How to Fix Keyboard Typing Numbers Only Instead of Letters

Some keyboards are created in such a way that at one time you are typing letters and the other time you are typing numbers (when you press the fn or alt key + the button with a letter and a number on top or at the side). For some reason some users don’t know, it suddenly cannot type letters and it sticks only to numbers. In this article, we are going to explain why this happens and give you steps that will restore your keyboard to its normal function. But first we have to understand how the keyboard works.

Most keyboards have a numeric side (numbers only) and an alphanumeric side (numbers and letters and symbols). However, in order to minimize space usage, companies create some keyboards that have the alphanumeric side only. This is quite common in laptops that insist in minimizing space for the sake of portability as seen on mini-laptops and notebooks. Usually, the alphanumeric side is split into function keys (F1 to F12), followed by numeric keys (0-9) and then alphabetic keys (A-Z). There are then a few symbols keys (e.g. brackets, question marks, plus). Cursor keys that change the cursor position e.g. the arrow keys, backspace key insert, home, end, page up, page down, delete and tab key are standard. We then have the special keys like shift, control, alt the caps lock, scroll lock, fn and num lock. The special keys activate extra features of the other keys.

Reason for the Keyboard typing numbers instead of letters

There are other types of keyboards that have squeezed numeric keys and numbers together in order to minimize space and size. A good example is the Lenovo Thinkpad keyboard. To type a number, you have to hold down the Alt or the fn key, otherwise you will be typing letters only. When the keyboard starts typing numbers only instead of letters, then probably the num lock is on. This lets your computer know that you have dedicated the keys (those that have letters and numbers on the same key) to typing numbers only. This becomes a problem when the user doesn’t know how to switch num lock off. The situation is aggravated if the num lock key is no longer functional. Alternatively, one might have turned num lock on while using an external keyboard and the laptop keyboard has a complicated way of turning it off.

This is in fact a normal functioning of the keyboard. It is not a malfunction in any way.

Here are methods that are likely to fix your keyboard without a sweat. The end result that we are aiming for is to turn the num lock off, but it is advisable to also turn the scroll lock and caps lock off just in case they become an issue too.

Method 1: Turn off Num lock from your laptop keyboard

The fastest way to do this is to turn off num lock using your laptop keyboard.

Simply hit the num lock key and it will turn off. A light beside the key or on the top or sides of the laptop will go off to confirm this action.

In some keyboards, you will have to hold down the fn key or shift key + num lock to turn num lock off.

Method 2: Turn off Num lock using the windows on-screen keyboard

If the num lock key is not working and the above solution doesn’t do it, then we will have to bring up the on-screen keyboard then turn num lock off using this keyboard.

  1. Press windows/start key + R to bring up run dialog box
  2. Type osk in the textbox and hit enter
  3. If num lock is on, it will be shown in a different color (white). Turn num lock off.
  4. If you don’t see num lock on the on-screen keyboard, click on options and then check the “Turn on numeric keypad” option Click OK. Now num lock appears; turn it off.

Method 3: Turn off Num lock using an external keyboard

This can be used if your laptop keyboard is too complicated or the num lock key doesn’t work.

  1. Plug in an external keyboard
  2. Wait for it to install
  3. If num lock is activated on your keyboard, the external keyboard num lock light will be on.
  4. Hit num lock on the external keyboard to turn num lock off.
  5. The light on your num lock laptop key will also go off.
  6. Unplug the external keyboard
Kevin Arrows
Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.

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