How to Move Cursor with Keyboard? [“Mouse Keys” Described]

Windows, macOS, and some other graphical user interfaces have an ease of access feature called “Mouse Keys” which enables you to use your keyboard as the pointing device instead of a mouse. That said, to be able to move cursor with keyboard, you need to turn on “Mouse Keys” on your laptop or PC.

How to Enable/Disable “Mouse Keys”?

There are two ways you can turn on or off the feature on your PC: via your keyboard using a shortcut key combination or via Ease of Access in your system settings or control panel.

#1. The Keyboard Shortcut

The shortcut key combination to enable/disable “Mouse Keys” is to press Alt + Shift + Num Lock keys on your keyboard at once.

When the dialogue box asking “Do you want to turn on Mouse Keys?” appears, use the arrow keys on your keyboard to hover to Yes and press the Spacebar or Enter key to confirm. (Repeat the same steps when turning the feature OFF, later on).

#2. Via “Ease of Access” Settings

The second way you can activate/deactivate “Mouse Keys” is from your system settings or control panel. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to do that.

From Settings:

  1. If you are on Windows 10, press the Windows logo + I both the keys at once to get to your System Settings.
  2. Now use the Tab key to navigate down to the settings menu and use the arrow keys on your keyboard to hover to Ease of Access. And press Enter to get in.

Or you can access the “Ease of Access” settings/menu straight from anywhere by pressing the two “Windows logo + U” keys at once.

  1. Inside the Ease of Access window, again press the Tab key to start navigating the left-side menu and use the down arrow key to get down to the Interaction heading and select Mouse.
  2. Press the Tab button again to move to the On/Off toggle button on the right side of the screen under “Control your mouse with a keypad” and press Spacebar to toggle it ON.
  3. Check/Uncheck or adjust other settings (i.e. pointer speed and acceleration, etc.) if and to the extent you deem appropriate and press Alt + F4 at once to exit/close the settings.

“Mouse Keys” work only when the “Num Lock” is ON, so make sure it’s pressed ON. You’ll hear a beep-like sound upon turning the “Num Lock” on, indicating the cursor is now being controlled via the keyboard’s numeric keypad.

To stop using “Mouse Keys” temporarily, disable it by turning off the “Num Lock”. But to permanently disable the feature, you’d need to repeat the above-given steps and then toggle the button OFF in step 4.

You can also follow this flowchart of steps to access “Mouse Keys”:

Press the Windows logo + R keys simultaneously to open the Run dialogue box. Type “ms-settings:easeofaccess-mouse in the Run window and enter. You’ll straight away land at the desired page. Regarding what to do next, see steps 4 and 5 given above.

Or simply navigate to the search bar/box on your desktop screen using the Tab key, type “ease of access mouse settings” in it, and enter. (Also, this may work for everyone regardless of what Windows version (i.e. 10/8.1/8/7/XP/Vista) he/she’s on).

Vis Control Panel

  1. If the mouse is already not working, press the Windows logo button on your keyboard, type Control Panel in the search bar, and press Enter.
  2. In the control panel menu, navigate to Ease of Access Center using the arrow keys and get in.
  3. Therein, using the down arrow key, glide down to Make the mouse easier to use and press Enter.
  4. Check the Turn on Mouse Keys box under the “Control the mouse with the keyboard” heading. Tap Apply and then OK to confirm.
  5. You can then navigate down to and enter the Set up Mouse Keys menu to adjust other settings like pointer speed and acceleration, etc. as described in the previous steps.

Though this method is applicable for all, it’s more of a point for non-Windows-10 users who perhaps can’t access the “Ease of Access” settings from anywhere but the “Control Panel” only.

How to Move Cursor with Keyboard?

Now the only question is, how does Mouse Keys work? How to use this feature? How to control the mouse pointer using Mouse Keys? Well, once the feature is enabled, here’s how you can use your keyboard’s numeric keypad to control and move the cursor:

  1. 2, 4, 6, and 8 are the four basic keys used to move the mouse pointer lineally Down, Right, Left, and Up respectively on the screen.
  2. 1, 3, 7, and 9 are the concomitant keys used to move the cursor in nonlinear directions as follows:
    1. To move the cursor Down and to the Left, press 1.
    2. To move it Down and to the Right, press 3.
    3. Press 7 to move the cursor Up and to the Left.
    4. Press 9 to move it UP and to the Right.

If you feel the cursor is still slow despite you’ve adjusted the pointer speed and acceleration above, you can use the Ctrl key to speed up (and Shift to slow down) its movement. But it would only work if you’ve already checked the “Hold Ctrl key to speed up and Shift to slow down” box in the “Ease of Access – Mouse” settings (i.e. step 5 of both the above methods).

YouTube video

How to Select Mouse Buttons? How to Click, Drag, and Drop Items Using “Mouse Keys”?

Of course, it’s not just about moving the cursor on the screen, you also need to learn how to click, select/deselect, drag, and drop items/apps/programs, etc. using your keyboard now. So here’s all about that.

To Select One of the Two Mouse Buttons and Click Apps/Programs/Files, etc.

  • The asterisk (*) button on the keyboard lets you select both the mouse buttons.
  • The forward-slash (/) serves the function of selecting the Left Mouse Button. If pressed once, it makes the left mouse button the active button for you (until you deselect it yourself). You can now left-click on and open or select objects by pointing to that particular thing (app/program/file) and pressing the 5 key.
  • The keyboard key with the minus () sign on it serves the function of selecting the Right Mouse Button for you. Press it once to select the right mouse button as your action button, and you can now right-click items by accessing them and pressing 5.

To Double-click an item (or items), first press the “/” key to make the Left Mouse Button active, and then navigate to the object(s) and press the plus (+) key on your keyboard.

Note though, a mouse button once selected stays selected until you deselect it and take another mouse button. For example, if you press the minus (-) key once, the right mouse button will stay picked as the active button until you press another button i.e. “/” or “asterisk” to change the active button.

To Drag and Drop an Item

Because the mouse button once selected is automatically held selected until you change it, you can drag and drop the items via the keyboard as well.

For that, navigate to the item you want to drag and drop to another location and press the zero (0) button on your keypad to select it first. Then, either press the Options button (located in between the Alt and Ctrl right to the spacebar) on your keyboard, select Cut/Copy from the list, take the cursor to the location where you want to drop the object, and press the decimal point/period (.) button.

Or you can simply point to that object, select it by pressing (0), take the cursor to the intended location, and press the period (.) button to drop it over there.

Which keys help to move the cursor?

With the arrow keys, you can also navigate your mouse cursor easily on your screen, using it as a navigation tool.

How do I control my cursor with my Windows 10 keyboard?

Windows 10 has a nifty feature known as “Ease of Access” with which you can use your keyboard as a mouse navigation tool.

How do I move the text cursor?

To move around your text cursor in a text document, use the arrow keys. For easy cursor movement among paragraphs, the Shift or Control key can also be used.

Final Note

Closing it with the verdict that although it’s possible to control the cursor with the keyboard and use your keyboard as the pointing device instead of a mouse, it’s never the best way you can and you ever will take in. It’s pretty difficult to get the mouse’s job done by the keyboard.

But if you’ve got an urgent assignment to complete and your mouse unsound, you can still be better off getting the hang of it. I’ve explained how to move cursor with keyboard and other related questions and queries at all the needed length in the article above. Go and learn how it’s done.