Webopedia on Google+Webopedia on TwitterWebopedia on FacebookTech Bytes Blog
Main » TERM » K »

keyboard

Keyboard diagram

A keyboard is the set of typewriter-like keys that enables you to enter data into a computer. Computer keyboards are similar to electric-typewriter keyboards but contain additional keys. The keys on computer keyboards are often classified as follows:

  • alphanumeric keys -- letters and numbers
  • punctuation keys -- comma, period, semicolon, and so on.
  • special keys -- function keys, control keys, arrow keys, Caps Lock key, and so on.
  • QWERTY, AZERTY, Dvorak and Other Keyboards

    The standard layout of letters, numbers, and punctuation is known as a QWERTY keyboard because the first six keys on the top row of letters spell QWERTY. The QWERTY keyboard was designed in the 1800s for mechanical typewriters and was actually designed to slow typists down to avoid jamming the keys. The AZERTY keyboard is the French version of the standard QWERTY keyboard. AZERTY keyboards differ slightly from the QWERTY keyboard.

    Another keyboard design, which has letters positioned for speed typing, is the Dvorak keyboard. Unlike the traditional QWERTY keyboard, the Dvorak keyboard is designed so that the middle row of keys includes the most common letters.

    Computer Keyboard Standards

    There is no standard computer keyboard, although many manufacturers imitate the keyboards of PCs. There are actually three different PC keyboards: the original PC keyboard, with 84 keys; the AT keyboard, also with 84 keys; and the enhanced keyboard, with 101 keys. The three differ somewhat in the placement of function keys, the Control key, the Return key, and the Shift keys.

    In addition to these keys, IBM keyboards contain the following keys: Page Up, Page Down, Home, End, Insert, Pause, Num Lock, Scroll Lock, Break, Caps Lock, Print Screen.

    There are several different types of keyboards for the Apple Macintosh. All of them are called ADB keyboards because they connect to the Apple Desktop bus (ADB). The two main varieties of Macintosh keyboards are the standard keyboard and the extended keyboard, which has 15 additional special-function keys.

    Recommended Reading: Handy Keyboard Shortcuts in the Quick Reference section of Webopedia.

    Top 5 Keyboard Related Terms

    1. What is QWERTY keyboard?
    2. What is Dvorak keyboard?
    3. What is Enhanced Keyboard?
    4. What is keyboard wedge?
    5. What is virtual keyboard?







    TECH RESOURCES FROM OUR PARTNERS
    DID YOU KNOW?
    Hype Versus Action in the Developer's World

    Often times technologies start as hype but with time become adopted. As a developer or technologist, it is worth reading the hype and knowing the... Read More »

    Microsoft Hyper-V Network Virtualization Q&A

    The top 5 Hyper-V questions with answers provided by Nirmal Sharma, a MCSEx3, MCITP and Microsoft MVP in Directory Services. Read More »

    Storage Trends: Solid State and Software Defined

    Solid state drives and software defined storage are two leading trends in the rapidly growing storage market.  Read More »

    QUICK REFERENCE
    How to Create a Desktop Shortcut to a Website

    Creating desktop shortcuts to a websites is useful. When you double-click the icon from your desktop it automatically launches the browser and... Read More »

    Flash Data Storage Vendor Trends

    Although it is almost impossible to keep up with the pace of ongoing product releases, here are three recent highlights in the flash data storage... Read More »

    15 Important Big Data Facts for IT Professionals

    Keeping track of big data trends, research and statistics gives IT professionals  a solid foundation to plan big data projects. Here are 15... Read More »