Tara Tara - 1 year ago 118
C# Question

How to Use Windows On Screen Keyboard in C# WinForms

  • VS 2010

  • Developing 32-bit App that runs on 64-bit OS (Win7, Win8 - desktop app)

  • C#

  • .NET 4.0

  • WinForms

I have found many threads on launching the Windows on-screen keyboard (osk.exe) from an application, but am running into some problems. It appears to be because I am running a 32-bit app on a 64-bit OS. I've tried the code posted by WooCaSh here:
Keyboard on the screen in WinForms

But none of the three different paths work for me. For the "sysnative" path, Process.Start "Cannot find the path specified." For the system32 and osk.exe paths, I get the "Could not start the on-screen keyboard" error dialog.

I found a possible workaround here, which is a little more complicated than what I was looking for (post by eryang): http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/netfx64bit/thread/10ebc62f-e6d7-4072-9fd1-ea3784a0966f/

  1. Is there an easier or correct way to do this?

  2. I was hoping that running my app on a tablet would automatically launch the on-screen keyboard when the user selects a textbox, but no luck. Is this normal or am I missing something? EDIT: Found that the keyboard is not automatically launched in Win8 when in Desktop mode (which my app is): http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/480250/keyboard-does-not-pop-up-automatically/ Apparently it works on Win7 tablets, but I can't test because I only have Win8 tablets here.

Answer Source

I am now launching the "Touch Keyboard" as opposed to the "On-Screen Keyboard" (which is the keyboard I wanted on Windows 8 anyway) with:

string progFiles = @"C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\ink";
string keyboardPath = Path.Combine(progFiles, "TabTip.exe");

this.keyboardProc = Process.Start(keyboardPath);

This works on my Win7 and Win8, regardless of my 32-bit app on 64-bit OS. However, I still have the problem of programmatically closing the keyboard when I'm done. The process, this.keyboardProc, does not seem to get the handle, and immediately has property HasExited = true. This means my attempts to close or kill it fail.

According to this thread, if the user manually opens the keyboard (or I programmatically launch it), the keyboard will not automatically close/hide when the text field loses focus: Windows 8 - How to Dismiss Touch Keyboard? I tried the workaround of setting the focus to a hidden button, but since I launched the keyboard myself, it doesn't close automatically.