When you think about the definition of keyboard on its own, the first thing most people will think about is a computer keyboard. Of course there are other types of keyboard such as music keyboards.

Definition of Keyboard

The actual definition of keyboard as taken from Google definitions (See screen shot below) is:

  • a panel of keys that operate a computer or typewriter.
  • a set of keys on a piano or similar musical instrument.
Definition of Keyboard

Definition of Keyboard

To expand a bit more on that definition of keyboard as a term, lets talk about computer keyboards first. Typewriters aside, keyboards are most commonly associated with computers these days. Most computers will have several means of input. The two most common means of input are mouse and keyboard.

A Mouse is normally used to control the cursor on the computer, allowing the user to click on folders, links and applications running on the computer.

A keyboard is normally used to input text into documents and applications running on the computer. So the definition of keyboard is a hardware device that contains a panel of keys (or a board of keys). This panel of keys can be used to send instructions to the computer.

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If you are using a word processing program for example, and you press the “e” key on a keyboard, that will generally send the letter “e” to the word processing application and it will appear as a typeface on the screen.

The definition of keyboard doesn’t end there, thats only the most basic description. Keyboards also have other keys aside form the alphabet. A keyboard will normally consist of alphabet, numbers 0-9 and various symbols such as the pound sign.

A keyboard will typically also have various command and function keys for special tasks – the caps lock key is a good example. This key will typically change the case of proceeding text between upper and lower.

Physical definition of keyboard

Keyboards come in many different physical forms. The most common types of keyboard are the personal computer keyboard that plugs in to your home PC and the laptop keyboard that comes as an integral part of your laptop.

Different Types of computer keyboard

there are also other types of keyboard. Wireless keyboards are very common these days and can be used on a PC or a laptop. there are also many different keyboards designed for flexibility and portability. These include miniature keyboards, hand held keyboards and even keyboards that roll up.

Virtual Computer Keyboards

The definition of keyboard as reported by Google definitions is also open to further interpretation. A keyboard is not always a physical piece of hardware. The definition of keyboard also includes virtual keyboards.

Virtual Keyboard

Keyboard projector

These are boards of keys that are actually a virtual representation projected onto a surface.

Standard Keyboard Layout

One of the really cool things about a keyboard, although not part of the definition of keyboard, is the fact that it is a standardized piece of hardware. Generally speaking a keyboard will always have a standard layout of keys.

In the UK we use the QWERTY layout. It has been given this name because the first 6 letters on the keyboard, starting at the top left, spell the word QWERTY.

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No matter where you are and what computer you look at, if you are in the UK you will notice that they always have this same standardized layout. You will always see the first line of the letters on a keyboard read QWERTY (in fact the full line reads QWERTYUIOP).

This is fantastic for typists because it means you can learn to type on a keyboard, and those skills will be nationally transferable and will enable you to type just as well regardless of what keyboard you are using and what computer you are using.

Other types of Keyboard

Of course computer keyboards aren’t the only type of keyboard in existence. As you read in the original definition of keyboard, there is also scope in the definition of keyboard for musical instruments.

definition of keyboard - Accordion

Not only is the term keyboard used to describe a type of musical instrument but you will also find a keyboard on many different types of musical instruments. For example you often find a keyboard on an accordion.