In all kinds of computing devices and gadgets that we use today, the keyboard is the most important component. It helps to perform textual and numeric data input. The keyboards are of various kinds and are selected according to the needs of the people who are going to use them. In the variety of keyboards, the Virtual keyboard or On-Screen keyboard is fast replacing the traditional keyboards.
Most laptops have an integrated keyboard that can be replaced only by an expert in laptop repair. PCs come with keyboards that can be easily replaced whenever a glitch develops in this input device. A virtual keyboard is one that appears on a screen by selecting or initiating the appropriate application or app. It can be operated with fingers (touchscreen), a stylus, or a pen.
Virtual Keyboard on PCs
Most Operating Systems with GUI offers an app called a virtual keyboard. This app is meant for people with disabilities that restrict them to use a keyboard. In Windows 10 you can initiate a virtual keyboard through the ‘On-Screen Keyboard’ App. If you are unable to find it in your program list, type virtual keyboard in Search Box available on the taskbar as shown below.
When you are able to see the desktop app ‘On-Screen Keyboard’ just click it to initialize it and use it for your writing work.
The On-screen keyboard can be operated with a mouse or light-pen or a stylus if you have a touch-screen.
Virtual Keyboards in Smartphones and Tablets
The earlier Smartphones usually had a physical keyboard. The keys were used to be too small to type. It posed great difficulty in typing especially when quick typing was needed. The second problem was that the keyboard occupied a major part of the phone.
Smartphone technology revolutionized with touch-screen and virtual keyboard, leading to bigger and better screens with improved resolution. It also resulted in development of a plethora of Smartphone apps that improved the life of people. It also changed the way we entertained ourselves. You can appreciate how such innovation gave way to a completely new profession- Smartphone App Development.
The best part of this new age virtual keyboard is that it appears only when it is needed and goes away as we are done with the typing tasks. The virtual keyboards in Smartphones are small in size but contain all the possible characters you need for your work. You can select any other language that your Smartphone supports and your virtual keyboard will offer the related virtual keys.
Advantages of using Virtual Keyboards
- The virtual keyboards are very helpful for physically disabled people who cannot type using the traditional keyboard. Their work becomes easier with the touch-screen based devices to that they can touch to type without difficulty.
- You must perform your financial transaction using the virtual keyboard, because it does not generate keystrokes. The keystrokes generated by the traditional keyboard can be easily captured and transmitted forward by a key-logger device attached to a computer. If a hacker is able to attach this to your PC, you are at a risk of passing on all your passwords or login details into wrong hands. Beware when you are using computers in public areas. It is a threat that may end you up in financial loss, online forgery or loss of credentials to some hacker.
- Virtual keyboard lets the designer design a gadget with bigger and clearer screens for better viewing and larger work area.
- Virtual Keyboards are not restricted to a specific language. You just have to make sure that your PC or gadget supports that specific language you need. In case of a physical keyboard you have to arrange for a keyboard with the keys of the language you need.
- Virtual Keyboards occupy a very small space. They are designed with different views like characters, numbers and special characters. You can easily switch between these views with a simple touch on a virtual key.
- They can be easily maneuvered with a pen or stylus.
- Typing can be faster if a person is experienced in using them. Easy to operate with both hands using thumbs only.
Limitations of Virtual Keyboard
- They are small and some people find difficult to type with a virtual keyboard. Typing errors may increase.
- When a virtual keyboard appears on screen it reduces or obscures the work area.