Everything about Computer Keyboard

Computer Keyboard

Today we’ll talk about what is keyboard, what keys it consists of, what they are called, computer keyboard keys and their functions into which groups are divided and where they are located and types of computer keyboard
You will learn what hotkeys exist in windows 7 and windows 10. Learn how to assign keys yourself using the operating system and a special program. I will answer the most frequently asked questions from beginners.


What is keyboard

Computer keyboard – an element of a personal computer or laptop, consisting of buttons, the main function of which is to enter data. It consists of alphabetical, numeric and additional function keys arranged in a specific order.
In simple words, a keyboard is something with which you can enter data into a computer: type text, invoke some actions with keyboard shortcuts (for example, change input language), etc.

The role of the keyboard in a personal computer is extremely large, both for an ordinary user who uses it only for entertainment, and for someone who has been working on the computer all day.

At the same time, it cannot be said that without a physical keyboard you cannot use a PC. You can, of course, but it will be tedious, hard and long enough. You will need a mouse with which you need to press the keys on the on-screen keyboard

As for spending time in computer games, you can’t do without a keyboard: the control in most games is based on the response from it, that is, a computer without this input device will be useless for a child, for example (we do not take into account various joysticks and gamepads).

Exactly the same role is played by the keyboard in the laptop. Only unlike a regular desktop PC, is it built into the case there. This means that the keyboard that is in the laptop cannot be connected to the PC, but on the contrary, yes, please. In fairness, it should be said that today there are a lot of laptops with a touch screen, thanks to which working with a virtual keyboard becomes much more pleasant.

Keyboard Features

The idea is that the typed text or commands are converted into electrical pulses, which are transmitted to the corresponding OS subsystem. At the same time, special commands were developed in the keyboard itself that are not perceived by the system as a normal press.

The simplest example of such a command is the key combination “CTRL + C”, which is responsible for copying the selected fragment. Depending on the running program, the effect of pressing buttons and combinations also changes (in most cases). So, for example, on the desktop, pressing the “1” key will not have any effect, and in the open window, Word will print the corresponding character.

There are keyboard shortcuts , such as Win + R, reserved by the system. Instead of any action that the program developer has prescribed, they cause the triggering of specific system functions (in the indicated example, opening the line “Run”).

Principle of operation
In order not to go into technical details, we dwell on the following simplified description. When the user presses the button, the contact closes on the board , which transmits the specified signal to the computer. Instead of letters and numbers, a sequence of electrical impulses is transmitted to the PC. The computer converts these pulses and performs the specified action for them.

Types of keyboard

There are many ways to divide keyboards into views; consider the most common ones.
According to the type of construction of the mechanism of the keyboard keys are divided into:

Membrane keyboard

Membrane – built on the basis of an elastic membrane, which is pressed during the keystroke, thereby causing contact closure on the printed circuit board. The advantage of this type of keyboards can be considered only the price, since they work much less than the other two types, and their tactile sensations are not so nice.

membrane switch
membrane keyboard

The name of membrane keyboards comes from the fact that when you press a key, two membranes are closed. The key is returned by a rubber dome (with a shaft in the center). Membranes usually look like discs on a printed plastic film. For the separation of membranes is an intermediate film with holes. Therefore, this keyboard is called “film” or “film keyboard”. Since the membranes are located on the inner sides of the films, the design is well protected from dust and liquids. In a more secure implementation, everything looks like a single rubber mat with protruding domes located under the keys. The advantages of such keyboards include low noise, ease of pressing the keys, protection from small objects and liquids, low price.

Scissor keyboard

Scissor – have a number of advantages over the membrane, such as: increased response, work about twice as long, the keys do not stagger, but are firmly attached to their place. Most often found in laptops, however, some manufacturers make ordinary keyboards using this technology. The device is ideal for fans of fast typing, because the tactile sensations of the buttons are very positive.

scissor keyboard
scissor keyboard

Mechanical keyboard

Mechanical – the standard of quality. Each key is a switch with metal contacts and a spring, due to which the service life of such a keyboard exceeds the scissor by 5 times. Other advantages include stability in pressing (that is, as you confidently pressed the button on the new keyboard, you will also press it after 3 years), a pleasant feeling after work

mechanical switches
mechanical keyboard

In mechanical keyboards, the key returns with a spring. The disadvantages of this mechanism are the lack of tightness and high cost. True, there are models with protection, but they are even more expensive. The advantages are durability and reliability, especially when the contacts are gold-plated, as well as the absence of fatigue (that is, pressure resistance is almost independent of the number of clicks, which cannot be said about mechanical keyboards without protection and semi-mechanical keyboards).

However, mechanical keyboards have more disadvantages than advantages. Firstly, they are poorly protected, and secondly, they are noisier than membrane ones, and they are much more expensive. True, semi-mechanical is more durable, but the expensive membrane also provides 20 – 30 million clicks.

Keyboards come with or without a click. In a literal translation, click is a click. It is realized by an arched thin plate under the key, which bends with a jerk. A click allows you to accurately feel that the key is pressed, and not to miss letters when typing quickly. Many users like the click. Typically, a click occurs in mechanical keyboards (since their cost does not change much), but it also occurs in keyboards of other types.

Projection keyboard

Projection – Keyboard data plays on any smooth surface. While not very popular in view of their unusualness. But I think this will change over time.

laser keyboard
projection keyboard

Mini keyboard

mini keyboard gaming . A special option that includes only a separate button block. The most common is a numeric keypad for working stores. In a situation where it is enough to enter only product codes, spending money on a full-fledged component does not make sense. There are also special models for gamer’s with a set of numbers and letters, which are usually used in shooters, RPG, etc. to move the characters and use the main features.

mini keyboard gaming

There is another kind of keyboards touch keyboards. The principle of its action is based on the amplification of the potential difference applied to one element.
The number of these elements corresponds to the number of keys.
Conducting contacts made in the form of two plates separated by a small gap are used as sensitive elements.
When a finger touches the contact pad, the static potential is amplified by an electronic circuit, the output of which forms a signal similar to that of a conventional keyboard.
Touch keyboards are the most durable because they have no mechanical elements, but due to this they are noticeably more expensive than ordinary ones.
Since the electronics are covered with a layer of polymer film (symbols are also printed on it), the touch keyboard is almost completely protected from external influences.

Keyboard with micro switches. They have the same characteristics as mechanical keyboards. But micro switches are characterized by greater strength and longer service life.
Keyboard with reed switches. Keyboards with reed switches function even better. Reed switch is a hermetic contact, which is a switch with spring contacts (in the form of plates) of ferromagnetic material. This switch is placed in a sealed glass bottle. The contacts close (or open) under the influence of the magnetic field of the electromagnet, which is installed outside the cylinder. Reed switches are sometimes called RET switches. They are very durable. Reed switch keyboards are the most expensive.

By the method of connecting to a computer keyboards are:

  • Wired – connect using a wire with a USB or PS / 2 connector;
  • Wireless – do not have extra wires, but connect with a PC or laptop via a radio channel (Bluetooth). The biggest plus is the lack of wire, which allows you to use the keyboard at a great distance from the PC.

Keyboards are also divided into types by functionality and number of keys. Of the most common today are:

  • 101-104 – is the standard keyboard layout, the simplest keyboards that have a basic set of keys: printed, functional and additional digital. In 104 – the keyboard there are two additional Win buttons (with the Windows logo), as well as the Application key;
  • Multimedia keyboards – got the name due to the fact that they have additional keys for controlling various PC functions: volume, player (play, pause, switch tracks), network connection, some programs, and even turning the computer on and off;
  • Gaming keyboards – most of them are not much different from standard keyboards, but can have additional programmable keys for a more convenient game;

And another way to divide keyboards into views is the body type:

Standard – classic rectangular input devices, they are also called PC / AT or just AT;

classic keyboard

Ergonomic keyboard – have a curved shape, often also a hump in the central part, a non-standardly placed block of printed keys (as a rule they are divided into two separate blocks for each arm), can have a special wrist rest. This is all done in order to make work at the computer the most comfortable;

Ergonomic keyboard

Flexible keyboard – this type can be easily rolled up and transported in a backpack in this form. In addition, they also have moisture and dust protection.

Flexible keyboard

There are keyboards with the so-called Eraze-Eaze configuration, on which the space is divided into two halves. One of them (optionally) serves as a space, and the other – Backspace keys.

Microsoft at one time spent almost two years developing a new type of keyboard. This keyboard has been called Natural Keyboard – a natural keyboard (ergonomic). This Natural Keyboard has vertical rows of keys that are deployed to the side of each hand. The user is relieved of tension to keep hands parallel to each other. The profile of the alphabetical part of the keyboard represents a convex arc. This eliminates the need to keep the hands parallel to the plane of the table. There is a stand for relaxing hands. After looking at Natural Keyboard, it becomes clear that previous keyboards simply inherited the conservative style of typewriters. Natural Keyboard set an example to follow. Currently, manufacturers sometimes feel free to call their keyboards ergonomic, if there is at least one of the three considered innovations of the original Microsoft keyboard. Perhaps the only drawback of such keyboards is their place. If you work a lot with text and you are not limited by space, then purchase an ergonomic keyboard. Of course, they cost significantly more than usual.

In the future, broken keyboards appeared, allowing you to adjust the rotation angle of the two halves. Each half has its own legs, so you can still adjust the tilt in different directions. Some went even further and came up with a keyboard that generally consists of two halves. This is generally convenient, but they do not find much use.

The palm rest, which appeared in MS Natural Keyboard, has now spread to regular keyboards. It is designed to rest your hands, and not their working position: according to the rules, the hands should be bent and hang over the keys. Therefore, it is called Palm Rest (rest brushes).

The stand also improves the appearance, especially when done in a different color. Stands are detachable and cast. It is clear that a detachable stand, a more flexible solution that allows you to seamlessly switch to a keyboard without a stand. If the stand is detachable, it is good that it has a mount that allows some rotation relative to the mount line, so that when the keyboard is tilted by means of the legs, the stand does not work on kink. Choose keyboards with detachable stands. Note that the palm rest is sold separately as an accessory, so keyboard owners without a palm rest can get it at any time.

Computer keyboard keys

What keys does the keyboard consist of and their name

computer keys

Types of keyboard keys If you visually look at the keyboard, then it can be divided according to the functionality of the keys into the following groups:

  • Functional
  • Alphanumeric
  • Control keys
  • Cursor keys
  • Additional
    Now function of keyboard keys consider each group individually.

Located at the top of the keyboard between the F1 and F12 buttons.
For various software, pressing performs various functions.
Here are the most commonly used:

  • F1 – calls up help about the application or program (in most cases)
  • F2 – renames selected files and folders
  • F3 – clicking brings up a search window on the open browser web page
  • F5 – when a document is open, Word brings up a search box, and updates a separate page in the browser.
  • F8 – when the operating system boots, it allows you to enter the user mode from which various boot methods are available and also switch to safe operation mode
  • F11 – when pressed, it switches to full screen mode
  • F12 – allows you to open a menu for saving a document in Microsoft Word

Alphanumeric keys
The alphanumeric keys consists of approximately 57 keys that indicate letters, numbers, symbols and special keys.
It occupies the central part and is formed by two types of keys: those of writing and those of command.

The typing keys are those of the typewriter: 28 letters, 10 numbers, punctuation, accent marks, questions, among others. All these keys are usually white.

Those corresponding to numbers and signs have two functions and in some cases they can even have three. They are used to write symbols (letters, numbers and signs) and in some cases the combination with the program, pressing these and a command key activates special functions.

In the double keys, the symbol that is written below is the one obtained by pressing the key while the one above is activated by pressing the uppercase key (Shift).

In those with a third function, the symbol appears when you press the ALT GR key and that key.

Command keys
The command keys are usually gray and have the function of activating certain orders or instructions specific to the program being used, usually in conjunction with other keys. Also, the keys to be used are included when we want to write the second or third function that appears on the double or single write keys.

Control keys
They are located on the right and left of the alphanumeric block. And they are divided into:

  • Modifier buttons
  • System Command Buttons

Modifier keys
Used to change the assignment of other keys. Work only in combination with other keyboard keys.
These include the following keyboard keys:

  • Shift – when pressed and held, it changes the case of writing letters (if “Caps Lock” is disabled).
  • Caps Lock – pressing this key enables or disables uppercase letters.
  • ← Backspace – used to delete characters in text documents that are located before the cursor.
  • Win – opens and closes the start menu.
    The rest Alt, AltGr, Ctrl are used only in combination with other keys.

System Command Keys
These keys include:

  • Esc – cancels the action and is used to exit programs or applications.
  • PrtSc / SysRq – when pressed, provides the ability to take a screenshot of the computer screen.
  • Pause / Break – used to stop the current process (it was relevant when computers were not so fast)
  • ≣ Menu – calls the context menu.

Cursor keys
They are located between the control buttons and the optional digital unit.
Designed to control the cursor when working with documents, with pages without the help of a computer mouse.

These include a block with buttons located on the right side of the keyboard. You can use it in two modes.

  • When Num Lock is on – used to enter numbers
  • When Num Lock is off – buttons are used as cursor control
    When switched on, the left indicator located above this unit lights up.

keyboard layout

We swami examined the keys for their name and purpose. Now let me show you how they all fit on the keyboard.

For this, I prepared a small diagram-picture. On which, for convenience, I circled each type of key in a separate color.

keyboard layout
keyboard layout

keyboard shortcuts

No matter what you do, install computer programs , play computer games, print text, or simply search for information on the Internet.

To simplify the work, you will definitely need the so-called quick or keyboard shortcuts – combinations of two or more keyboard keys to perform a certain action.

The most complete list of keyboard shortcuts and the actions that they perform can be found on the official Microsoft website. https://support.microsoft.com/en-ca/help/12445

But first, you need to know exactly which operating system you have installed.

keyboard shortcuts windows 10

After that, at the bottom of the page you will see a list of key combinations.
Choose the one you need and click on it.
You will see a table in which the keyboard shortcut will be painted and what action they perform.
You can take a screenshot of your most frequently used keys and save it to your computer or add the site to your browser bookmarks for quick access to it.

Thus, you will have a quickly accessible cheat sheet on the functions of the keyboard keys.

Assign keys to run programs

  • Select the program for which you want to add shortcut.
  • Point the mouse at the program icon and click the right mouse button. In the menu that appears, select the properties.
  • In the window that opens, in the column “Shortcut Key:” put the cursor next to “No”
  • And click on any English letter, I will select “K”. The keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Alt + K is automatically registered.
  • After that click apply.
    Now when you press these three keys, the program will start.

How to refresh the page ?
The first way is to press F5
The second method, in addition to updating the browser, will delete the cache Ctrl + F5

Which button makes a screenshot when pressed?
In order to take a screenshot, you need to press the Print Screen key – the screenshot will be copied to the clipboard and you can paste it into any folder or paste it on the document page.

On a laptop, it will be a combination of Fn + Print Screen
To take a screenshot of only the active window in Windows, press Alt + PrtScn
On some keyboards, the spelling of the Print Screen key may differ and look like PrntScrn, PrtScr, PrtScn, or PrtSc

Characteristics of computer keyboards

  • The key mechanism is membrane or mechanical. Affects the cost and line of service;
  • Body type – also written above – standard, ergonomic or flexible;
  • The connection method is wire or wireless. The latter allows you to use the keyboard from a distance. A wired keyboard can be connected via PS / 2 or via USB. The second option is more universal, since the user will not have problems connecting the keys to the laptop, the PS / 2 connector is very rare on them;
  • Number of keys – ultimately affects the usability of the computer;
  • Materials – keyboards can be made both of plastic and using various metals. The price and strength of the input device will depend on this.

In addition, many manufacturers make computer keyboards with backlighting, the ability to change keys, etc. This point also requires attention, since the same functions have little effect on usability, but significantly increase the cost of the periphery.


Summing up, it is worth saying that a computer keyboard is a necessary part of a PC, without which comfortable and fruitful work with it will be impossible. Today, there are many types and models of these peripheral devices.

You can find a simple membrane keyboard for the office, or you can buy a real work of art with multi-colored backlight that responds to every press of mechanical keys. Such models can have fantastic, futuristic forms and please the owner not only with high-quality work, but also with their appearance, perfectly complementing the interior of the room.

make sure to check this article about Computer components

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