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Last modified: Thursday, January 29, 2004 

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.
  • 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. Another keyboard design, which has letters positioned for speed typing, is the Dvorak keyboard.

    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.

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    For pages about keyboard . Also check out the following links!

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    Describes the functions of the keyboard controller and what functions it provides. This page is from "The PC Guide".

    Troubleshooting Keyboards
    Discusses troubleshooting of problems with keyboards or related to them. This page is from "The PC Guide."

    Yahoo!'s Dvorak keyboard page
    Yahoo!'s directory of Dvorak keyboard.

    Yahoo!'s keyboards page
    Yahoo!'s directory of keyboards.

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    related categories


    Peripheral Devices

    related terms



    Alt key

    arrow keys

    Backspace key

    Break key

    capacitive keyboard

    Caps Lock key

    Control key


    Delete key

    Dvorak keyboard

    End key

    Enhanced Keyboard

    Enter key

    keyboard wedge

    KVM switch

    membrane keyboard

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