Why Does My Keyboard Stop Typing Numbers?

By Lara Webster

The number lock turns on or off immediately when you hit "Num Lock."
i Ciaran Griffin/Stockbyte/Getty Images

All computer keyboards contain a set of number keys, sometimes two, that can be used to type numbers within a document or calculate a formula on the internal calculator. If your keyboard suddenly won't type numbers, you have probably hit the "Number Lock" key on your keyboard without realizing it. Luckily, this issue is easily resolved.

Number Lock On

When the number lock on your keyboard is turned on, you are able to use the number pad to type numbers on your screen. The number lock key is often located in the bottom left corner of your keyboard, and sometimes an LED light at the top of your keyboard lets you know when the number lock is on or off. Because keys are too small to include the entire title, your number lock key typically says "Num Lock."

Number Lock Off

If you turn your number lock off, the keyboard on which you are working will no longer use numerical keys as numbers. Instead, the number keys serve as various other keyboard functions. For instance, when the number lock is off, the "2" key functions as a "Down Arrow" key and the "8" key is the "Up Arrow" key. If your keyboard stops typing numbers, hit the "Num Lock" key once to toggle it back into the "On" position.


Laptop keyboards generally don't have a number lock key. If your laptop only has a single row of numbers along the top, and not a small number pad in the lower right corner, you probably don't have the number lock option available. If your number keys stop functioning as normal on a laptop, check the "fn" key -- if that key is stuck, your number keys start to function as the "F1, F2, etc." keys.

Hardware Problems

If checking the "Num Lock" or "fn" key on your computer keyboard does not resolve the problem of your number keys not working, it is always possible that there is an issue with your actual keyboard. If you are working on a desktop computer, try swapping out your current keyboard with another one to see if the same problem exists -- if it doesn't, your keyboard is the issue.