November 22, 2022

Keyboard Layout Identification Guide | Digital trends

The keyboard is a central part of the computer, but it is also international. Just like the way we speak different languages, the keyboard has different layouts. The most standard is the English QWERTY layout, but there are other English layouts and foreign layouts in different languages ​​that are used in other countries around the world. Here is our keyboard layout identification guide to help you better understand yours.

QWERTY keyboard layout

Arif Bacchus / Digital trends

The QWERTY keyboard layout is commonly found on computers in the United States. It was created for the first time in the early 1870s by Christopher Latham Sholes, newspaper editor and printer.

You know you have a QWERTY keyboard if you see the first letters on the top left corner row ordered like Q, W, E, R, T, and Y. This type of layout is designed to make typing faster because it s’ equalizes the spacing between the hands on the keyboard. Research has also found that more typing strokes are done with this layout and typing is more efficient compared to many other layouts.

Standard keyboard layout

Layout of ISO and ANSI keyboards

Now that you understand the basic keyboard layout, we need to get into the different keyboard standards and shapes for these layouts. The most common (and standard) keyboard layout and shape is ANSI – short for the American Standard. There are also ISO and JIS, which are European and Japanese standards and forms.

These two alien layouts are the ones that dramatically change the look and feel of the keyboard. However, since we are an American and English speaking publication, we will be focusing on ANSI and ISO, as these are the ones found in the United States and Europe.

British keyboard layout.
Arif Bacchus / Digital trends

There are two big differences to note with these layouts. On the ANSI keyboard, the Enter key is more of a wide rectangle, but on the ISO keyboard, it is an upside down L shape. Then, along with the backslash key, ANSI keyboards place it above the Enter key, but it is to the left of the Enter key on ISO keyboards.

Again, here in America we are using the ANSI keyboard, so the chances of seeing an ISO keyboard are very slim. But the layouts aren’t at all different, and you can still type text as usual, although you can see the £ (pound) and € (euro) currency symbols on ISO keyboards.

American keyboard layout

Microsoft Surface Go keyboard and trackpad 3.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

As we mentioned above, USA uses the QWERTY keyboard layout. There’s not much else to say about this other than what we’ve already added, but you’ll see this layout labeled “ENG US” on most operating systems like Windows or MacOS. Thanks to advancements in technology, you can actually change the keyboard layout. In Windows, you can go to Language settings, Then choose Language and region to add more languages ​​and change the onscreen keyboard layout to another language.

On MacOS, you can head to the Apple menu and choose System Preferences> Keyboard> Input sources. Click it More , and then search for the language you want. You can switch between languages ​​from the Flag in the Toolbar.

Just keep in mind that on Windows this change is to the onscreen keyboard. If you need a foreign keyboard layout on your physical laptop or desktop, you may need to purchase one.

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