Windows 8 On Tablets: On Screen Keyboard Tips

Windows 8 On Tablets On Screen Keyboard Tips - featured

I’ve been using Windows 8 on my Toshiba Encore WT8 tablet for about a month now. It’s a small 8inch tablet that runs full Windows and while I’ve been using it as my main device here’s 2 tips concerning using the on-screen keyboard that I’ve only just discovered.

Add Up and Down Arrows – Standard Keyboard

The default touch keyboard doesn’t have up and down arrows, only side to side ones, which makes moving around inside text fields correcting mistakes laborious. You either need to touch place the cursor on the exact line, or you have long left or right pressing to move the cursor up or down a line.

However, Microsoft have included a Standard Keyboard in Windows 8, you can switch to it in the same way you can split the keyboard for easier two handed use, its just not on by default.

To enable it, swipe in from the right to select Settings – Change PC Settings – PC and Devices – Typing. now slide On the bottom setting “Add the standard keyboard layout as a touch keyboard option”.

windows 8 keyboard tips - enabling standard keyboard in pc settings

Now, return to the keyboard, and press the keyboard switcher icon bottom right, and the new standard keyboard option is now available.

windows 8 keyboard tips - toggling to standard keyboard

Simply select this and voila, now you have a full keyboard complete with left, right, and now up and down arrows. There are more keys so naturally the layout is slightly more compact, but if you desperately want up and down keys, here’s your answer!

windows 8 keyboard tips - standard keyboard with 4 way arrows visible

Screen visibility

In default mode, the keyboard “floats” above the page, partially obscuring what’s behind it. You can scroll the page up and down behind, but what if the page is short and has no scrolling? You can’t actually get to the input boxes behind the keyboard. If you hide the keyboard and select the input box, you’re then typing ‘blind’.

windows 8 keyboard tips - example text entry

Above is an example of such a page – an online Aspect Ration calculator I use often. The page has no real scrolling, but some of the fields are below the halfway point.

windows 8 keyboard tips - keyboard blocking lower entry fields

As shown above, bringing the keyboard up blocks the lower half of the screen. You can’t enter any information while being able to see it. Frustrating!!

And then by chance I clicked on the circled icon next to the close keyboard (X) icon. This changes the keyboard from ‘floating’ to full width, and forces all the screen into the top half – see what I mean in the image below:

windows 8 keyboard tips - full keyboard making whole page scrollable

The screen is now all above the keyboard, with a much longer scroll bar (indicated in red), allowing you to scroll the entire page up and down, and access any of the text fields anywhere on the page.

Hope this helps someone out who has been struggling with this – being able to do this when required has made working directly on the tablet a much more enjoyable experience.

>> Also see Using An 8inch Windows Tablet As A Fulltime Device

This post was written by Rob Gordon, an IT geek, gadget lover and blogger. Rob has been using the internets since 1994 when the only streaming video was that coffee pot in Cambridge (rip).... Follow Rob on Twitter - @robgordon -