How Many Keys are in Computer Keyboard: The Complete Guide

You ever stop and wonder about how many keys are in computer keyboard? And the fact that all those tiny parts come together to make it work? It’s pretty cool, right?

But here’s the thing, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to that question. Some have as few as 65 keys, while others can have a whopping 110.

Most companies build their keyboards based on de facto PC keyboard as standard, which typically comes with a total of 104 alphanumeric keys. However, various manufacturers have produced keyboards over the years, thus different models come with different keysets.

Let’s dive a little deeper into some of the common keyboards and break them down one by one. You ready?!

How Many Keys are in Computer Keyboard?

The keys in a keyboard vary depending on the kind of ecosystem you have. As such, we have classified them by system below:

1) IBM/PC Keyboards

  • Original IBM PC Keyboard (1981) – 83 keys
  • Updated IBM PC Keyboard (1984) – 84 keys
  • AT Keyboard – 84 keys
  • AT Enhanced Keyboard – 101 keys
  • US Traditional Keyboard – 101 keys
  • Enhanced European Keyboard – 102 keys
  • Windows Keyboard – 104 keys
  • Windows-based Laptop Keyboard – 86 keys
  • Windows-based multimedia Keyboard – varies by how many special keys are present
ibm keyboard

Source: inoxwind

2) Apple keyboards

  • Apple Keyboard with Numeric Keypad – 109 keys
  • Apple Wireless Keyboard – 78 keys
  • Apple MacBook Air laptop – 78 keys

How Many Keys are in Computer KeyboardSource: Apple

3) Others

Korean, Japanese, and Brazilian keyboards often pack in more than the standard 104 keys. And then there are those special keyboards, like the ones designed for controlling disc drives or adding Media Center functionality – they can have a bunch of extra keys, sometimes dozens.

Gaming, media, or programmable keyboards typically sport around 110 to 115 keys. It all boils down to the unique features they offer.

How Many Keys are in Computer Keyboard

Source: devicedeal

What are Different Types of Keys in Keyboard?

How Many Keys are in Computer Keyboard

Source: advance-africa

The types of keys depend upon the layout of a keyboard and not as much on the ecosystem to which it belongs. For instance, a German Keyboard Layout will have different set of keys than an English or QWERTY layout. However, considering the standard QWERTY layout, we have the following types:

1) Directional Keys:

The Arrow Keys on the keyboard are known as Directional Keys. They are your go-to when scrolling through documents, or playing games, as I’m sure many of us already know 🙂

2) Function Keys:

Function Keys refer to F1 to F12 (for standard keyboards) and for some specialized keyboards, F1 to F24. Apple keyboards with numeric keypads have 19 Function Keys, from F1 to F19.

They are used to perform specific tasks such as taking screenshots, screen recording, etc.

3) Navigation/ Editing Keys:

To no one’s surprise, they are used for navigating documents, long blog posts that you don’t want to read (like this one 😂), and just scrolling in general.

PgUp, PgDn, Home, and End are Navigational Keys, whereas Ins and Del are Editing Keys as they can edit a file by deleting or modifying it.

4) Typewriter Keys:

Typewriter Keys include symbols, numbers, and letters (surprise!). As the name suggests, used for typing purposes.

5) Special Keys:

All remaining keys except numeric numpad (Ctrl, Shift, etc.) come under Special Keys.

FAQ

When it comes to desktop keyboards, you’ll often find a numeric keypad in there. PC keyboards generally have 17 numeric keys, while Apple keyboards boast 18 of them.

Now, when it comes to laptops, it’s a bit of a mixture. Larger laptops, usually 15 inches or more in screen size, tend to have a numeric keypad right there. But if you’ve got a smaller laptop, you might miss out on that extra set of numbers.

Including numeric keypad, 20. Excluding it, there are 10 keys, numbered 1 through 0 at the top.

Excluding numeric keypad, 4 (right, left, up, and down arrow). Including it, this can vary depending on whether your numeric keypad has arrow keys or not. Most do, in which case, it will be 8.

For the QWERTY keyboard, excluding Arrow Keys and including Windows Key and Menu Key, there are a total of 40 symbols ( ex: !, ~, etc.) that are not numbers or letters.

For the English Keyboard, the alphabet keys are the same as the number of alphabets in the English language, hence 26.

Including the top fn keys row, there are 6 rows of keys- 3 of which contain alphabets, and 3 don’t.

Wrap Up

The number of keys in a keyboard ultimately depends on your keyboard manufacturer and the ecosystem it belongs to. Knowing the number of keys allows you to choose a keyboard for your own unique situation and layout.

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