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[ The PC Guide | Systems and Components Reference Guide | Keyboards | Keyboard Layouts ]

Standard Keyboard Layouts

I've mentioned that there are many, many different types of keyboards in the PC world, and that's true. (After all, if it weren't true, why would I say it? ;^) ) However, if you look at the layouts of many different keyboards you'll notice that they tend to follow certain patterns, and are generally more alike than they are different. Most of the current keyboard layouts evolved over time from a few specific designs created by market leaders IBM and Microsoft.

In this section I take a closer look at the various standard "overall" keyboard layouts that have evolved over the course of the PC's history. In doing so I will illustrate some of the issues that affect layout quality, especially by describing the complaints with earlier designs. :^)

Note: By "overall" in the paragraph above, I mean that these layouts describe the location and positions of all of the keys on the keyboard; I contrast this to the discussion of alphanumeric keyboard layouts. In fact, one can to some extent "mix and match" alphanumeric layouts within a given "overall" keyboard layout. That said, by default almost all keyboard layouts use the QWERTY alphanumeric configuration.

Next: 83-Key PC/XT Keyboard Layout


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