Laptop Displays Numbers When I Type Letters

by Tom Harrison in hardware

The space-saving design of some laptop keyboards can cause confusion when little-known options are accidentally enabled.


Photo of a keyboard

When I press certain letter keys on my laptop’s keyboard, it prints numbers instead! How can I fix this?

Although this may seem odd, there is actually nothing wrong with your keyboard. Your number lock is on — press the Num Lock key once to turn it off, and your keyboard will resume operating normally.

Space is at a premium on a laptop keyboard, so they do not feature the number pad that is usually found on the right side of a full-size keyboard. Instead, some of the letter keys double as number keys. When the number lock is on, those letter keys behave in the same way that the number pad behaves on a full-size keyboard.

Take a look at the keyboard pictured above. Notice how the “K” key also says “2”, and the “L” key also says “3”. When number lock is on, pressing “K” will output “2”, and pressing “L” will output “3”.

Photo by DeclanTM.