How Keyboard Layouts Are Named

How Keyboard Layouts Are Named

Keyboard layouts are often classified using a percentage-based naming convention, which refers to the size of a standard 104-key layout, considered 100%. Other keyboard layouts are then named based on their relative size compared to this standard. This method is based on the size of keycaps and key spacing, reflecting common usage habits.

Keyboards can also be categorized by the number of keys they include. Unlike classifications based on historical periods or layout designs, this method remains consistent across different keyboard types.

1. 100% Keyboard

A 100% keyboard comprises three main sections: a typing area, an editing key area, and a numeric key area. This layout is considered the standard keyboard and includes 104-key, 101-key, and 108-key configurations, which are among the most common types available.

2. 85% Keyboard

An 85% keyboard retains both the typing and numeric key areas but may modify or remove the editing key area. Examples include the PLUM 96-key keyboard.

3. 80% Keyboard

An 80% keyboard features a typing area and an editing key area but lacks a numeric key area. This category includes 87-key, 84-key, and RealForce 86-key keyboards, among others.

4. 75% Keyboard

A 75% keyboard includes a typing area and adds an extra row for editing keys compared to a 70% keyboard. While it stands as an independent design, it deviates from the standard layout. Examples include notebook-style arrangements and the RACE keyboard.

5. 70% Keyboard

A 70% keyboard includes a typing area and additional function keys, falling between 75% and 60% designs. Some keyboards may be ambiguously classified as either 70% or 60%.

6. 60% Keyboard

A 60% keyboard consists only of the main typing area, utilizing modifier keys for additional functions. It lacks an editing key area and a numeric key area. While maintaining a compact size, some 60% keyboards may include additional function keys or split some keys. Examples include the LEOPOLD FC660M and custom DeeLong keyboards.

7. 40% Keyboard

The naming convention for 40% keyboards is no longer widely used. Initially defined for promoting Poker keyboards, the definition was later absorbed into the 60% promotion.

8. 20% Keyboard

A 20% layout refers to a numeric keypad, which occupies approximately 20% of the keyboard. This term was popularized by keyboard enthusiasts and has since become widely used due to its intuitive description of different keyboard configurations.

The diverse range of keyboard layouts available today allows for personalized choices and customization, catering to individual preferences and needs in the ever-expanding DIY market. Transitioning from standard layouts to smaller configurations can introduce new levels of enjoyment and functionality for users.