An onscreen keyboard can be a powerful tool for screencasters. This tutorial will show you how to turn on the onscreen keyboard that OS X has built in. To turn on the onscreen keyboard: Go to the System Preferences panel Select the “International” icon Go to […]

An onscreen keyboard can be a powerful tool for screencasters. This tutorial will show you how to turn on the onscreen keyboard that OS X has built in.

To turn on the onscreen keyboard:

  1. Go to the System Preferences panel
  2. Select the “International” icon
  3. Go to the “Input Menu” tab
  4. Select the “Keyboard Viewer”
  5. You now should have an American flag in your menu bar. Click on the American flag and select “Show Keyboard Viewer”
  6. You now should have a keyboard on your desktop that displays whatever your press on your keyboard. Quick, easy, free!

* If you click the plus arrow in the upper left hand corner of the keyboard it makes it much larger.

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  1. I don’t have the “Keyboard Viewer” option in the input menu. I’m I missing something?

    1. iss hidin from yew

  2. @obsidian: Are you sure you just don’t see it? I know it works in both Tiger and Leopard.

  3. This is a great tip. I use the onscreen keyboard viewer to see special characters (like , ® and ™) when I can’t remember the keys off the top of my head.

  4. In 10.5 I just make an alias to


    I put this in my local utilities folder, paste a nice icon and I just open the application whenever I need it. I don’t need to fiddle with the International menu.

    Note that this breaks with major releases, since Apple moves things around. So expect a different path in 10.6 or 10.7.

  5. if you have quicksilver:
    get the “extra scripts” plugin and “show keyboard viewer” is an action you can activate, you don’t have to do any of the additional steps above or lose the precious menubar space…

    if you don’t have quicksilver:
    get it, stupid: http://www.blacktree.com/

  6. socorro Martinez Tuesday, September 30, 2008

    to whom it may concern
    i use the keyboard viewer, because i am disable. i really enjoyed using the keyboard viewer. but i have a problem. and it is that i can’t use the shift or the cap locks can someone help me. thank you.

    1. If you’re still looking:

      by John A. Collins – 1/12/10 8:09 PM In reply to: Another Solution by Colin Pye

      Use Finder to navigate to the folder > System > Library > CoreServices > Menu Extras, and double click on the file ‘Ink.menu’. This will cause an Ink icon to appear on your menu bar. You can use the drop down menu to access Ink Preferences and turn Ink on. Also check the “Show Ink Window” check-box. This is a little window with modifier keys that stick once or lock down by double-clicking. Combine this with the regular onscreen keyboard and you have a mouse-only solution for all your text input needs. Why Apple failed to include sticky keys by default I will never forgive. Please, If anyone knows a good place to post this info where it will be most helpful, let me know or go ahead and do it.
      PS this also works great if you want to use a touchscreen-only setup.”

  7. HELP. Shift and Caps Lock dont work with the onscreen keyboard. using the mouse, you should be able to click the caps lock button, and have all buttons remain in caps until you click the CAPS LOCK button again. however, when you hit the caps lock, nothing happens

    1. actually that might be only your problem because mine works fine. however, you can’t do key combinations on the on-screen keyboard, and that needs improving.

    2. If you’re still looking, see my reply to Socorro above.

  8. wow. awesome. I’ve got a new Wacom Cintiq as my main monitor and this thing is PERFECT for little typing tasks without yanking out the physical keyboard.

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