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A keyboard is an input device that uses the same key arrangement as a mechanical or electronic typewriter keyboard.


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The standard arrangement of alphabetic keys is known as the QWERTY keyboard, its name deriving from the arrangement of the five keys at the upper left of the three rows of alphabetic keys. In addition, a keyboard generally has a number of additional keys including function keys and sometimes a numeric keypad. To produce some symbols requires pressing and holding several keys simultaneously or in sequence. While most keyboard keys produce letters, numbers or signs (characters), other keys or simultaneous key presses can produce actions or computer commands.

In normal usage, the keyboard is used to type text or numbers into a word processor, text editor or other program. In a modern computer, the interpretation of keypresses is generally left to the software. A computer keyboard distinguishes each physical key from every other and reports all keypresses to the controlling software. Keyboards are also used for computer gaming, either with regular keyboards or by using special gaming keyboards, which can expedite frequently used keystroke combinations. A keyboard is also used to give commands to the operating system of a computer.