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Computer Hardware Concept
Computer Keyboard

Computer Keyboard - The Most common Input Device

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Computer Keyboard

Keyboard is a standard input device. It is a data entry platform of a computer. A computer key board is a sophisticated electromechanical component designed to create specialized electronic codes (scan codes) when a key is pressed. These codes are transmitted along the cables to computer system unit or terminal, where the incoming code is analyzed and converted in to the appropriate computer usable code.

Keyboard Keys 

Keyboards have five distinct groups of keys:

  • Standard typewriter keys: resembles a typewriter
  • Function keys: The top row keys from F1 to F10 or F12
  • Cursor movement keys: Arrow keys, Home, End, PageUp, PageDown
  • Numeric keys: a keypad at the right to make it easy to enter numbers
  • Special purpose keys: Ctrl, Alt, Shift, Del, Insert

Keyboard Layouts

Keyboard Layout defines the position of keys in a keyboard. QWERTY is the most popular keyboard layout. Dvorak, Colemak, JCUKEN are other keyboard layouts for Latin scripts. Similarly, we have Traditional, Romanized and Nepali keyboard layout for typing Unicode Nepali script. You can change keyboard layout from Regional and Language Settings in Control Panel.

Why are traditional keyboard layout places keys in the QWERTY order? Why they are not alphabetically ordered like ABCDEF….? You’ll really surprise to know that it was developed to make typing harder and inefficient (do some Googling on this topic). Devorak layout is far better in keys arrangement and improves the speed and accuracy of typing, but the more surprising thing is that it is not much common compared to traditional QWERTY.

Dvorak Keyboard

Dvorak Keyboard

QWERTY Keyboard


Dvorak Keyboard

Types of Computer Keyboards

By now, I hope, you don’t confused types of keyboards as QWERTY, Dvorak and so on. They are not type of keyboards but rather the types of keyboard layout. At the same time, I want to make it clear that the type, as our course defines, is not related to switch technology either. We look on the history of keyboard and classify keyboards into four types based on the technology used.

Types of Computer Keyboards

PC/XT, PC/AT, Enhanced and Windows are the four types of keyboard.

XT-Keyboard

PC/XT (Stands for eXtended Technology) keyboards have 83 keys, function keys (F1 to F10) are arranged on left hand side. These keyboards are not compatible with AT keyboards (that means you can’t use them in AT computers).

AT-Keyboard

PC/AT (Stands for Advanced Technology) contains 84 keys as SysRq (System Request) key was introduced. Moreover indicator LEDs for Caps, Scroll and NUM lock are used in AT keyboards.

Enhanced keyboards have 101 to 106 keys based on different language layout.
enhanced-keyboard

Windows Keyboards contained 104 to 109 keys based on different language layouts. Win key and Menu key are the addition on the Windows Keyboards.

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