IBM PC keyboard

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The keyboards for IBM PC compatible computers are standardized. However, during the 20 years of the PC architecture being constantly updated, several types of keyboards have been developed.

A well-known class of IBM PC keyboards is the Model M. Introduced in 1984 and manufactured by IBM, Lexmark and Unicomp, the vast majority of Model M keyboards features a buckling spring key design and many have fully swappable keycaps.


Keyboard layouts

The PC keyboard changed over the years, often at the launch of new PC versions.

  • 83-key PC/XT – original left-hand side function key (F key) columns, F1 through F10; electronically not compatible with the later keyboard types
  • 84-key PC/AT – additional <SysRq>, i.e. System Request; numerical block clearly separated from main keyboard; added indicator LEDs for Caps/Scroll/Num lock
  • "Enhanced" – additional navigation and control keys; 12 F keys in separate row along top, grouped F1-4, F5-8, and F9-12. Early models of Enhanced keyboard (notably those manufactured by Northgate Ltd.) maintained the layout with function keys on the left side, arranged in two columns of six pairs. This layout was more efficient for touch typists but was superseded in the marketplace by that with F-keys along the top. There are different versions of the Enhanced keyboard layout:
    • 101-key – the standard US layout
    • 102-key – additional key to the right of the left Shift key for European layouts
    • 103-key – additional 2 keys (one to the left and one to the right of the space bar) for the Korean layout
    • 106-key – additional 5 keys (one above the tab key, one to the left of the right Shift key, one to the left and two to the right of the space bar) for the Japanese layout
  • "Windows" – additional Windows key (×2) and Menu key added (one Windows key to the right of the left control key, the other and the Menu key to the left of the right control key). The Windows keyboard was introduced for use with the Windows 95 operating system. Most modern PCs, whether supplied with Windows or not, are now delivered with this layout. Like the Enhanced layout, the Windows keyboard layout differs from region to region:
    • 104-key standard US layout
    • 105-key for European layouts (as above)
    • 106-key for the Korean layout (as above)
    • 109-key for the Japanese layout (as above)

Common additions to the standard layouts include additional power management keys, volume controls, media player controls, and miscellaneous user-configurable short-cuts for e-mail client, web browser, etc.

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