A Guide to Identify Keyboard Layouts

The keyboard is an essential component of any computer system, but did you know that it comes in various layouts? Just like languages, keyboards have different arrangements depending on the region or language they are designed for. While the QWERTY layout is the most widely used English keyboard, there are also alternative English layouts and foreign layouts used in different parts of the world. In this guide, we will help you identify and understand the keyboard layout you are using.

The QWERTY Keyboard Layout

English USA Keyboard Layout
Image source: Arif Bacchus/Digital Trends

The QWERTY keyboard layout is commonly found in computers across the United States. This layout was first introduced in the early 1870s by Christopher Latham Sholes, a newspaper editor and printer.

To identify a QWERTY keyboard, look at the top-left corner row of keys. You will see the letters Q, W, E, R, T, and Y arranged in that order. This layout is designed to enhance typing speed by evenly distributing the workload between the hands. Research has also shown that the QWERTY layout allows for more efficient typing compared to other layouts.

The Standard Keyboard Layout

ISO and ANSI Keyboard Layout
Image source:

Now that you are familiar with the basic keyboard layout, let’s explore the different standards and variations available for these layouts. The most common and widely accepted standard is the ANSI (American National Standards Institute) layout. Additionally, there are ISO (International Organization for Standardization) and JIS (Japanese Industrial Standards) layouts used in Europe and Japan, respectively.

The ISO and JIS layouts significantly alter the appearance and functionality of the keyboard. However, since we are focused on the American and English-speaking audience, we will primarily discuss the ANSI and ISO layouts found in the United States and Europe.

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When comparing these layouts, there are two notable differences. On the ANSI keyboard, the Enter key is shaped like a wide rectangle, whereas on the ISO keyboard, it resembles an upside-down L-shape. Additionally, the backslash key on ANSI keyboards is positioned above the Enter key, while on ISO keyboards, it is located to the left of the Enter key.

It’s important to note that in the United States, the ANSI keyboard is predominantly used, and chances of encountering an ISO keyboard are rare. Nevertheless, the differences between the layouts are minimal, and users can comfortably type on either layout. However, ISO keyboards may have additional currency symbols such as £ (pound) and € (euro).

U.S. Keyboard Layout

Microsoft Surface Go 3's keyboard and trackpad
Image source: Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

As mentioned earlier, the United States primarily utilizes the QWERTY keyboard layout. Not much else needs to be said about this layout, but you will typically find it referred to as “ENG US” in most operating systems like Windows or MacOS. With advancements in technology, it is now possible to change the keyboard layout on your device. On Windows, you can navigate to Language Settings, choose Language and Region, and add more languages. You can even switch the on-screen keyboard layout to another language.

For MacOS, access the Apple Menu, select System Preferences > Keyboard > Input Sources. Click on the Plus button, search for the desired language, and add it. You can easily switch between languages using the flag icon in the Menu Bar.

Keep in mind that these changes primarily affect the on-screen keyboard. If you require a physical laptop or desktop with a foreign keyboard layout, you may need to purchase one.

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Remember, when it comes to keyboard layouts, understanding yours is crucial. Whether it’s QWERTY, ANSI, or another variation, knowing your keyboard layout will help you type with ease and efficiency. So, dive into your keyboard settings, explore different layouts, and embrace the world of possibilities.

This article is brought to you by OnSpec Electronic, Inc.

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