Laptop Computers The general keyboard layout
 laptop computers The general keyboard layout
The general keyboard layout
The general keyboard layout
The general keyboard layout
The general keyboard layout
The general keyboard layout
The general keyboard layout
The general keyboard layout The general keyboard layout
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The general keyboard layout
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The general keyboard layout The general keyboard layout

The general keyboard layout



Figure 5-2 illustrates a typical laptop keyboard layout, where all of the common keys found on the whopping desktop keyboard are scrunched down to laptop size. The design intends to let you type without the risk of breaking any fingers.

As with a desktop keyboard, you should be able to identify the following basic items on your laptop keyboard:

  • Alphanumeric, or “typewriter,” keys. These are the basic typing keys, each of which is labeled with a character (a letter, number, or punctuation symbol). When typing on the computer, pressing a key produces its character on the screen.


  • Shift keys. The keyboard sports various shift keys used either alone or in combination with other keys. These include Shift, Alt, Ctrl, and the special Windows keys, Win and Context. The Win key appears in the bottom row between the Fn and Alt key in Figure 5-2; the Context key appears between Alt and Ctrl. Also note the Esc, or Escape, key found at the beginning of the top row of keys.


  • Function keys. These keys are labeled F1 through F12 and are found on the top row of the keyboard, right above the number keys.


  • Cursor control keys. These keys could be anywhere around the keyboard, though in Figure 5-2, they’re on the top and bottom right. They include the four directional arrow keys, usually found in an inverted “T” pattern, as well as the Insert (or Ins), Delete (or Del), Home, End, PgUp (or Page Up), PgDn (or Page Down) keys.


  • Numeric keypad. This is covered in the next section.

Figure 5-2: Typical laptop keyboard layout.

The general keyboard layout

Note that the alphanumeric keys are generally the largest, often the same size and with the same travel, or feel, that a desktop computer keyboard offers.

Some keys are small, Chiclet-sized keys. These are the less important and not often used keys, such as the function keys and the cursor control keys.

The text on some keys is color coded. That generally tells you which keys are used in conjunction with each other. For example, if the Alt key is green and the Num Lock key is green, that means that the Alt+Num Lock key combination is required to use Num Lock. (Also refer to the section, “The Fn key is the Fun key!” later in this chapter.)

At one point in the computer’s history, the Function keys were programmable; you could tell the computer what to do when each key was pressed. In Windows, however, the function keys have taken on specific functions. For example, F1 is the Help key.

The cursor control keys are used to move the text cursor when editing text in Windows. They can also be used to help navigate through the Web. The keys may take on other functions in other programs as well.

Some keys are labeled with images or icons instead of text. For example, I’ve seen the Caps Lock key labeled with the letter “A” and a padlock symbol.

Your keyboard may have more or fewer keys than those shown in Figure 5-2, and the arrangement might be different.

Where did the numeric keypad go?

The first thing the laptop designers decided to sacrifice on their keyboards was the numeric keypad. But rather than just saw off that end of the keyboard, laptops since the Model 100 have used a combination numeric keypad/alpha keyboard.

This combination can be seen on your laptop by examining the 7, 8, and 9 keys. You’ll note that these are also the top three keys found on the numeric keypad. Because of this, a shadow keypad is created using the right side of the alpha keyboard, illustrated in Figure 5-3. The trick, of course, is knowing how to turn the thing on and off.

Figure 5-3: The hidden numeric keypad.

The general keyboard layout

Attempt these steps to turn the Num Lock on or off:

1. Open a program you can type in, such as Notepad.

You can find Notepad by choosing Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> Notepad.

2. Type I just love Kimmy into Notepad.

You’ll find out why you adore Kimmy in a few steps.

3. Find the Num Lock light on your laptop’s strip of lights.

The light is your confirmation that you’re in Num Lock mode and can use the embedded numeric keypad. (See Table 5-2.)

4. Find the Num Lock key on your laptop’s keyboard.

Somewhere on your keyboard is a Num Lock key. It might be called NumLock, or NumLk, or Num, or it might even be labeled with a symbol, as shown in the margin. Locate that key.

5. Attempt to activate Num Lock.

Press the Num Lock key. If nothing happens, then try Shift+Num Lock.

If the text Num Lock is listed in a different color, find the matching color key, such as Alt or Fn. Then press that key in combination with Num Lock.

You’re successful when the Num Lock light comes on. At that point, the keyboard has switched into numeric keypad mode.

6. Try to type I just love Kimmy again.

It won’t work. You’ll get something like: 14st 36ve 500y. That’s because most of the keys on the right side of the keyboard now have their numeric keypad abilities activated. It’s great for entering numbers or working a spreadsheet, but rather frustrating at other times.

7. Deactivate Num Lock.

Press whatever key combination you used to turn it on.

8. Close Notepad.

There is no need to save the document.

Try to remember which key combination you used to activate the numeric keypad. Write it down in the book’s Cheat Sheet just in case you forget.

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The general keyboard layout The general keyboard layout

The general keyboard layout
The general keyboard layout
The general keyboard layout The general keyboard layout