What Is the Standard Layout of a Keyboard?

Most computer or typewriter keyboards have a QWERTY layout, which is named for the first six letters of the top row of the layout's alphabet keys. While other keyboard layouts exist, QWERTY is the most common.

The QWERTY layout became popular after its inventor, newspaper editor and printer, Christopher Latham Sholes, sold the rights to his typing machine to E. Remington and Sons, who eventually revised the keyboard layout to the modern version. The arrangement is meant to ease frustrations produced by jamming mechanisms in early typewriters.

Mass produced keyboards have alphanumeric keys, punctuation keys and an assortment of special keys. Some keyboard layouts, especially those without a Latin-based alphabet, feature different letters and punctuation. Certain keyboards have a numeric keyboard installed on the side to aid with faster numeric data entry.

There are other vastly different keyboard arrangements but none as ubiquitous as the QWERTY layout. Some countries modify the QWERTY layout to accommodate specific language markers. Many German keyboard layouts rely on the QWERTZ layout, while France uses the AZERTY layout, and Italy uses the QZERTY configuration.

The most common keyboard layout besides QWERTY is the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard, which places the most used characters in the American language in the home or middle row of the alphabet letters.