The on-screen keyboard in Windows 7 is a giant leap forward

I was helping a friend with a printer problem earlier today which gave me the chance to use Windows 7 for the first time. I have been an Applehead for about three years. The last version of Windows that I used on a daily basis was Windows XP. As much of an Apple fanboy that I am, I admit Windows has always had a better built-in on-screen keyboard than Mac OS in as much as you can call Mac OS’s Keyboard Viewer an on-screen keyboard. That thing is not suitable if you are going to be typing via a mouse or switch. Personally, I use KeyStrokes, an on-screen keyboard for Mac. It’s great, but it’s also $299. If you have a disability, you don’t necessarily have that kind of cash laying around. Probably because you spent it on a $400 accessible spoon or something of that sort (because an angled spoon is high tech!). Okay, seriously, KeyStrokes is worth it but not everyone is in a position to buy it. My brother’s stance on the discrepancy in virtual keyboards between operating systems was succinctly summarized when he wrote:

Windows comes with a free Onscreen Keyboard that works perfectly. Surely Mac wouldn’t let themselves get beat out…

Now Windows is getting even further ahead of Mac in the on-screen keyboard game. The new keyboard has an improved look and feel. It is resizable. And, possibly the biggest change, it has text prediction built right in! There is one catch. Prediction isn’t included in the Home Basic version of Windows 7. Still, this is huge, especially when compared to Mac’s Keyboard Viewer. But don’t take my word for it. See the new keyboard in action:

One thought on “The on-screen keyboard in Windows 7 is a giant leap forward

  1. While I have been primarily a MAC OS X user, I am quite comfortable using Windows 7. While I have only used the keyboard viewer on an Apple computer while using the board, I think that the advantage it has over the Windows 7 on-screen keyboard is that by pushing down the ALT key or the ALT + SHIFT key, I can see in the Keyboard viewer the special character/symbol I need when typing…. which is a feature that Windows 7’s on-screen keyboard lacks, and so if I need to find a special character such as ” § ” I would need to either copy and paste it or look up the key code.

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