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Type on Your Screen with the Mac Mavericks Virtual Keyboard

Although the Ink feature in Mac Mavericks is nifty, it’s sometimes less than precise. Unfortunately, handwriting recognition is nowhere near 100 percent accurate. However, many OS X power users overlook one alternative method of input: the virtual keyboard, which you can click with your mouse or trackpad to type text in a document, in a System Preferences field, or in anything else that needs completing.

To display the keyboard, choose System Preferences→Language & Text→Input Sources tab, and then select the Keyboard & Character Viewer check box. (To make things easier, make sure that the Show Input Menu in Menu Bar check box is also selected.)

Close System Preferences and click the Input Menu icon that appears in your Finder menu bar — depending on your settings, the icon looks like a square containing an asterisk or a country’s flag — and choose Show Keyboard Viewer.

You can type by clicking this floating keyboard's buttons, including all the navigation and cursor control keys. To hide the keyboard, just click the Input Menu icon in the menu bar again and choose Hide Keyboard Viewer, or click the Close button on the keyboard viewer.

To enter special symbols in a document, click the Input Menu icon in the Finder menu bar and choose Character Viewer — you can select just the right graphics character from a huge selection of symbols, including emoji (also called emoticons), arrows and bullets, pictographs, currency and math symbols, and even Latin!

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