Keyboard Keys Typing Numbers Instead of Letters

If some of the keys on your keyboard are typing numbers instead of letters, check to make sure Num Lock is not on. This seems obvious, but it’s a common occurrence on laptop and notebook computers, and it’s not as easy as just pressing a NumLock key to turn it off.

On some Gateway notebook computers, for example, you toggle the NumLock function by pressing Fn+. In other words, you hold down the Fn key (lower left of the keyboard) while pressing and releasing the Scroll key. Toggle means the keystroke turns the function on it it’s off or off it it’s on.

On some Packard-Bell keyboards, you hold down the Fn key while pressing the Ins key.

The important thing to remember is that if your keyboard is typing numbers when you’re trying to type letters, it’s likely that Num Lock is on. Your next step is to read the manual or check the manufacturer’s website for instructions on how to toggle Num Lock off.

Meet the Author

Joe Kraynak

Author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Computer Basics.

85 comments… add one

  • avatar casi Dec 29, 2011, 12:34 am

    Uhm, i have just a regular laptop. Dell. Andd, idk what i hit. But, eveytime i type the letters… it just types numbers. right now im on a diff. computer.. but i need my laptop to go back to normal. i already tried the num lock… it doesn’t work. please help.

  • avatar Stan Jan 23, 2012, 3:53 pm

    Same prob with my Dell Vostro 1520
    Hold down FN and num lock key at same time and it seems to have fixed the problem

  • avatar cathy Mar 5, 2012, 7:23 am

    oh this was such great help, i was almost feeling frustrated but i pressed fn and the scroll button and everything is ok, thank!

  • avatar Ahmed Gareeballah Mar 21, 2012, 9:33 am

    Yeah This is such a great help Indeed , Thanks a Lot .

  • avatar Anonymous Jun 25, 2012, 1:41 pm

    This is SUPER helpful !! Fixed my PC. Fn + Num Lck/ Fn + Scrn Lck

  • avatar Anonymous Jul 12, 2012, 11:38 pm

    how about a desktop it doesent have a fn key

  • avatar Blossom Jul 24, 2012, 5:37 am

    This was such a SUPER HELPER! I had no idea what was going on when I was typing and some were letters and some were numbers? This is the solution that Works! Thank You!

  • avatar Lindsey Jul 28, 2012, 2:08 pm

    I have a ASUS laptop?? And I need! HELP I use photo editor sites and I dunno what the heck a toggle key is My dads a computer expert but My computer has broke SO many times and he fixed it a bunch!!! I’m scarred to ask him again!!!…

  • avatar kyle Aug 19, 2012, 5:23 am

    Thank you So Much this was a Greta help to me As I when booting up i could not even get passed the sign on screen , as when putting in my password , they were stared out , So i rebooted in SAFE mode then moved the curser up to the browser window and typed my password discovering that i was getting NUMBERS instead of letter! i used the on screen keyboard to WORK AROUND to Sign in with my PASSWORD. then in SAFE MODE removed my password, Rebooote , used on screen keyboard found your web page TRIED THE Fn +Ins Together as was mentioned on your web page ,and Wala! all fixed this worked on my Acer Laptop with Win 7. Thank you Very Much! I thought i had gotten a strange virus.

  • avatar kyle Aug 19, 2012, 5:29 am

    followup post, After reading what I wrote, I thought i better clarify to any reader who was getting number mixed with letters when typing , That in the lower left hand side of the keyboard is the Function key [Fn] pressing that key combined at the same time pressing the [Ins] Key in the upper right side , Was a successful remedy to the problem to repair my key board back to normal pressing letter keys and getting the desired corresponding letter key when pressed , instead of NUMBERS as was the problem that let me to looking to find your web page . \
    Thank you

  • avatar Pam Oct 4, 2012, 11:02 am

    Thanx so much. After 2 hours of trial & error..whala!!..fixed. I’ve added you to my favorites 😉

  • avatar ericka Nov 10, 2012, 12:05 am

    help! everytime i hit M C and other letters they come out with numbers. just like this m7 c3 z1 v4

  • avatar Annabelle Jan 4, 2013, 6:08 am

    thanks so much for this site, was a great help for me, was able to fix my problem earlier…Thanks!

  • avatar Genevieve Jan 11, 2013, 11:20 pm

    Thanks for posting this helpful information. I use a dell laptop too and little fingers tend to press all sorts of keys when you don’t want them to!
    I’ve put the ‘fix’ onto a sticky note on my noticeboard so I can find it easily. Phew!

  • avatar Deborah Jan 17, 2013, 4:56 pm

    thanks for the help called gateway and they wanted my house to solve my problem. alpha keys were typing numeric, read your site and fixed problem in 2 seconds.

  • avatar Stev5 Jan 30, 2013, 3:14 am

    I have an HP and I do not have an INS button. Any ideas? Ive tried every combination of the FN key with SCROLL, PRT SC, SYS RQ, PAUSE, NUM LOACK and BREAK
    I dont know what I did but before I did it with NUM LOCk on my letters were letters and I could use the 10 key now I can either use the 10 key with some of my letters showing as numbers or I can turn num lock off and my letters are fine.
    I want to use my 10 key and letters!!

  • avatar All Ayes On Me Feb 10, 2013, 2:01 pm

    Thanks This is what i have been searching alot

  • avatar Zahid Apr 23, 2013, 2:08 pm

    I have a problem with my Hp laptop when I a am writing on Persion language in Skype or yahoo massanger by pressing any key it changes the writing language but in other programs it is normal so how to resolve it

  • avatar Roxanne Aug 30, 2013, 11:40 pm

    I have a desk top that does not have an fn key and I get numbers appearing while attempting to type letters. The only solution I’ve been able to come up with is to shut it down and re-start it. Does anyone have a better solution?

  • avatar Roxanne Aug 30, 2013, 11:41 pm

    I have a laptop that does not have an fn key. The only solution I’ve been able to come up with is to shut the computer down and restart it. Does any one have a better idea so I do not have to shut it down?

  • avatar sivakumaran Dec 12, 2013, 10:58 pm

    kyle: its working. thanks buddy.

  • avatar Dorothy Feb 1, 2014, 11:09 pm

    THANK YOU!!!!

  • avatar Dave May 26, 2014, 4:49 pm

    If anyone else tries all the above and it doesn’t work and you have bitdefender installed. Uninstall it. Once I did that it worked fine.

  • avatar mick groshowsky Jun 30, 2014, 5:18 pm

    Fix for keyboard error was right on!

    Question: How come the Online guru’s did no know this simple fix.

    Also: Why doesn’t Gateway address “Feature” in their “Help”

    Thank whomever you are!

  • avatar M.J Jul 18, 2014, 10:30 am

    It worked! Thanks

  • avatar dj Jul 30, 2014, 3:45 pm

    Thanks for the article. Gateway keyboard back to normal.

  • avatar Denise Dixon Sep 9, 2014, 5:31 pm

    the information given was very useful thanks much.

  • avatar kely Sep 23, 2014, 6:55 pm

    Hp laptop, fn+f11 doesn’t work, I don’t have num lock key or idk whrre it is and I don’t have ins key or a ins button or idk where it is. I tried everything but still typing letter and numbers help please

  • avatar Darla Mar 12, 2015, 10:40 pm

    I have a Logitech keyboard K520. My letters are being typed as numbers. I’ve tried all the fixes above and none of them work. Does anyone have any other suggestions? Thanks, in advance.

  • avatar Anonymous May 2, 2015, 11:10 pm

    Super ma……

  • avatar thiyagarajan May 2, 2015, 11:12 pm

    It is worth.super ma. Fn+num lk+ scr lk

  • avatar Carole May 11, 2015, 3:23 am

    Help I don’t seem to have a fn or function button or if I have, I can’t see it, my problem is that when I press full stop! this happens ., or commas the same thing its most annoying if you can help tell me

  • avatar Jen2 May 29, 2015, 2:36 am

    Thanks a bunch Thiyagarajan!!! it works whew!!!

  • avatar Sally and Sue Aug 5, 2015, 8:30 pm

    Thanks so much, we freaked out and thought it was a virus haa haa! Your help fixed it in minutes!! XXX

  • avatar Sag Aug 17, 2015, 3:14 pm

    Wow! It WORKED thank you thank you; feeling happy:) I too thought I had a virus. Thanks for you help.

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