Steam Deck: How to bring up keyboard in Gaming and Desktop mode

Learn how to open and close the keyboard on Steam Deck so you can enter text in unsupported games or Desktop mode.

One of the most important tricks on Steam Deck is knowing how to bring up the keyboard on the screen when you need to enter information. Games that haven’t been fully optimized for Steam Deck won’t do this automatically, and if you’re using the device undocked in Desktop mode, it’s essential. Here’s how to bring up the keyboard on Steam Deck.

How to bring up keyboard on Steam Deck

To bring up the keyboard on Steam Deck, press the Steam button and X button at the same time.

  • Open keyboard: Steam button + X
Steam Deck how to bring up keyboard guide

The Steam button is located below the left trackpad. It has the word STEAM printed on it. The X button is located on the right side of the Steam Deck, just beside the right analog stick. Press both buttons together to bring up keyboard on Steam Deck.

To lower the keyboard again, you’ll need to press the icon of a keyboard with a down arrow on the right side of the keyboard.

Steam deck how to bring up keyboard close keyboard

Note that for menus within the Gaming mode Steam interface, the keyboard will automatically appear when you select a search box or interface that requires entry. Elsewhere, however, and in Desktop mode, you’ll need to use the shortcut listed above to bring up the keyboard on Steam Deck.

There are several other shortcuts available to make shifting through text forms far less painful on Steam deck, all of which use the Steam button. They are as follows:

  • Steam button + D-Pad Down: Tab key (to next form or text)
  • Steam button + D-Pad Left: Escape key (exits the keyboard if open)
  • Steam button + D-Pad Right: Enter key (accepts current selection or pastes from current clipboard)

How to change/customize the keyboard

Steam deck how to customize keyboard

You can also customize and change keyboard theme on Steam Deck by opening the Steam menu, selecting Settings, and moving down to the Keyboard section on the left menu. 

The current keyboard theme will be listed here, with the option to select others or open the Points Shop to buy more.

With that, you now know how to bring up keyboard on Steam Deck when needed. For more useful tips, learn how to take screenshots on Steam Deck and transfer them to PC.

Associate Editor

Henry Stenhouse serves an eternal punishment as the Associate Editor of AllGamers. He spent his younger life studying the laws of physics, even going so far as to complete a PhD in the subject before video games stole his soul. Confess your love of Super Smash Bros. via email at, or catch him on Twitter.

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