How should you choose a mechanical keyboard in size and layout? This article shows you the pros and cons of different sizes and layouts. Continue reading, and discover your ideal mechanical keyboard. When I was a kid, the keyboards were all in the same size. They are large and heavy, and you got used to them. As the development of mechanical keyboards, various layouts and sizes are created. They can satisfy people’s varying demands and purposes.
This keyboard comes with a numeric keypad on the right side. The full-size keyboard is the only type with a numeric keypad (besides Tenkey/number pad). if you need the number keys you should consider a full-size keyboard.
There is a specific keyboard belonging to the full-size type, 1800-Compact. Its layout has a bit different from normal full-size keyboards. It has a more compact layout with the arrow keys below the Enter key and other navigational keys above the number pad.
Tenkeyless (TKL, 87%, 80%)
Tenkeyless or TKL is the most common compact keyboard layout. According to searches, it fits typists best. TKL layout is more ergonomic for text editing when you want to switch between keyboard and mouse rapidly. TKL layout has no number pad; so it only has 80% of the width of a full-size keyboard that makes it smaller and lighter. It occupies less space and easier to carry than a full-size keyboard. Of course, it can’t be compared with a portable one. People usually can get used to a TKL keyboard fast, because it won’t change your typing habits a lot. You just need to accept the loss of the number pad.
You must figure out why it’s called 75%. This layout only has about 70% to 75% of the width of a full-size keyboard. Compared to a TKL layout, it only lost a few keys. It gets more compact, with no extra space. Some keys like Insert, Delete, and Home is in a right single column. Some people may find it a little unaccustomed to use.
If you would like to purchase a smaller size keyboard, a 60% layout keyboard must be your option. There is no F key row at the top. The Function (FN) key is usually on the bottom. F keys can be accessed via FN+Numeric/Alphanumeric key. For example, F1=FN+1. Its size advantage has gained many people’s favorites. You just need to adapt to use these shortcuts. The below table shows you the most common use of Function Keys.
Windows Function Keys
|F1||Activates help for a currently open application, and help for Windows at the Windows Desktop.|
|F2||Renames a selected file or folder in all versions of Windows.|
|F3||Starts search when at the Windows Desktop in all versions of Windows.|
|F4||Opens the address bar when browsing files in Windows Explorer.
|F5||Refresh or reload the currently open application.|
|F6||Moves the cursor to the address bar in most Internet browsers.|
|F7||Check spell and grammar.|
|F8||Press over and over again as the computer is booting will start the computer in Safe Mode.|
|F9||Sends and receives emails in Microsoft Word.|
|F10||Activates the File menu bar in all versions of Windows. Simulates a right-click on a selected item.
|F11||In and out of full-screen mode.|
|F12||Open the Save as dialog box in Microsoft Word.|
60% (Mini) keyboards can be a challenge for some people, but it has an advantage of space and weight. After you are used to these shortcuts, I believe you will love the Mini keyboards.
Until here, the above four keyboard layouts are the most common. The below keyboard layouts are created for professional usages.
40% layout is hard to purchase from mainstream companies. You have to DIY your own or get professionals to make one for you. It only has the alphanumeric keys and some modifiers.
Tenkey (number pad)
You get all numeric keys and several function keys like Escape, Tab, and Backspace. People always collocate a Tenkey with a TKL or a mini keyboard. You are free to locate the Tenkey on either side. There will be more space for your mouse.
There are also some irregular keyboard layouts. Some are designed for switch testing, such as 5% and Binary. Some are designed for game players. There won’t introduce them to you. Choose your mechanical keyboard according to your needs and favorite.
Share the photos of your favorite mechanical keyboards.
Your suggestions and ideas are valuable to more friends who are still searching for their mechanical keyboards.
Thank you for reading and sharing!