Computer keyboard

QWERTY computer keyboard
QWERTY computer keyboard

A computer keyboard is a peripheral modelled after the typewriter keyboard. Keyboards are designed for the input of text and characters, and also to control the operation of the computer. Physically, computer keyboards are an arrangement of rectangular or near-rectangular buttons, or "keys". Keyboards typically have characters engraved or printed on the keys; in most cases, each press of a key corresponds to a single written symbol. However, to produce some symbols requires pressing and holding several keys simultaneously, or in sequence; other keys do not produce any symbol, but instead affect the operation of the computer, or the keyboard itself. See input method editor.



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A wireless keyboard has no direct connection to the computer. The keyboard presses are conveyed by radio to a small local receiver, which is connected to the computer.

There exist a large number of different arrangements of symbols on keys. These different keyboard layouts arise because different people need easy access to different symbols; typically, this is because they are writing in different languages, but specialised keyboard layouts for mathematical, accounting, or computer-programming use do exist.

A standard keyboard is physically quite large, as each key must remain large enough to be easily pressed by fingers. Other types of keyboards have been proposed for small portable equipment where a standard keyboard is too large. One way to reduce the number of keys is to use chording, i.e. pressing several keys simultaneously. As an example, the GKOS keyboard has been designed for small wireless devices.

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Some users find some keys (especially the Caps Lock key) more disturbing than useful. With most keyboards, it is quite easy to remove such keys. The picture shows a Cherry (C) keyboard without CapsLock and Windows key. In modern operating systems, it is possible to reassign these keys (such as converting CapsLock into another Shift), though it may be more work.

Internet Keyboards

An Internet keyboard is a type of keyboard that has buttons that can control a number of programs, most notably browsers. This type of keyboard is becoming increasingly popular. This kind of keyboard uses the QWERTY layout, like other keyboards.


In normal usage, the keyboard is used to type text into word processor, text editor, or any other textbox.


A keyboard is also used to type commands in a computer. The most famous being Ctrl+Alt+Del, used for various tasks which are useful should a program freeze. Many other commands for a variety of tasks exist.


A keyboard is one of the primary controllers in a computer game, and various groups of keys perform game actions. For instance, a group of letters resembling the pattern of the arrow keys, like WASD, is used for movement. Keys can usually be configured to the user's preferences. Alphabet keys are also used to do actions starting with that letter. (e.g. pressing e to eat in game Nethack)

The number of keys in a keyboard varies from the standard 101 keys to the 104 windows keyboards all the way up to 130 keys with many programmable keys. There are also compact variants that have less than 90 keys. They are normally found in laptops or in desktop computers with space constraints.

See also

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