Why is my keyboard typing numbers instead of letters?

Written by lee johnson Google
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Why is my keyboard typing numbers instead of letters?
A misbehaving keyboard can be an extremely frustrating problem. (Getty Thinkstock)

If your keyboard is malfunctioning, using a computer turns into a constant battle. Typing numbers when you’re intending to be typing numbers is a common issue, and the solution is ordinarily very simple. Generally speaking, you can work out the exact cause of the problem by looking at which numbers are appearing onscreen when you click on different keys. In most cases, you’ll find that pressing a couple of keys in sequence on your keyboard will resolve the issue, but in some cases you may need to look at programs you’ve recently installed.

Testing the issue

Open your web browser and type the word “jim” in the address bar at the top. If you see the numbers “150,” then the problem is likely to be simple to solve. If you see a string of sequential numbers, such as “123” or “678,” then the solution will probably be a little more complex, although it’s still relatively easy to fix. The numbers “150” correspond to the letters “jim” on most laptop computers when the Num Lock feature is activated.

Num Lock

Typing numbers on a laptop isn’t an issue if you only need to do it occasionally, but it can get annoying if you’re doing a lot of calculations or recording numerical information. On many laptops, the numbers “1” through “0” only have dedicated keys in the row above the “qwerty” line of keys. However, there are usually double-function keys for the letters “j,” “k,” “l,” “o,” “i,” “u,” “m,” “7,” “8” and “9.” You’ll notice that the numbers “0” to “9” are written on these keys in a smaller font. These numbers are activated and deactivated using the Num Lock feature, which has a dedicated key.

Turning off Num Lock

If Num Lock is activated, you’ll notice a light on your keyboard which has a number “1” inside a padlock. Look for the button on your keyboard which says “NumLk” or has the padlock icon. This will usually be written beneath another function on the same key, such as “ScrLk” or “Ins.” To activate this secondary use, find your “Fn” (function) button, which is normally located in the bottom left of the keyboard, next to “Ctrl.” Hold this button and press the “NumLk” key and you should see the light switch off. Type some letters again and the problem should be resolved.

Sequential streams of numbers

If you see a sequential stream of numbers when you try to type, it could be a result of a program you’ve recently installed. These are often included as part of anti-virus packages, with GuardedID being a common one which can cause the issue. The programs can mistake certain programs for key-loggers, or may simply malfunction and think you’re typing into a different window. Exit the program to solve the issue momentarily, or completely uninstall it if you don’t want it to happen again. Make sure it won’t compromise the security of your computer before you uninstall anything. It will usually be an anti key-logging program causing the issue, so although removing it isn’t ideal it shouldn’t present any major security issues. Ensure you’re covered against malware by other virus protection programs.

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