All About Computer Keyboard | Types of Computer Keyboard | Layouts of a Keyboard

Computer Keyboard

About Computer Keyboard

A keyboard is used to enter text, number into a computer. The keyboard was one of the first peripherals to be used with computers and it's still the primary input device for entering text, numbers into a computer. The standard keyboard includes about 104 keys. The keyboard contains function keys, number keys, toggle keys (Caps lock, Num lock, Scroll lock), and cursor movement keys.

The Standard Keyboard Layout

Keyboards come in many different styles that various models, differ in size, shape, and feel, except for some special-purpose keys. Most of the keyboards build-out almost identically with some features. The keyboard has about a total of 104 keys arranged in six groups 
  • Alphanumeric keys
  • Modifier keys
  • Numeric keypad
  • Function keys
  • Cursor-Movement keys
  • Special-Purpose keys

The Alphanumeric Keys

The alphanumeric keys are located at the area of the keyboard that looks like typewriter keys, these keys are arranged the same way on almost every keyboard. Sometimes this common arrangement is also called QWERT (pronounced as KWER-tee) layout because the first six keys on the top of letters are Q, W, E, R, T, and Y. 

The alphanumeric key group includes four keys having specific functions, the Tab, Caps lock, Backspace, and Enter key. 

The Modifier Keys

The Shift, Alt (Alternate), and Ctrl (Control) keys are known as modifier keys because they modify the input of the other keys. If you hold down one of a modifier key while pressing another key, then you are changing the second key's input in some way.

For example, if you press the A key, you input a small a. But if you hold down the Shift key while pressing the A key then you input a capital A. 

The modifier keys are very useful because they give other keys multiple functions capability.

The Numeric Keypad

Usually, the numeric keypad is located on the right side of the keyboard. The numeric keypad looks like a calculator's keypad, Which contains 10 digits and mathematical operators (+, -, *, and /). 

The numeric keypad also features a Num lock key, which forces the numeric keys to input numbers. If the Num lock is deactivated, the numeric keypad's keys perform cursor-movement control and other functions. 

The Function Keys

The function keys are located usually at the top of the keyboard, which contains 12 keys labeled as F1 to F12. The function key allows you to input commands without typing long strings of characters or navigating menus or dialog boxes.

Each function key's purpose depends on the program you are using. For example, in most of the programs, F1 is the help key. When you press F1 it will open a window to display information about the program. 

The Cursor-Movement Keys

Most of the keyboard also includes a set of cursor-movement keys, which let you move around the screen without using a mouse. You can find the cursor-movement key set at the left side of the numeric keypad of the keyboard. 

The cursor-movement keys set contains six keys - Home, End, Page Up, Page Down, Right arrow, Left arrow, Up arrow, and Down arrow key.

The Special-Purpose Keys

Most of the keyboards are also include six special-purpose keys, each of which performs a unique function. The six special-purpose keys are Esc, Prscm SysRq, Scroll Lock, Pause Break, Insert, and Delete key. 

In addition to these six groups of arranged keys of a keyboard, there are also two keys - the Start key and Shortcut key includes almost every keyboard.