A CDE Definition
(1) An on-screen keyboard that is used with a mouse. An accessibility option for people with impairments, the keys are pressed by pointing to the key on screen and clicking the mouse.
(2) A keyboard displayed on a touchscreen. Also called a "soft keyboard," tapping the "virtual keys" with a stylus or finger is the same as pressing a real key on a keyboard. Contrast with physical keyboard. See soft key.
The iPhone's Virtual Keyboard
(3) A full keyboard displayed from a pocket-sized projector. When a person types, the key depressions are picked up by an optical or electronic beam.
Lightweight and Full Size
(1) A simulated button or keyboard key that is displayed on a touchscreen. Also called a "soft button," "virtual button" or "virtual key," touchscreen soft keys enable smartphones, tablets and remote controls to display any style of user interface. However, they have not entirely made real keys obsolete. A few physical buttons can greatly enhance a touch user interface. See touchscreen and virtual keyboard.
(2) A physical button that serves multiple functions on cellphones and other devices. The button is located next to the screen, which displays the key's purpose at that moment. See virtual keyboard.
A Soft Key
Soft Keys at the Gas Pump
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