Keyboard basics

 

Close lesson
You have completed 0%

Keyboard basics

a group of people connecting with the internet

What's coming up

Millions of people use computers every day. Computers let you carry out all kinds of useful and interesting tasks, from typing a letter to selling online.

Unless you're using a touchscreen, your computer will have a keyboard.

So let's begin by looking at some keyboard basics. In this activity, you will find out how to type text and numbers using the keyboard.

Start activity

The keyboard layout

The keyboard lets you type information, e.g. when you're writing an email or filling in a form online. Most keyboards are based on a layout known as QWERTY, as these are the first six letters you see on a standard keyboard.

a typical keyboard with the QWERTY keys highlighted in purple

Entering text

There are many different ways of typing on a keyboard. Some people use both hands, but others use only two fingers.

You will develop your own way of entering text using the keyboard. The main thing to remember is that accuracy is more important than speed.

a close up of fingers typing on a keyboard

The Caps Lock key

When typing, you can change from lower-case letters to capitals by pressing the Caps Lock key. To go back to typing in lower case, you press Caps Lock again. Words written in capitals can be hard to read, and typing all capitals in an email is like shouting and should be avoided.

a typical keyboard with the Caps Lock key highlighted in purple

The Shift key

If you want to type just one capital letter, you press and hold the Shift key, type the letter, then release the Shift key. There's more than one Shift key on most keyboards. The Shift keys have small arrows on them, pointing upwards. Find the Shift keys on your keyboard.

a typical keyboard with the Shift keys highlighted in purple

The Enter key

The Enter key is important. One use of the Enter key is to start a new line when typing. On a standard PC keyboard, there are two Enter keys: one of them is next to the letters and the other is next to the number pad.

a typical keyboard with the Enter keys highlighted in purple

The spacebar

As well as the Enter key, you will use the spacebar when typing. The spacebar is the long bar at the bottom of the keyboard. It's used to put spaces between words.

a typical keyboard with the spacebar highlighted in purple

Typing letters

Now you can try typing. Let's type a name in the Gmail registration page.

On the next slide is a practice that includes some steps to try yourself. Select the Continue button below to begin and then follow the instructions on the right hand side of the screen.

Typing letters

Typing letters

This is an interactive activity that allows learners to practise typing letters, using a Gmail registration page. This activity has no sound track and is made up of a Gmail registion page where the learner needs to type the name "Mark Norton" into the registration fields.

This activity is used to encourage confidence using the internet by practising a simple exercise in a simulated environment.

If a mistake is made during this exercise, there will be a prompt to ask you to try it again. If another mistake is made, the video will show you how to complete that section of the exercise.

Typing symbols

Many keys on a keyboard have more than one symbol on them. For example, locate the forward slash symbol (/) on the bottom row of letters. You'll see that it has a question mark symbol (?) above it.

a typical keyboard with the Forward slash key highlighted

Another example of two symbols on the same key is the number 8 key at the top of the keyboard. It has a star symbol (*) above it.

a typical keyboard with the number 8 key highlighted

To type the higher symbol on these keys, you press and hold the Shift key and type the key for the symbol.

a typical keyboard with the number 8 key and the Shift key highlighted in purple

More typing

Now you can try some more typing. Let's enter the next line in this email.

On the next slide is a practice that includes some steps to try yourself. Select the Continue button below to begin and then follow the instructions on the right hand side of the screen.

More Typing

More typing

This is an interactive exercise that allows learners to practise typing letters, using an email message page. This activity has no sound track and in order to complete it, you need to type the words "how are you?" into an email main body text box and then press the enter key to start a new line and finish the activity.

This activity is used to encourage confidence using the internet by practising a simple exercise in a simulated environment.

If a mistake is made during this exercise, there will be a prompt to ask you to try it again. If another mistake is made, the video will show you how to complete that section of the exercise.

The number keys

You can use the keyboard to type numbers as well as text. On your keyboard, you will see a row of number keys above the top row of letters. Using these keys is one of the ways you can type numbers.

a typical keyboard with the number keys highlighted in purple

The number pad

As well as the row of numbers above the letters, a standard desktop keyboard has a number pad on the right-hand side.

Some people find it easier to use this to type numbers, but if you're using a laptop, they might not be there.

a typical keyboard with the number pad highlighted in purple

The number lock

To use the number pad, the number lock (also known as the Num Lock key) above the number pad must be on.

If the number lock is off, the number pad can be used for other functions, such as deleting and moving between pages in a document.

a typical keyboard with the number lock highlighted in purple

On a laptop, the keyboard may not have room for a number pad.

If you're using a laptop that doesn't have a number pad, you can use the numbers at the top of the keyboard.

Always remember that accuracy is more important than speed when entering numbers.

a close up of a typical keyboard with the number keys above the letter keys

Typing numbers

Now let's try typing some numbers. Let's type a date into the 'Birth year' text box on the Yahoo registration page.

On the next slide is a practice that includes some steps to try yourself. Select the Continue button below to begin and then follow the instructions on the right hand side of the screen.

Typing numbers

Typing numbers

This is an interactive exercise that allows learners to practise typing numbers using an email provider registraion page.

This exercise has no sound track and in order to complete it, you need to type the numbers 1975 into the year of birth field on the registration page.

This exercise is to encourage confidence using the internet by practising a simple exercise in a simulated environment. If a mistake is made, there will be a prompt to ask you to try it again. If another mistake is made, the video will show you how to complete that section of the exercise.

a close up of someone typing on their laptop

Congratulations!

Well done, you've come to the end of the Keyboard basics topic.

You've learnt how to type letters, numbers and symbols, correct mistakes and enter spaces and new lines in text.

In the next topic, More about the keyboard, you'll learn how you can use the keyboard to navigate around the screen, as well as other tips and tricks.