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Use the on-screen keyboard

To type or handwrite text, or to add images to files, documents, and emails, you can use your Chromebook’s on-screen keyboard.

Open the keyboard

Open the keyboard in Settings
  1. Sign in to your Chromebook.
  2. Tap or click your account photo.
  3. Tap or click Settings Settings.
  4. At the bottom, tap or click Advanced.
  5. Under "Accessibility," tap or click Manage accessibility features.
  6. Under "Keyboard," tap or click Enable on-screen keyboard.
Open the keyboard in tablet mode

If your Chromebook can be used as a tablet, the on-screen keyboard will automatically open when you flip the screen of your Chromebook over its hinge.

Use the keyboard

Use accented letters

If your default on-screen keyboard is the U.S. keyboard, you’ll need to switch to a different keyboard to type with accented letters:

  1. Open your Chromebook's on-screen keyboard.
  2. In the lower left corner, tap or click More More.
  3. Select a keyboard other than the U.S. keyboard.
    Note: If you only see the U.S. keyboard, you’ll need to add another keyboard language before going to the next step.
  4. In the bottom row of the on-screen keyboard, tap or click alt gr.
  5. Tap or click the accented letters you'd like to type.
Type text by speaking

You can speak to enter text in most places where you usually type. You can even add common punctuation marks by saying "comma," "period," "question mark," "exclamation mark," or "exclamation point.”

Type text with your voice

  1. Tap or click where you want to type.
  2. Open your Chromebook's on-screen keyboard.
  3. In the upper right corner of the on-screen keyboard, tap or click Speak Speak.
  4. The first time you do this, you’ll see a message explaining how the feature works. To turn on your microphone, tap or click Got it.
  5. When the microphone icon turns blue, say what you want to type.
  6. Optional: To delete what you last said, tap or click Delete.

Fix problems with voice typing

If you’re speaking, but text isn't showing up on the page, try these steps:

  • If you're using an external microphone, make sure it's fully plugged in, not muted, and using up-to-date software.
  • If you have other open programs on your Chromebook, make sure none of them are using your microphone.
  • Click your account photo, then click the icon next to the volume slider. If more than one input is listed for your microphone, make sure the correct one is checked.
Insert emoji or other images

To insert emoji into documents, emails, and chat sessions:

  1. Open your Chromebook's on-screen keyboard.
  2. In the lower left corner, tap or click More More.
  3. Tap or click Emoji Emoji.
  4. Tap or click the emoji or graphic you want to insert.
Handwrite text

To handwrite text, use the writing pad. Here’s how:

  1. Open your Chromebook's on-screen keyboard.
  2. In the lower left corner, tap or click More More.
  3. Tap or click Write Write. A writing pad will appear.
  4. Write text with your fingertip, mouse, touchpad, or touchscreen stylus.
Swipe to type

You can enter words by sliding your finger from letter to letter.

Note: This feature only works on devices that support tablet mode, and only for the US English keyboard. It won’t work if you’ve turned on the keyboard in the Accessibility settings menu.

  1. To turn on the on-screen keyboard, flip the screen of your Chromebook over its hinge.
  2. Tap or click the location where you want to type.
  3. Slide your finger across the letters of the word you want to type.
  4. Lift your finger when you finish the word.
    No need to tap the space key. When you lift your finger, a space is added automatically.
  5. Optional: To change a word, tap the word to see other choices.

Gesture typing is turned on automatically. To turn it off:

  1. On your on-screen keyboard, tap or click More More
  2. Tap or click Settings Settings.
  3. Next to "Input method," tap or click the Down arrow Down Arrow.
  4. Next to “US keyboard,” tap or click New tab New tab.
  5. Uncheck the box for Enable gesture typing.

Adjust keyboard settings

  1. Open your Chromebook's on-screen keyboard.
  2. In the lower left corner, tap or click More More .
  3. Tap or click Settings Settings .
  4. Under "Input Method," tap or click the Down arrow Down Arrow.
  5. Next to “US keyboard,” tap or click New tab New tab.
  6. Decide which settings to change:
    • Turn keypress sound on and off.
    • Set the level of automatic correction you'd like.
    • Erase all changes you've made to your dictionary.
    • Turn auto-capitalization on and off.
    • Choose whether a double space automatically adds a period.

Casey is a Chromebook expert and author of this help page. Help her improve this article by leaving feedback below.

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