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Florence Virtual Keyboard

A virtual keyboard is available for download through the NI repository. It provides basic functionality in the xfce desktop environment and a method of input for touchscreen interfaces when a physical keyboard is not available.


  1. Open a terminal window (in LV RT Linux, it is the second icon from the left in the bottom panel)
  2. With a physical keyboard attached through USB, type in the following commands in order:
  • su admin
  • opkg update
  • opkg install florence
  • su lvuser
  • florence &

   3.  Florence should now be on screen.

If an error message appears about a missing gconf library, simply install the library through opkg ("opkg install gconf"). It is important to note that florence cannot be run while logged in an admin account.

Enable Florence launch-on-startup

  1. Click on the settings button (second icon from right)
  2. Click on "Session and Startup"
  3. Click on the "Application Autostart" tab
  4. Click "add"
  5. Type the following into the fields
    • Name: Florence Keyboard
    • Description: Onscreen virtual keyboard
    • Command: florence
  6. It is important that "florence" under the Command field is left all lowercase
  7. Click "OK"

Some things to know

Clicking on the wrench icon allows you to change the settings. The left-most column of the keyboard is activated by having the "Florence keys" option selected in the "layout" tab of the settings window. You can configure the appearance of the keyboard in the settings window, but once you unselect the "Florence keys" option the user will not be able to move the keyboard or change any of its settings. If you need to access the settings window again, type "florence -c" into a terminal window.

The keyboard layouts can be modified by editing xml files in the following directory: /usr/share/florence/layouts

For more involved modifications, the source code must be downloaded and modified.

Note that with the "Florence keys" option enabled, a minimization button appears in the upper-left hand corner. This button can also be used to move the keyboard (in both the minimized and expanded state). The minimized state appears in the dropdown layouts menu. DO NOT select the "mini" option and close the window. Nothing serious will happen, but you will be left with just a minimize button that then expands into a minimize button. If that happens somehow, simply type "florence -c" in a terminal window and change the layout option to a functional keyboard.

Settings options and what they do

Style Tab

     Shape:               Changes shape of the keys on the keyboard

     Colors:               Changes colors of the keys and letters on the keys

     Focus Zoom:      Changes the amount a key is zoomed after it has been pressed

                               (note that the expanded key area is not sensitive to touch, so it is purely aesthetic)

Window Tab

     Decorated:         Enables or disables the program bar above Florence (recommended to disable)

     Transparent:       Enable or disables if the background is visible behind the keyboard (recommended to enable)

     Resizable:          Allows user to change shape of keyboard by clicking and dragging decorated corners (disable)

     Keep ratio:         If resizing, keep x:y ratio of keyboard intact

     Task bar:           While Florence is running, have an icon in the task bar

     Always on top:   Florence will always appear at the front of the screen (recommended to enable)

     Keep on top:      Same as always on top, but only used if desktop manager does not support

                              functions necessary for Always on top to work (recommended to disable)

     Opacity:            Change the transparency of the keys

Layout Tab

     Dropdown menu selects the layout of the keyboard. It is recommended to use the "Compact Keyboard" option.

     Not all of the extensions are always available, it depends on the keyboard selected.

     Function keys:     Show function keys above keyboard (F1, F2, etc)

     Numeric keys:     Show a number pad to the right of keyboard

     Florence keys:     Show the Florence special keys to the left of keyboard

     Navigation keys:  Show arrow keys, as well as home, end, etc.


I cannot use opkg update since my cRIO is firewalled from accessing the internet. Can you show steps to install the keyboard without using opkg?


You can try downloading the packages by hand from a computer that has internet access. From my quick tests you need:

After that you can copy them on the cRIO and install them (as admin from the folder where you've copied them):

opkg install florence_0.5.1-r1_x86_64.ipk gconf_3.2.6-r0_x86_64.ipk


How do I call florence with Systemc

I've tried to call it and got the "Gtk-WARNING **: cannot open display:" message.

Active Participant
Active Participant


Can you try to prefix the command with some environment variable specifications, specifically

DISPLAY=:0 florence


That worked quite nicely!



Is there a way of using this keyboard only when text input is required? i.e. keyboard only shows when a text input is focused.

NI Employee

Unfortunately there is not a way to do this


I guess you should handle focus events on each input element

NI Community <>

Florence Virtual Keyboard new comment by felipefoz

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We are not using labview as frontend ui, it is web based, so although the input is focused on browser, the behaviour of florence doesn't change. thanks anyway.


I tried loading the florence keyboard on an NI 9038 cRIO and the keyboard doesn't display icons on all the keys.  The florence keys are blank along with enter, capslock, shift and a few others.  Anyone else experienced this and have a solution?

Same behaviour here both on a CVS and on an IC. I tried to compile the newest version on Linux and it is working well. Now I'm trying to figure out how to port it to my remote targets... If anyone has a solution, please report it here.

Did Either of you find a solution to keyboard icons not showing up? I have the same problem.