The Computer Keyboard


The Computer keyboard looks like that of a standard typewriter, but has more keys than that of the typewriter. This device is used to encode data and or instruction as well as information into the computer by means of key depression. Depress a particular key and the character on that key is immediately displayed on the monitor screen. The keyboard is plugged to the computer via a flexible cord. The Computer keyboard keys are stated as follows:

• The function keys: These are the keys that are labelled F1 through F12 in most keyboards and up to F20 in quite a few keyboards. The function keys are used either alone or in conjunction with other keys to achieve different results depending on the package that is currently running in the computer, for instance F1 is the HELP command for the application package called DBASE III plus. That is, the F1 key. when pressed, displays the Help messages for the command one has highlighted on the Assist menu. On the other hand, for the application package called Word Perfect, the function key F1 is the CANCEL key. That is, the key enables the user to retrieve a deleted text.

• The Alphanumeric keys: These are made up of the keys labelled 0-9 and A-Z. Other keys found within the same area containing the alphanumeric keys include:

(i) The Escape (ESC) Key found at the top-left corner of the computer keyboard: This key, when pressed, aborts whatever you are currently doing. That is, It aborts the present command and returns you to the immediate last command.

(ii) The Caps Lock Key is used for typing upper case letters. It is a toggle Key switch. That is, it causes the upper case effect to be off and on.

(iii) The Space Bar key is used for creating spaces in a text.

(iv) The Shift key is used for typing either upper case letters or the upper symbol of keys with two symbols.

(v) The Ctrl (control), Alt (alternate) as well as the shift keys are used in conjunction with other keys to achieve different results depending on the program that is currently running in the computer. For instance, pressing Alt + F4 closes the current program window in Windows 95.

Alt + F4 means that you press the Alt key, hold it down and then press F4 key and then release your two hands at the same time. These keys are found both at the lower-left and lower- right corners of the computer keyboard on each side of the space bar.

(vi) The Enter key used to enter the command. It enables the computer to
accept what is typed or what is entered on the command line.

(vii) The Backspace key used to delete one character to the left of the cursor.

(vii) The Tab keys are used for setting the tabs.

• The Arrow Keys: These are found to the right of the alphanumeric keys. They are used to move the insertion point or the cursor up, down, left, and right on the screen.

The cursor is a blinking underline (-) that tells you where the character you type will appear on the screen. There are other cursor movement keys that will be mentioned as we progress.

• The Numeric KeyPad: This keypad offers numbers arranged like that of a calculator. It is found at the far-right end of the computer keyboard and it is particularly used for entering numeric data.

Other keys in between the keypad and the alphanumeric keys: In the space between the alphanumeric keys and the keypad are such keys found, which are as follows:

(i) The Insert (INS) key used for inserting a character, a word or a text.

(ii) The Delete (DEL) key for deleting a character, a word or the entire text.

(iii) The End key for moving the cursor to the end of the document. It is used in conjunction with the arrow keys.

(iv) The Page Up (Pgup) and Page Down (pgdn) keys used for moving the cursor one page up or one page down at a time.

(v)The Home key used in conjunction with the up arrow key to move the cursor up to the beginning of the document; that is, to page one, line one of your document.

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