Windows 8.1 (and its equivalent Windows RT edition) includes a touch keyboard for computers and tablets with a touch screen. When you touch any text field on your tablet, the touch keyboard appears on the screen. If you don't have a touch screen, then you have two options to run it. By default, it appears with a limited set of keys and lacks Function keys, Alt, Tab and Esc keys. In this article, we will look how to enable those missing keys in the touch keyboard, and, as a bonus, we will look for two possible ways to launch the touch keyboard.
If you are the lucky owner of a touch screen, then Windows 8.1 will show you the advanced options of the touch keyboard in PC Settings -> PC and Devices -> Input. Go there and enable the following option: Add the standard keyboard layout as a touch keyboard option. Turn the slider to the "on" position as shown in the picture below:
This will enable all advanced buttons including Esc, Alt and Tab. To use a Function key, tap the Fn button at the bottom left corner of the touch keyboard. The numeric buttons will change their captions to F1-F12:
If you do not have a touch screen, then Windows 8.1 will hide all advanced settings of the touch keyboard:
- Open Registry Editor (see how).
- Go to the following key:
Tip: You can access any desired Registry key with one click. If this key doesn't exist, just create it.
- In the right pane, you should create the EnableCompatibilityKeyboard value. This DWORD value is responsible for the full keyboard view of the touch keyboard. Set it to 1 to enable the standard keyboard layout.
Bonus Tip: There is a smarter way to resize the right pane of the Registry editor quickly with a keyboard shortcut.
To disable it, you will have to delete the EnableCompatibilityKeyboard value or set it to 0.
Now run the touch keyboard. Restarting the PC isn't required, the changes will take effect immediately, and you will get your standard keyboard layout enabled:
There are two options to run the touch keyboard in Windows 8.1. The first option is a taskbar panel. Right click on an empty space of your taskbar and enable the Touch Keyboard toolbar:
"C:\Program Files\Common Files\microsoft shared\ink\TabTip.exe"
That's it. Now you have more options to control the behavior of the touch keyboard in Windows 8.1.