The keyboard is a fundamental element of our computer, without which we would no longer be able to carry out the most basic activities. When using it, chances are that on some occasion, while typing, we have noticed that the keys start to show numbers and symbols on the screen instead of letters. Generally this something happens unintentionally and many times, almost, without a logical explanation. We may have done something wrong, but we do not really know what could have happened, so today we are going to see how we can solve the keyboard writing numbers instead of letters.
Unless we have a touch screen associated with our computer with which to write with a virtual keyboard, the physical keyboard is a basic tool if we want to use our computer. It is possible to do without the mouse, but not the keyboard, so any mishap that happens to us with it can become a problem that, apparently, may have a difficult solution.
- When I write numbers, I get letters. Why?
- Num Lock disable it to end the problem
- Alternative solutions
When I write numbers, I get letters. Why?
As we have mentioned, the keyboard is a fundamental element of our computer, of which we can find several types, depending on whether we have a desktop PC or a laptop. Either in one or the other, the main problem that causes our keyboard to write numbers instead of letters is due to the number lock.
The presence of the Num Lock on external keyboards
In the case that we have a desktop computer, the keyboard is a peripheral that is connected to it. This can come in different shapes and sizes, which generally include a numeric keypad on the right side. This is because in 1981 IBM decided to make the keys on the numeric keypad perform a double function, be it numeric keys and cursor keys. So that we could switch between them, he introduced the key called Num Lock .
In this way, while the Num Lock key is activated, the keyboard works like the keyboard of an adding machine with numbers and symbols. For this reason, we can check how numbers and symbols appear on the screen such as the asterisk (*) or the plus (+) among others, which are responsible for representing mathematical operations. Whereas if the Num Lock key is disabled as if it will register cursor keys (up, down, left and right).
Fn key on laptop keyboards
The presence of a numeric keypad in a laptop is not so common, especially in so-called ultrabooks, with screens smaller than 15 inches. In these cases the Num Lock key works differently. Instead of converting the cursor keys to numbers, it converts a section of QWERTY letters on the keyboard into a virtual number keyboard.
So that we run out of number keyboard, our laptop can have the Fn key. That is why if our keyboard writes numbers instead of letters, it is because the Num lock key is activated, which makes our numeric keyboard turn on. This key, if not physically located on the keyboard, can be activated using the “Fn” key formed keys. Additionally, keys can be assigned to other keys with applications or with scripts. In this way, being activated, each letter is assigned a number which causes that, even if we press on the letters, only numbers appear on the screen.
Num Lock disable it to end the problem
At this point, we can imagine that the problem may be because we have not realized it and we have the Num Lock key without deactivating. But there may also be more cases that we are going to review below
Disable the numeric keypad
If we have a PC with a numeric keyboard, we only have to locate the Num Lock key and press it to deactivate it. In some cases it is possible that we have an LED light that, if it is on, will indicate that it is activated, and if it is off, deactivated, which will help us to know its status.
In case we have a laptop without a numeric keypad, it is likely that it will require us to hold down the Fn key while pressing the Num Lock to activate or deactivate it. If our keyboard does not incorporate the letter Num Lock, we can try the key combination Fn + F11 to deactivate the numeric lock function.
Num Lock key not working? Use the Windows keyboard
If we have the misfortune that the Num Lock key on our keyboard does not work, we can solve it by using the internal keyboard that incorporates Windows by default. To activate it, we can use the Windows keyboard shortcut + r, the Run command will appear, we type osk and press Enter. Later, the Windows keyboard will appear, so we can deactivate the key by clicking on the combination Fn + F11.
Num Lock key is broken – try an external keyboard
In the extreme case that the Num Lock key on the keyboard of our laptop is broken, which prevents deactivating the lock, we can choose to use an external keyboard. We simply have to connect the new keyboard through the USB port. In the event that the keyboard has LED lighting, the Num Lock key should be eliminated, so we will only have to press on it to proceed to unlock it.
In the event that the activation of the Num Lock key is not the cause of our problem and the keyboard continues to type numbers instead of letters, we can try other possible solutions.
Try writing in safe mode
There may be a problem with Windows that has affected our keyboard. We can find out this by trying to run Windows 10 in safe mode. For it we open the start menu and select the power button. We hold down the “Shift key” and click “Restart”.
Next, a new blue screen will appear where we must select Troubleshoot. Later we click on “Advanced options” and “Startup settings”. Now click on the Restart button and choose the “Safe Mode” option. Once started we must test the keyboard and check if it writes correctly. In the event that the keys do not enter a number, it means that the problem surely comes from the applications.
Problem caused by conflicting applications
At this point, the problem may be caused by an application that is running from startup and is intercepting keyboard input. If we do not know what it may be, we can follow these simple steps. Right-click on the taskbar and select “Task Manager” from the context menu.
Next, within the Task Manager, click on the “Start” tab. Now we select each element and click on the “Disable” button. Once finished we restart the computer. Once rebooted, there should be no other applications running on the system, so we proceed to open Notepad and test the keyboard. If it works correctly, it means that one of the applications in the start menu is responsible.
We go back to the Task Manager and we are enabling and executing all the applications one by one to check which could be the cause of the problem.