But … What is the keyboard for?
Computer keyboards have the same layout and order of alphabetic and number keys found on typewriters . It is because of this alignment that it is called the “QWERTY keyboard”. Modern keyboards have added keys or buttons for other functions, such as multimedia management, shutdown, internet access, and startup programs.
Among other functions, the keyboard serves to:
- Interact with device software
- Give instructions to appliances
- Enter data and information
- Manage multimedia functions
- Enter and edit text
- Perform mathematical operations
- Playing video games
Interact with device software
The keyboard is part of the peripheral hardware that allows us to interact with the software of computers and other electronic devices since, through it, we can access the information contained in them to handle and edit it.
Each key is useful for setting the commands and commands that will be executed by programs and applications. In some cases, the keyboard temporarily takes over the functions of the mouse, especially when the mouse does not respond to commands or one is not available.
On computer keyboards there are special keys that perform particular functions, such as the following:
- The series of function keys F1, F2, F3, up to F12.
- Directional keys, represented by arrows, for scrolling in the operating system interface.
- Alternative Keys (Alt), which allow activating secondary functions that can be executed on the same key.
- Control key (Ctrl), which allows the introduction of special combinations, which will facilitate a task that can be more laborious with the mouse. For example, the combination “Ctrl + E” helps to select all the text in a processor like Word.
- Enter key, which allows you to confirm actions and jump to the next lines in text documents.
All of the above-mentioned keys are found surrounding the alphabetic and numeric parts of the QWERTY keyboard.
Give instructions to appliances
The keyboard is the hardware or physical part of a computer that allows us to give instructions to the computer or intangible part of various devices , such as ATMs, food dispensers and other public devices that operate through written commands or key combinations.
Enter data and information
Using the keyboard, information can be entered into a computer, laptop, or telephone. The information in question can be in the form of numbers, letters or whole words.
The keyboard participates in actions such as:
- Write a text file
- Register a phone number
- Describe parameters of a product in a tabular format
- Give orders and commands
- Copy or download information from another device or from the web
By having the same conformation as a typewriter and the functions of adding machines, the keyboard allows the tasks performed on those devices to be concentrated in a single device. For these purposes, the keyboard uses text editors, calculators, and other suitable programs.
Manage multimedia functions
Thanks to a variety of special keys that some modern keyboards have, actions such as:
- Raise and lower the overall volume of the speakers
- Raise and lower the volume in a program
- Fast forward, backward, pause or repeat audio or video files
- Open emails from inbox
- Display minimized files
- Open specific programs such as internet explorer
- Access functions related to web browsing, video games or the operating system
Enter and edit text
By means of the keyboard, it is possible to write any text on the computer. The word processing program allows the use of other fonts in addition to the one printed by manufacture on the surface of the keys. The user can choose a wide variety of fonts without the limitation of typewriters, whose letter blocks cannot be modified.
In addition to basic typing functions, the keyboard allows internal programming of programs and other functions . Programmers write specific commands and texts that will later be interpreted as actions to be executed.
Perform mathematical operations
Thanks to the numeric keyboard located to the right of the alphabetic section, and the other numeric keys located above the same section, we can perform numerical operations. This can be accomplished by interacting with programs such as Microsoft Excel spreadsheets or a calculator.
Playing video games
The keyboard is a fundamental tool for managing computer games. Thanks to it, there is no need to use a joystick or mouse, or other peripheral devices. In some cases, the keyboard needs to be configured to perform the functions of gaming devices. In other cases, the keyboard has a built-in joystick or special keys for these purposes.