The touch keyboard doesn’t appear on Surface

If the touch keyboard on your Surface screen doesn’t appear as expected, try these solutions.

Applies to

Surface Pro 3, Surface 3, Surface Pro 2, Surface Pro.

Applies to

Surface 2, Surface RT.

Applies to

Surface Pro 3, Surface 3, Surface Pro 2, Surface Pro.

Applies to

Surface 2, Surface RT.

Operating system:

When the Typing Cover is folded back or detached, the touch keyboard is designed to appear when you select a place to enter text.

Note
This article helps you solve problems with the touch keyboard. There’s also an on-screen keyboard, which is an Ease of Access tool. For more info, see Ease of Access features.

Things to try first

  • If you’re using a Surface Typing Cover, fold it back or detach it from your Surface.
  • Make sure the touchscreen responds to touch. If not, see Surface touchscreen: Problems with touch.
  • Open the touch keyboard by selecting keyboard Icon for on-screen keyboard in the taskbar.

Solution 1: Install the latest updates

Make sure your Surface is up to date. Install updates, including those for Windows, because this may fix problems with the touch keyboard. See Install Surface and Windows updates.

Solution 2: Restart your Surface

Try restarting your Surface:

  • Go to Start Windows logo, and select Power > Restart.

Solution 3: Restore your Surface to an earlier state

If you think an app or driver that you recently installed is causing problems with your Surface Pro or Surface 3, you can restore it to an earlier point in time, called a restore point. System restore doesn’t change your personal files, but it might remove recently installed apps and drivers.

Important
Make sure you have access to product keys and installation files for all desktop apps (like Microsoft Office) that may have been installed after the point in time to which you’re restoring.

To restore your Surface:

Step 1: Go to Start Windows logo, and select Settings > Update & security > Recovery.
Step 2: Under Advanced startup, select Restart now.
Step 3: Select Troubleshoot > Advanced options > System Restore and follow the on-screen instructions.

For more info, see Restore or reset Surface Pro or Surface 3.

If these steps don’t solve the problem with the touch keyboard, your Surface needs service. Go to Get my Surface fixed.


When the Typing Cover is folded back or detached, the touch keyboard is designed to appear when you select a place to enter text.

Note
This article helps you solve problems with the touch keyboard. There’s also an on-screen keyboard, which is an Ease of Access tool. For more info, see Use the On-Screen Keyboard (OSK) to type.

Things to try first

  • If you’re using a Surface Typing Cover, fold it back or detach it from your Surface.
  • Make sure the touchscreen responds to touch. If not, see Surface touchscreen: Problems with touch.
  • If you’re using the Start screen or a Windows Store app, here’s how to bring up the touch keyboard:

    Step 1: Go to the Start screen and select Search.
    Step 2: Select the text box to bring up the touch keyboard.

Solution 1: Install the latest updates

Make sure your Surface is up to date. Install updates, including those for Windows, because this may fix problems with the touch keyboard. See Install Surface and Windows updates.

Solution 2: Restart your Surface

Try restarting your Surface:

  • Go to Start Windows logo, and select Power > Restart.

Solution 3: Refresh your Surface

Refreshing your Surface reinstalls Windows while keeping your personal files, settings, and any apps that came with your Surface or that you installed from the Windows Store.

Step 1: Plug in your Surface so you don’t run out of power during the refresh.
Step 2: Go to Start Windows logo, and select Settings > Change PC settings.
Step 3: Select Update and recovery > Recovery.
Step 4: Under Refresh your PC without affecting your files, select Get started.
Step 5: Select Next, make sure your Surface is plugged in, and select Refresh.
Your Surface restarts and the Surface logo displays while the refresh process completes. This can take several minutes.

For more info, see Refresh or reset Surface RT or Surface 2.

If these steps don’t solve the problem with the touch keyboard, your Surface needs service. Go to Get my Surface fixed.


When the Typing Cover is folded back or detached, the touch keyboard is designed to appear when you tap a place to enter text.

Note
This article helps you solve problems with the touch keyboard. There’s also an on-screen keyboard, which is an Ease of Access tool. For more info, see Use the On-Screen Keyboard (OSK) to type.

Things to try first

  • If you’re using a Surface Typing Cover, fold it back or detach it from your Surface.
  • Make sure the touchscreen responds to touch. If not, see Surface touchscreen: Problems with touch.
  • If you’re using desktop apps like Microsoft Word or Excel, or Windows features like Control Panel or File Explorer, the touch keyboard doesn’t appear automatically even when the Cover is folded back or removed. Tap or click keyboard in the taskbar to bring up the touch keyboard.
  • If you’re using the Start screen or a Windows Store app, here’s how to bring up the touch keyboard:

    Step 1: Go to the Start screen and tap or click Search.
    Step 2: Tap the text box to bring up the touch keyboard.

Solution 1: Install the latest updates

Make sure your Surface is up to date. Install updates, including those for Windows, because this may fix problems with the touch keyboard. See Install Surface and Windows updates.

Solution 2: Restart your Surface

Try restarting your Surface:

Step 1: Swipe in from the right edge of the screen and tap Settings.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and click Settings.)
Step 2: Tap or click Power > Restart.

Solution 3: Restore your Surface to an earlier state

If you think an app or driver that you recently installed is causing problems with your Surface Pro or Surface 3, you can restore it to an earlier point in time, called a restore point. System restore doesn’t change your personal files, but it might remove recently installed apps and drivers.

Important
Make sure you have access to product keys and installation files for all desktop apps (like Microsoft Office) that may have been installed after the point in time to which you’re restoring.

To restore your Surface:

Step 1: Swipe in from the right edge of the screen and tap Search.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and click Search.)
Step 2: Enter Recovery and tap or click Recovery.
Step 3: Tap or click Open System Restore and follow the on-screen instructions.

For more info, see Restore, refresh, or reset Surface Pro or Surface 3.

Solution 4: Refresh your Surface

Refreshing your Surface reinstalls Windows while keeping your personal files, settings, and any apps that came with your Surface or that you installed from the Windows Store.

You’ll need to reinstall desktop apps from the websites or discs that you used to install them on your Surface. Before you refresh your Surface, make sure you have access to product keys and installation files desktop apps that you want to reinstall (like Microsoft Office.)

Note
If you updated Surface Pro from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1, a refresh reinstalls Windows 8, and you’ll need to reinstall Windows 8.1. For more info, see Install Surface and Windows updates.
Step 1: Plug in your Surface so you don’t run out of power during the refresh.
Step 2: Swipe in from the right edge of the screen and tap Settings.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and click Settings.)
Step 3: Tap or click Change PC settings > Update and recovery > Recovery.
Step 4: Under Refresh your PC without affecting your files, tap or click Get started.
Step 5: Tap or click Next, make sure your Surface is plugged in, and tap or click Refresh.
Your Surface restarts and the Surface logo displays while the refresh process completes. This can take several minutes.

For more info, see Restore, refresh, or reset Surface Pro or Surface 3.

If these steps don’t solve the problem with the touch keyboard, your Surface needs service. Go to Get my Surface fixed.


When the Typing Cover is folded back or detached, the touch keyboard is designed to appear when you tap a place to enter text.

Note
This article helps you solve problems with the touch keyboard. There’s also an on-screen keyboard, which is an Ease of Access tool. For more info, see Use the On-Screen Keyboard (OSK) to type.

Things to try first

  • If you’re using a Surface Typing Cover, fold it back or detach it from your Surface.
  • Make sure the touchscreen responds to touch. If not, see Surface touchscreen: Problems with touch.
  • If you’re using the Start screen or a Windows Store app, here’s how to bring up the touch keyboard:

    Step 1: Go to the Start screen and tap or click Search.
    Step 2: Tap the text box to bring up the touch keyboard.

Solution 1: Install the latest updates

Make sure your Surface is up to date. Install updates, including those for Windows, because this may fix problems with the touch keyboard. See Install Surface and Windows updates.

Solution 2: Restart your Surface

Try restarting your Surface.

Step 1: Swipe in from the right edge of the screen and tap Settings.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and click Settings.)
Step 2: Tap or click Power > Restart.

Solution 3: Refresh your Surface

Refreshing your Surface reinstalls Windows while keeping your personal files, settings, and any apps that came with your Surface or that you installed from the Windows Store.

Step 1: Plug in your Surface so you don’t run out of power during the refresh.
Step 2: Swipe in from the right edge of the screen and tap Settings.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and click Settings.)
Step 3: Tap or click Change PC settings > Update and recovery > Recovery.
Step 4: Under Refresh your PC without affecting your files, tap or click Get started.
Step 5: Tap or click Next, make sure your Surface is plugged in, and tap or click Refresh.
Your Surface restarts and the Surface logo displays while the refresh process completes. This can take several minutes.

For more info, see Refresh or reset Surface RT or Surface 2.

If these steps don’t solve the problem with the touch keyboard, your Surface needs service. Go to Get my Surface fixed.


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