Computer Keyboard Parts & Functions

By Alan Donahue

A computer keyboard serves as a primary tool for accessing and inputting data. It features functions and keys that you might not use regularly but that are still essential to other users.


The QWERTY pad is the main section of letters on the keyboard. You use these letters mainly for typing and, in various combinations, as action shortcuts in programs and computer games.

Number Pads

The far right side of the keyboard features a number pad that resembles a calculator. This pad is essential for numbers-oriented programs such as Excel, but you also can use it to input numbers while typing. More number keys are just above the QWERTY pad; these keys also feature symbols activated by the “Shift” key.

Arrow Keys

The right bottom of a keyboard features four directional arrow keys. These keys provide navigation through documents and help you scroll in Web browsers.

F Bar

The top of a keyboard features the F Keys, a selection of keys that extends to F12 on most keyboards. These keys serve different functions. For example, pressing “Alt" and "F4” exits out of a program. Pressing “F1” usually opens a help screen.

Extra Keys

Newer keyboards sometimes have shortcut keys above the F Keys. These might include “Power,” “Sleep Mode,” “Calculator,” “My Computer” and “Web.” Some also include media controls for movies and music.