A keyboard is a computer input device that allows the user to communicate with the machine. The keyboard is a group of keys that connect with a circuit board. The keyboard is unlike the mouse since it is required for computer input, even though it is less convenient than a mouse. Some manufacturers have created more advanced keyboards by adding multimedia and gaming functions directly on the device. However, basic keyboard parts are just keys, circuit board and a connector.
Keys of a basic, standard keyboard follow the QWERTY layout. A QWERTY layout is named for the first six keys that run across the first row of the alphabet keys. The keys are laid out in a manner that make it the easiest for the user to type input into a document or web browser. Advanced keyboards have quick keys for functions like opening Windows menus or changing sound from the speakers.
The connection from the keyboard to the machine is accomplished using two types of connectors. The PS2 is an older technology, but it's still located on some legacy computers. USB is the standard way a keyboard connects to a computer. There are also wireless keyboards available for computers, but the receiver still connects using a PS2 or USB port.
The circuit board is the hardware that takes the input from the keys. The circuit board looks similar to a computer motherboard, except it's a simple board that connects with the keys. If the circuit board fails, a new keyboard is normally required to fix the machine. For more advanced users, a keyboard can be purchased and replaced in the keyboard bed on the computer.
A touchpad is a common feature on a laptop keyboard. A touchpad is a device that allows the user to use fingers to control the mouse. A touchpad is not normally found in external keyboards for desktops. The touchpad also comes with mouse buttons within the keyboard.
More expensive and advanced controls are included on keyboards. Popular features of new keyboards are multimedia controls. The controls allow the user to turn volume up or down and stop media like CDROMs from playing music. Gaming keyboards come with special controls that allow the user to control characters using programmed macros assigned to keys.