How many keys are on a computer keyboard?

Updated: 04/12/2021 by Computer Hope

There's no single standard dictating the number of keys, buttons, or characters on a keyboard; most companies use the PC keyboard with a total of 104 alphanumeric keys as a de facto standard. There have been many different manufacturers over the years, so the number of keys varies from model to model. On this page, we list the key counts for many of the more common types of keyboards in their respective classes.

Computer keyboard overview

IBM/PC keyboards

  • Original IBM PC Keyboard (1981) - 83 keys
  • Updated IBM PC Keyboard (1984) - 84 keys
  • AT Keyboard - 84 keys
  • AT Enhanced Keyboard - 101 keys
  • US Traditional Keyboard - 101 keys
  • Enhanced European Keyboard - 102 keys
  • Windows Keyboard - 104 keys
  • Windows-based Laptop Keyboard - 86 keys
  • Windows-based multimedia Keyboard - varies by how many special keys are present

Apple keyboards

  • Apple Keyboard with Numeric Keypad - 109 keys
  • Apple Wireless Keyboard - 78 keys
  • Apple MacBook Air laptop - 78 keys

Miscellaneous keyboards

Other keyboard configurations may include more than 104 keys, mainly being the Korean, Japanese, and Brazilian keyboards. Also, keyboards with keys to control a CD drive and Media Center functionality using special keys may have several dozen additional keys. Other keyboards provide programmable keys and may fall into the category of a programmable or gaming keyboard.

Gaming keyboards, media keyboards, or programmable keyboards often have 110 to 115 keys. The specific number of keys they have depends on the additional functionality they provide for a computer and to users.

How many function keys are on a keyboard?

Today's traditional PC keyboards have 12 function keys, F1 through F12. Some specialized PC keyboards have 24 function keys, F1 through F24.

Many Apple desktop computer keyboards with a number pad have 19 function keys, F1 through F19.

How many keys are on the numeric keypad

Most desktop computer keyboards have one numeric keypad with 17 keys on the PC and 18 keys on Apple keyboards.

Some laptop keyboards include a numeric keypad, while others do not. Most laptops with a 15-inch or larger screen size have a numeric keypad. Laptops with smaller screen sizes usually do not have a numeric keypad.

Note

Some computers may also have an external USB numeric keypad attached to the computer. An external USB numeric keypad can have any number of keys. For example, the one shown on our numeric keypad page has 31 keys.

Note

When talking about a keypad on a phone or security keypad, this keypad has 12 buttons. The numbers zero through nine, with keys for the asterisk (*) and pound (#).

How many number keys are on a keyboard?

If you only count the top row of number keys on a keyboard, numbers 1 through 0, there are ten number keys on the keyboard.

If the keyboard also has a numeric keypad (1 through 0), there are twenty number keys on the keyboard.

How many alphabetic keys are on a keyboard?

On an English computer keyboard, there are the same number of alphabetic keys as there are in the English alphabet; 26 keys for the 26 letters.

How many symbols are on a keyboard?

On an English QWERTY keyboard, there are 40 symbols (e.g., ~, !, @, #, $, and % that are not letters or numbers) on 28 keys. There is a difference in numbers because some of the keys have two symbols.

Note

The count above includes the Windows key and Menu key (3 keys) and does not count the arrow keys.

How many arrow keys are on a keyboard?

There are four arrow keys (up, right, down, and left arrow) on a keyboard. If you also count the arrow keys found on most PC keyboards number pad, there are eight arrow keys.

How many rows of keys are there on a keyboard?

Counting the function keys row, there are six rows of keys. Three of those rows (top row, home row, and bottom row) contain alphabetic letters that aren't in alphabetical order. When you place your hand on the keyboard, your fingers should be on the home row.

Additional information