch Keyboard.
    When pressing Shift, the Touch Keyboard disapears and you have to open it again, or
    When you press Caps Lock again, the Caps Lock and the other keys get switched back to normal, but input still creates capitals.

    I hope this will be cured too.

    • Edited by Scruff.R Tuesday, June 11, 2013 7:01 PM
    Thursday, May 30, 2013 5:59 AM
  • According to the MSDN Engineer I've been working with to fix this issue in my application, you'll need to implement the IInputPanelConfiguration COM interface to opt in to the focus tracking mechanism used in Windows Store apps on Windows 8.

    Windows 8 relies upon the UIAutomation information exposed by the control with input focus when determining whether to automatically display the on-screen keyboard.
    Monday, June 24, 2013 5:05 PM
  • Thanks for that info!

    You mention that this is a Windows Store app mechanism. Is this supported in Desktop programs, too?

    Is there some sample code for this?

    Monday, June 24, 2013 9:33 PM
  • I installed a program called "comfort on screen keyboard". it does what you want. hope that help :)
    Saturday, July 06, 2013 5:08 PM
  • I was within a hair's breadth of ordering one of those slick new Lenovo Win8 tablets.

    I'm glad I decided to do a little digging to make sure the onscreen keyboard was usable!

    After reading through this thread, I'll stick with Android.

    Wednesday, September 18, 2013 1:41 AM
  • Here is how you do it:

    http://brianlagunas.com/showing-windows-8-touch-keyboard-wpf/

    Wednesday, December 18, 2013 3:11 AM