How to use the keyboard on Steam Deck Desktop Mode

Steam Deck Keyboard In Desktop Mode

The Steam Deck is a brilliant portable gaming device, but it’s also able to function as a basic PC. In times like this, the onboard controls probably won’t cut it for certain tasks. No one likes to navigate onscreen keyboards with controller sticks, after all. This is when it’s time to use the Steam Deck keyboard via its Desktop Mode.

Things like searching for something on the internet or typing messages to your friends on Discord are best left to keyboards. And while the device does have a virtual keyboard, getting it to appear can be tricky. It automatically shows up in certain situations, but there will be times when you want to make it appear manually. So here we’ll quickly let you know how to access the Steam Deck’s keyboard while in Desktop Mode.

How to use the keyboard on Steam Deck Desktop Mode

Accessing the virtual keyboard on the Steam Deck is a simple process. You simply press the ‘Steam’ and ‘X’ buttons at the same time. This will cause the keyboard to appear, and you can use it to type something quickly. In the standard SteamOS mode, this input is all you need to do. But in Desktop Mode, it’s slightly more complicated.

If you want to use the Steam Deck’s virtual keyboard in Desktop mode, you’ll need to make sure Steam is running. Unfortunately, if you don’t have an internet connection, or if Steam is offline, you can’t use the virtual keyboard in Desktop Mode. This is a rather annoying quirk of the Steam Deck, but it is what it is.

Steam Deck Close Up

Image via Valve

Of course, if you wanted to just use a physical keyboard, you would just need to plug one into the Steam Deck’s USB-C slot. By doing this, you won’t need to have Steam running in Desktop Mode. Luckily, Valve made the Steam Deck to be pretty customizable. So you can use it in whichever way feels best to you. This also extends to doing crazier things like installing Windows onto the device.

Sam Robins
About The Author
Sam has been a Contributing Writer for PC Invasion since November 2021. After escaping university with a Master’s degree in Media and Communication, he decided to take up the mantle of writing. From covering the news to crafting guides, he'll take any chance to pick apart whatever he's currently playing. Sam spends most of his time delving into JRPGs and horror games. When he isn't obsessing over the intricacies of Kingdom Hearts he's diving headfirst into the world of tech. Keeping an eye out for the next big purchase that's sure to upset his wallet.