How to use the Steam Deck’s keyboard in desktop mode

steam deck how to use a keyboard

Need to access the virtual keyboard on your Steam Deck in Desktop mode? Here’s how to do that in just a couple of button presses.

The Steam Deck is, at the end of the day, a fully-fledged PC. It’s encased in a fun, game console-esque outer shell, but there comes a time in every user’s life when they need a keyboard. Whether it’s to type in some passwords or follow one of our many, many tutorials that use the desktop environment.

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Whatever it is, you’re going to eventually need to use the Steam Deck’s keyboard. But, don’t fret if you don’t want to hook up an external keyboard, as Valve has baked one into the Steam Deck’s OS.

A major problem with the keyboard is that Valve does not tell you how to use the virtual keyboard functions in desktop mode. Unless you happen to load a game that prompts it, you can go weeks before figuring out what the shortcut for the virtual keyboard is.

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But, don’t fret, as it’s incredibly simple to activate, only requiring a simple button combination that’s incredibly simple to remember.

How to use the Steam Deck keyboard in desktop mode

Steam Deck DPad and stickDexerto

All you need to do to bring up the Steam Deck’s virtual keyboard is press the Steam button and X. This will bring up the virtual keyboard. You can bring this virtual keyboard up no matter what you might be doing on the system itself.

The virtual keyboard can occasionally take a few seconds to appear, so if it has not immediately shown up, just wait a moment or two as it can cause a stutter on the system itself.

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Steam Deck keyboard not working? Follow these steps

Once you’ve entered the Steam Deck’s desktop mode, ensure that Steam is running. Without it, the keyboard is not going to show up, as the shortcuts are tied to the Steam app itself.

For example, if you shut Steam down to use an app like Emudeck, you’ll need to rely on alternative input methods, which can initially be confusing.

If you’re looking for more guides to your Steam Deck, we’ve got an ultimate starter guide to kick things off. This includes things like our best choices for microSD cards, and even how to set up a sudo password for Linux.

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