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Keyboard and Screen Input Devices

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One of the primary input device used with a computer that looks similar to those found on electric type-writers is a computer keyboard, but with some additional keys. Keyboard allows you to input letter, number and other symbol into a computer that can serve as command or be used to type text.

QWERTY keyboard layout

Image of a QWERTY computer keyboard with each of the keys selectable is shown below.

Types of Keyboard:

  • Standard Keyboards
  • Laptop-size Keyboards
  • Flexible Keyboards
  • Handheld Keyboards
  • Thumb-sized Keyboards
  • Multifunctional Keyboards

Reason why keyboard is used as an input device?

A computer keyboard is considered to be an input device because it only sends data to a computer. It does not receive any information back as well.

Keyboard ports and interfaces

Today, either USB or Bluetooth for wireless communication are used to connect to keyboard in most desktop computer. A computer may have used PS/2, Serial, or AT (Din5) as a keyboard interface, before USB.

  • Screen input devices:
  • On Screen Keyboards
  • Touch Screen Keyboards

On-screen keyboards:

An onscreen keyboard is a software-based keyboard that is available in most operating systems, especially Microsoft Windows, and in other applications. An onscreen keyboard allows users to type text using a joystick or a pointing device. Apart from improving input options for users who are physically challenged, it also serves as an alternative to a physical keyboard. Onscreen keyboards are also known as “software” keyboards or “soft” keyboards.

To enter input, an onscreen keyboard displays a virtual keyboard on the screen for users. Any pointing device such as a mouse, pen, joystick, etc can be used to operate it. Resizable and customizable are two features of this keyboard, further it allows to change the typing mode, font, etc., as needed. Especially those from Windows 7 and later versions in certain onscreen keyboards, they are equipped with a predictive text engine, which helps in predicting the words the users may type.

However, most onscreen keyboards feature predictive text input as typing on an onscreen keyboard is slower and more difficult than on a physical keyboard.

An on-screen keyboard is an application which provides a visual keyboard on your display screen that can be used in place of a physical keyboard. The On-Screen Keyboard can be manipulated by the mouse or other pointing device and can be configured in three layouts;

  • 101 keys display (standard keyboard)
  • 102 keys display (an extra backslash)
  • 106 keys display (extra characters useful for typing Japanese).

Touch screen keyboards:

Touch Screen Keyboard is not a standalone program. It has two new keyboard types: alphabetic and alpha-numeric. These changes were made to further emphasize the comfort of using Keyboard on touch screen devices. The alphabetic layout supports all the languages installed in your system (when you change the input language, the layout on the on-screen keyboard changes as well).

The alpha-numeric layout enables you to type numbers and 35 other characters: arithmetic signs, brackets, currency symbols, etc.

Touch Screen Keyboard has several default features that accelerate and facilitate typing on a touch screen. For instance, the program will automatically add a space and press Shift after a period. If you press a key on a touch screen, you will see a small tooltip window with the corresponding character in the area not covered with your finger. You can also use for your touch-screen any of the 70 keyboard layouts included in the installation package.

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