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OS X: Unable to type while Mouse Keys is enabled

Symptoms

If you are unable to type letters, numbers, or symbols, you may have Mouse Keys enabled on a keyboard that has no numeric keypad or Num Lock key. If you log in as a different user (who does not have Mouse Keys enabled), you may be able to type numbers using some keys, but not letters.

Resolution

Disabling Mouse Keys

Mouse Keys is an accessibility feature of OS X that enables you to use the keyboard to control your pointer in OS X. If you have inadvertently enabled Mouse Keys, your keyboard responds differently, ignoring some keys. To disable Mouse Keys, use the steps below.

Mouse Keys is enabled through the Accessibility or Universal Access pane of System Preferences. When this option is enabled, you can toggle it on and off by pressing the Option key five times. In OS X Mountain Lion and later, you can quickly toggle Mouse Keys on and off from the Accessibility Options shortcut as well. If you are using a new computer and have never enabled Mouse Keys, you may have used Setup Assistant or Migration Assistant to migrate a user from another system which had Mouse Keys enabled.

OS X Mountain Lion and later

  1. Choose System Preferences from the Apple menu.
  2. Click the Accessibility icon in the System Preferences window.
  3. Click Mouse & Trackpad, or select the Mouse tab.
  4. Select (check) the option to Enable Mouse Keys.

    If you have already logged in as a different user where Mouse Keys is disabled, click On and then click Off next to Mouse Keys, to return the keyboard to normal operation.

OS X Lion and earlier

  1. Choose System Preferences from the Apple menu.
  2. Choose Universal Access from the View menu.
  3. Click the Mouse & Trackpad or Mouse tab.
  4. Select Off, next to Mouse Keys.

    If you have already logged in as a different user where Mouse Keys is disabled, click On and then click Off next to Mouse Keys, to return the keyboard to normal operation.

Learn more

See more reasons why your keyboard might not respond.

Last Modified: Mar 4, 2014
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  • Last Modified: Mar 4, 2014
  • Article: TS1297
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