What Is a QWERTY Keyboard? | Basic Information

The QWERTY keyboard is the standard typewriter and computer keyboard in countries that use a Latin-based alphabet. QWERTY refers to the first six letters on the upper row of the keyboard. The key arrangement was devised by Christopher Latham Sholes whose “Type-Writer,” as it was then called,

was first mass-produced in 1874. Since that time, it has become what may be the most ubiquitous machine-user interface of all time.

As you are reading this text, take a little break and look at your keyboard. Look only at the letter keys and start reading from the top left. It starts off like this: Q – W – E – R – T – Y. This is also referred to as QWERTY, pronounced ‘kwirti’. Now look at another device with a keyboard – perhaps another computer, a smart phone or a tablet. Devices like tablets don’t have a physical keyboard, but if you use an application in which typing is needed, a virtual keyword comes up.

Although the Dvorak keyboard has many adherents, it has never overcome the culture of learning to type on a QWERTY.

Alternatives and Variants:

By modern standards, the QWERTY keyboard is not the most efficient. Remember that it was actually designed to slow typing down! Several alternatives have emerged but never replaced QWERTY as the standard.

Modern operating systems do provide support for the Dvorak layout, but the actual keyboards are not very common.

They include QWERTZ and AZERTY (for French). These are really minor modifications created by moving a few keys around.

Have a look at the one below for Turkey. Let’s see how fast you can type ‘typewriter’ on this one.

New Keyboards:

The best-known is called a Dvorak keyboard. Despite their more rational designs, these new keyboards have not received wide acceptance. With the emergence of ball-head electric typewriters and computer keyboards, on which jamming is not an issue, new keyboards designed for speed typing has been invented.

The AZERTY keyboard is the French version of the standard QWERTY keyboard.

About the Author


I am a self taught white hat hacker and a B.sc in Hardware & Networking graduate from India. I am running a Blog for my community where I technical things in “English” which makes this experience even more interesting.

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