QWERTY Keyboard

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What Does QWERTY Keyboard Mean?

The QWERTY keyboard is the most widely used modern keyboard layout. It was designed and developed by Christopher Sholes, the inventor of the typewriter, in 1874. The keyboard got its name from the first six letters of the alphabetical line on the keyboard. A myth was popularized that Sholes designed it this way to prevent letter jams of frequently used letter combinations. This does have some truth to it, as early typewriters frequently jammed when two adjacent letters were pressed at the same time. Placing frequently used letter combinations away from each other did help to prevent this. However, this placement also hinders faster typing.

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The QWERTY keyboard is also known as the Sholes keyboard.

Techopedia Explains QWERTY Keyboard

As the QWERTY keyboard layout was popularized, designers and developers began to make alternative versions, claiming that these can be more efficient to use. One of these versions was designed for mobile phones, and is known as half QWERTY. With this keyboard layout, two or more characters share the same key, increasing the surface area but greatly reducing the number of keys. Another version is the displaced QWERTY, which was also designed for mobile devices, specifically touchscreen devices. This is essentially a QWERTY layout that's divided in two, with the right half somewhat rearranged under the left half. This was first seen on the iPhone app "LittlePad".

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.