Applies to

Surface RT, Surface 2, Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2, Surface Pro 3, Windows 8.1, Windows RT 8.1.


How to use the Surface on-screen keyboard

Surface has an on-screen, touch keyboard that appears when you need it.


Display the on-screen keyboard

When you want to type using the on-screen keyboard, fold back the cover or remove it. Next, tap in a text field or other area where you can type. The keyboard appears automatically.

You can also open the on-screen keyboard manually:

Step 1: Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Settings.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, and then click Settings.)
Step 2: Tap or click Keyboard.
Step 3: Tap or click Touch keyboard and handwriting panel.
Note
The on-screen keyboard doesn’t automatically appear if you’re using a desktop app. Instead, you need to tap or click the Keyboard icon Icon for on-screen keyboard on the right side of the taskbar.

Split keyboard and handwriting options

The basic on-screen keyboard lets you easily type text. You can also use these on-screen keyboard options:

  • Split keyboard. The split-keyboard Icon for split-screen typing makes it easy to type with your thumbs while you hold the Surface in two hands. It also has a numeric keypad in the center of the screen when you’re in landscape mode.
  • Handwriting. The handwriting option Icon for on-screen handwriting lets you write with a Surface pen, a capacitive stylus, or just your finger.

To switch between keyboard options, tap the key in the lower right corner of the on-screen keyboard, and then tap the icon for the keyboard you want to use.

Icons for changing the on-screen keyboard

On-screen keyboard tips

To
Do this
Use text suggestions
Swipe left or right across the spacebar to select a word, and then tap the spacebar to select the word suggestion you want.
Use keyboard shortcuts that start with the CTRL key, like CTRL+C or CTRL+V
Tap CTRL, and then tap the letter key.
Turn Caps Lock on or off
Double-tap either Up Arrow (Shift) key.
Type a period
Double-tap the spacebar.
Show the numeric keypad from the standard keyboard
Tap the &123 button.
Quickly type a number from the standard keyboard
Tap and hold a key in the top row, then slide to the number.
Type a character with a diacritical mark, like è
Tap and hold the letter the mark is applied to, then slide to the character you want.
Type special characters like ® or ©
Tap the smiley face Key for symbols and special characters, and then tap the !? icon in the bottom row. (For the symbols you use most, tap the heart icon.)
Find emoticons or other fun symbols
Tap the smiley face Key for symbols and special characters, and then tap the icon in the bottom row. (For the symbols you use most, tap the heart icon.)

Change the on-screen keyboard settings

You can change typing settings in PC settings. Here’s how:

Step 1: Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Settings.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, and then click Settings.)
Step 2: Tap or click Change PC settings.
Step 3: Tap or click PC and devices.
Step 4: Tap or click Typing, and then tap or click to turn the typing settings you want to change to On or Off.
Note
The Play key sounds as I type setting under Touch keyboard, applies to both the on-screen keyboard and the Surface Touch Cover.

Hide the keyboard

To hide the on-screen keyboard:

  • Tap the Keyboard key in the lower-right corner, and then tap the rectangle with the down arrow.Close on-screen keyboard icon
  • If you're in a built-in app or an app you installed from the Windows Store, tap an area where text can’t be typed.
  • If you're in a desktop app, tap the X in the frame of the keyboard.

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