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?
    The Five Generations of Computers

    Learn about each of the five generations of computers and major technology developments that have led to the current devices that we use today. Read More »

    Cloud Computing Market Leaders, 2015

    If not for AWS, Microsoft would dominate the cloud. The race to capture market share will grow ever more fierce in the years ahead. Here's a look... Read More »

    OpenStack Brings Liberty to the Cloud

    Massive changes set to come to the cloud as Big Tent model lands in widely deployed cloud platform used by Walmart, Comcast, AT&T, Time Warner... Read More »

    QUICK REFERENCE
    29 Free Android Apps for Cash-Strapped Students

    From wacky alarm clocks to lecture hall tools and after class entertainment, these Android apps are a good fit for a student's life and budget. Read More »

    Network Fundamentals Study Guide

    A network is a group of two or more computer systems or devices, linked together to share resources, exchange files and electronic communications.... Read More »

    Computer Architecture Study Guide

    This Webopedia  study guide describes the different parts of a computer system and their relations. Read More »