• The keyboard is the main data-entry device for a computer. Understanding the meaning of the keys on a computer keyboard helps a user work smoothly and efficiently.


    A computer keyboard includes all 26 letters of the alphabet. The letters are typically arranged in the "QWERTY" configuration to better spread the work of typing among the fingers.

    Entry Functions

    Certain keys are used for "entry" functions. The "Enter" key, for example, may be used to feed a new line in a word processor or complete an input for a program. The spacebar creates a space, the "Tab" and arrow keys move the cursor, and the "Windows" key calls up the Microsoft Windows "Start" menu.


    Computer keyboards have numbers in 2 locations. A horizontal line of numbers 0 through 9 is located just above the letters, while a separate "keypad" mimicking a calculator's layout is located to the side of the keyboard (or superimposed on the letters on a laptop keyboard).

    Extra Keys

    Newer keyboards include more advanced keys, including keys to set the volume level, control audio and video playback and ease Internet browsing.

    Other Keys

    "Esc" is often used to exit ("escape") programs or operations. Keys such as "Shift," "Ctrl," "Alt," "Option" and "Command" are used in conjunction with letter and number keys to produce different characters and functions.


    Keyboard Layout

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