A keyboard is a basic peripheral that you need with a desktop computer. The only stand-in for a physical keyboard is a touch screen and an OS that comes with or that can support an on-screen keyboard. A computer can be used without a mouse but it can’t be used without a keyboard.
Problems with a keyboard are normally hardware related since there isn’t much that can go wrong with a keyboard on a software level. If you’ve dropped your keyboard and one of the keys have popped out, the key may not press as smoothly after you put it back in. If you haven’t cleaned the keyboard in while, or you’ve spilled something on it, it may again give you trouble.
When I Type Numbers I Get Letters
Keyboards come in different shapes and sizes but one notable size difference you will find is when a keyboard has a dedicated number pad, and when it doesn’t. In the absence of a number pad, there are certain keys on the keyboard that double as numerical input keys. Besides this one scenario, keys can be mapped to other keys with apps or with scripts. Either one of these may cause your keyboard to type numbers instead of letters. Try the fixes below.
Keyboard typing numbers instead of letters
Try the fixes below.
1. Turn off Num lock
A keyboard that does not have a dedicated number pad will use certain letter keys to enter numbers. These keys are activated by turning the num lock on.
- On your keyboard, look for the num lock key.
- Turn the num lock key off by tapping it (the key toggles the num lock state).
- Try pressing keys on the keyboard and they will no longer enter numbers.
Note: If you have trouble keeping track of whether or not num lock is on, you can install an app that will add an on-screen alert for when it is turned on or off or you can enable audio alerts in Windows 10.
2. Completely disable num lock
On some keyboards, the num lock can be disabled completely (you can still turn it on when you need to). Disabling the toggle will prevent the keyboard from entering numbers unless you want it to.
- On your keyboard locate the Fn and F11 keys.
- Tap the Fn+F11 keys to turn the num lock feature off.
- The num lock will no longer toggle numbers on or off and will exist in the Off state.
Note: Other keyboard combinations to try if Fn+F11 doesn’t do the job are Fn+Num Lock or Fn+Shift+Num Lock.
3. Turn off scripts and remapping tools
If you’re running scripts that remap keyboard keys, regardless of which keys are remapped, quit them all. It is possible the script has not been written correctly and it is responsible for incorrect input from the keyboard.
If you have keyboard remapping tools running on your system, quit them as well. It doesn’t’ matter what sort of keys they remap. They may be interfering with the keyboard’s input.
4. Typing in safe mode
If all else fails, and you cannot figure out why the keyboard is typing numbers instead of letters, run Windows 10 in safe mode. This will allow you to determine if the problem is an app or not.
- Open the Start Menu.
- Click the power button.
- Hold down the Shift key and click Restart.
- On the boot screen, go to Troubleshoot>Advanced Options>Startup settings
- Click the Restart button.
- Select the option for Safe mode.
- Once you’ve booted to safe mode, test the keyboard.
- If the keys no longer enter numbers, you have an app or script problem on your hands.
5. Find problematic apps
If an app is intercepting keyboard input and you can’t figure out which one it is, follow these steps.
- Right-click the taskbar and select Task Manager from the context menu.
- Go to the Startup tab.
- Select each item, one-by-one, and click the disable button.
- Restart the system.
- Open Notepad (no other apps should be running on your system).
- Test the keyboard out. If it is working fine, one of your startup apps is responsible.
- Enable/run the apps again, one by one, and test keyboard input after each app has been run to determine which one is causing problems.
6. App-specific input problems
If your keyboard works fine but enters numbers instead of letters in a particular app, it is highly likely the problem has something to do with the app’s own settings. For example, if you have a VoIP app installed on your system, it may not recognize alphabetical input. Explore the app’s settings and check how and if it supports alphabetical input. If not, there isn’t anything you can do outside of using a different app.
Keyboards are simple hardware and they generally do not act up. Hardware damage to a keyboard will prevent keyboard input but it will not change which character is input on a keypress. The above fixes will help you narrow down the problem and quickly resolve it.