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

  • Alphanumeric keys: The letters and numbers on the keyboard.
  • Punctuation keys: The comma, period, semicolon, and similiar keys.
  • Special keys: This includes the 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.

    Keyboard diagram

    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, keyboards usually contain the following keys: Page Up, Page Down, Home, End, Insert, Pause, Num Lock, Scroll Lock, Break, Caps Lock, Print Screen.

    Apple Macintosh Keyboards

    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.

    KALQ Keyboard for Touchscreen Devices

    Keeping with the times and the popularity of smartphones, tablets and other small computing devices, gesture-based keyboards are often the keyboard of choice for mobile computing. Also, a new keyboard layout, called KALQ has been designed by researchers from Max Planck Institute of Informatics, Montana Tech and University of St.Andrews. The KALQ design is optimized for rapid two thumb typing on touchscreen devices (view it on Google Play).

    KALQ keyboard

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