A numeric keypad over one of Microsoft's Windows 11 desktop backgrounds.

If you don’t have a mouse connected to your Windows 11 PC—or you just need an easier way to move the mouse pointer arrow—you can turn on “mouse keys” and use your numeric keypad as a mouse. Here’s how.

First, press Windows+i to open the Windows Settings app. Alternately, right-click the Start button on your taskbar. When a special menu pops up, select “Settings.”

In Settings, click “Accessibility” in the sidebar, then scroll down to the “Interaction” section and select “Mouse.”

In Accessibility > Mouse, flip the switch beside “Mouse Keys” to “on.”

Turn the switch beside "Mouse Keys" to "On."

By default, mouse keys only works when Num Lock is on. If you’d prefer not to use Num Lock this way, uncheck “Only use mouse keys when Num lock is on.” With mouse keys enabled in Settings, you can turn mouse keys on or off by pressing Left Alt + Left Shift + Num Lock at any time.

If the mouse movement is too slow (it usually is very slow by default), use the sliders labeled “Mouse Keys Speed” and “Mouse Keys Acceleration” to adjust it until it feels comfortable.

Use the mouse keys speed and accelleration sliders to make the mouse pointer move faster or slower.

Also, if you want to dramatically speed up or slow down the mouse pointer while using mouse keys, place a check mark beside “Hold the Ctrl key to speed up and the Shift key to slow down.” Then use Ctrl and Shift as described while moving the mouse pointer with the 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, or 9 keys on the numeric keypad.

RELATED: How to Fix Your Keyboard Typing Numbers Instead of Letters

How to Click While Using Mouse Keys

It isn’t immediately obvious how to perform mouse button clicks while using mouse keys, but once you learn how, it’s fairly easy. Here’s a list of what each numeric keypad key does in relation to performing clicks or dragging items.

  • The “5” Key: Pressing this performs the active click method (by default, left click), which is set by one of the keys listed below.
  • The “/” Key: This sets the active click method to left-click.
  • The “*” Key: This sets the active click method to both left- and right-click at the same time.
  • The “-” Key: This sets the active click method to right-click.
  • The “0” Key: Push this key to lock a left click in the “on” position, which is useful for dragging items.
  • The “.” Key: Press this to release the click-and-drag lock that was set with the “0” key.

It’s important to note that the keys 2, 4, 6, and 8 control pointer movement in the four cardinal directions, and the 1, 3, 7 and 9 keys control diagonal pointer movement.

When you combine them all together, you can perform any maneuver you’d normally do with a mouse. For example, if you’d like to click and drag an icon across your desktop, position the mouse cursor over it using the movement keys, then press “0” on the numeric keypad.

When you press the movement keys again, you’ll notice that you’re dragging the icon as if the left mouse button is held down. To release it, press the “.” (period) key. If your movement is too slow, hold down Ctrl while pressing a movement key. With enough practice, using mouse keys becomes easier over time. Happy mousing!

Profile Photo for Benj Edwards Benj Edwards
Benj Edwards is a former Associate Editor for How-To Geek. Now, he is an AI and Machine Learning Reporter for Ars Technica. For over 15 years, he has written about technology and tech history for sites such as The Atlantic, Fast Company, PCMag, PCWorld, Macworld, Ars Technica, and Wired. In 2005, he created Vintage Computing and Gaming, a blog devoted to tech history. He also created The Culture of Tech podcast and regularly contributes to the Retronauts retrogaming podcast.
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