Virtual Keyboard on Lock Screen

As part of our efforts to improve out of box experience for touch screens I’m pleased to announce that Plasma 5.10 will provide integration for virtual keyboard.

Plasma 5.10 finally integrates qtvirtualkeyboard directly in the lockscreen component of the look and feel package. Support for Qt’s virtual keyboard is not new in Plasma in general, it is already fully integrated into the Plasma Wayland session. This change, though, can be used on both Wayland and X11.

Greeter with new Virtual Keyboard button

The lockscreen got extended by a new button next to the keyboard layout switcher: “Virtual Keyboard”. When clicking this button the virtual keyboard gets enabled and one can use it (with both touch and mouse) to enter the password and unlock the screen.

Virtual Keyboard in the lock screen

As a nice side effect this finally enables the possibility to enter east Asian languages in the lock screen. So far we had to actively disable input methods on the lockscreen to prevent that the screen cannot be unlocked. As a side effect this meant that only latin characters can be used in the password. I hope that the new virtual keyboard can help here by providing a better experience.

As a note to our touch screen users. It’s possible to use Qt’s virtual keyboard for all Qt application. One just needs to specify the env variable QT_IM_MODULE=qtvirtualkeyboard. When entering text Qt pops up the virtual keyboard as an additional window. This is only needed in an X11 session. In a Wayland session KWin provides the integration and Qt apps (and other apps) get the virtual keyboard through the Wayland text input protocol.

10 Replies to “Virtual Keyboard on Lock Screen”

  1. Silly question, Martin. How difficult would it be to centralize the cursor within the SDDM password field, for the benefit of aesthetics? Thank you!

    1. I’m sorry but I have no idea what you are talking about. Please note that I do not work on SDDM at all.

      1. He’s suggesting that you start writing in the center of the white password box and, as the password gets longer, it keeps itself centered in the box, instead of left-justified.

  2. That looks real nice. Back when I tried Plasma Active the virtual keyboard was rather flaky. Can’t wait to see how it works on the new tablet I’ll be getting soon.

    I also wonder if SDDM has virtual keyboard support… And no possibility to have that in non-Qt apps?

  3. For 7 long years, I have waited for on onscreen keyboard capable of Google-Keyboard-on-Android-like gesture-based typing that played well with KDE. From the QT blog, I see that QT Virtual Keyboard from 2.0 “will allow gesture based text input as well as typing.”

    Does this mean… that my wait is finally at an end…?

  4. That is super cool, thanks Martin! Right now, suspending my 2-in-1 laptop doesn’t activate screen lock, in case I deactivated the keyboard before suspending, which annoys me.

    With this, I will always be able to enter my password, so I will be able to reactive the lock-on-suspend!

    (I gather from the text that the virtual keyboard is working for screen lock in X11, but not for Plasma in X11 in general?)

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