Keyboard Sizes: The Ultimate Guide in 2022

A brief explanation of the various sizes and layouts of mechanical keyboards available on the market, from the common to the quite idiosyncratic

One of the main attractions of a mechanical keyboard is how we can choose what really suits our preferences and needs. Starting from variations in the characteristics of the switches to the size and layout of the keyboard itself, there are lots of options that we can choose from.

Choosing one size and the best layout is basically quite impossible, because everyone has different criteria. Those of you who deal with Excel files every day will probably always need a keyboard that has a numpad, while I actually want that part to disappear in order to expand the area for mouse movement. Others may choose a layout based solely on aesthetic aspects, and that’s fine too.

In this article, I will discuss various sizes and layouts of mechanical keyboards, as well as some examples on the market. For those who are only familiar with full-size and tenkeyless keyboards, this article will be perfect for you.

Different Keyboard Sizes
Different Keyboard Sizes

The Different Keyboard Sizes

The size of the keyboard is divided into several layouts. The following are the most commonly found keyboard sizes:

  • Full Size (100%) Keyboard
  • 1800-Compact (96%) Keyboard
  • TKL/Tenkeyless (87%) Keyboard
  • 75% Keyboard
  • 65% Keyboard
  • 60% Keyboard
  • 40% Keyboard
  • Numpad
  • Macro Pad
  • Split/ergonomic layout
  • Ortholinear

Each keyboard size is different both in terms of dimensions and also the number of keys. The easiest way to tell the difference is to look at the number of buttons and their arrangement. The smaller the keyboard layout, the fewer the number of keys.

  • On TKL keyboard sizes, 75%, 65%, 60%, and 40% they have no numpad.
  • While the Full Size and 1800-Compact sizes still have a numpad.

Note: As it gets smaller, the numpad, home function, function bar (F1-F12), arrow keys, and numbers will be removed. And of course the dimensions are becoming more compact.

Now we will discuss the keyboard sizes and their respective uses. It’s important to know that keyboards can come in any shape, and here are just the sizes that are most commonly found.

Full Size (100%) Keyboard

Full Size (100%) Keyboard
Full Size (100%) Keyboard

Full Size Keyboard is a common keyboard size. This is the most used keyboard in the office. Full-size or 100% mechanical keyboards have a numpad, function keys (F1, F2, and so on), navigation keys (arrow keys, Page Up, and so on) and Fn keys.

These are the sizes and layouts that everyone considers standard. If you add up, a full-size keyboard with an ANSI layout generally has 104 keys, but there are also those that pack 108 keys. Some gaming peripheral manufacturers sometimes also add a number of extra buttons or knobs.

If you still need an example of a full-size keyboard, you can check out the Asus ROG Strix Flare II Animate.

1800-Compact (96%) Keyboard

1800-Compact (96%) Keyboard
1800-Compact (96%) Keyboard

The 1800-Compact-sized keyboard is somewhere between the full-sized keyboard and the TKL keyboard. For the layout of the keyboard keys this size is almost similar to a full-sized keyboard.

The difference is that the 1800-compact keyboard has almost no space between the position of the numpad and the rest of the keys. While the full size keyboard is very clear the distance between the numpad keys and other keys.

1800-Compact is simply a full size layout where all the keys are closer together without losing any functionality.

1800-Compact is simply a full size layout where all the buttons are closer together without losing any functionality.

The goal of the 96% keyboard was to cram as many keys as possible in as little space as possible. This layout generally has 100-104 keys, aka almost the equivalent of a full-size keyboard. But the difference, as we can see, is that there is almost no gap at all between the buttons. As a result, some users may need time to adapt to it.

The 96% keyboard is an ideal option for those who need a full-size keyboard but have limited desk space. Horizontally, the 96% keyboard length is generally not much different from the TKL keyboard. The 96% keyboard options available on the market are not too many.

Intrigued by the display size of the 1800-Compact keyboard? You can find them in this article.

TKL (Tenkeyless) or 87% Keyboard

TKL (Tenkeyless) or 87% Keyboard
TKL (Tenkeyless) or 87% Keyboard

Technically, the term tenkeyless is actually wrong, because what is missing is not only 10 keys, but a total of 17 keys that make up the numpad area. A more accurate term is actually 80%, which indicates that its physical dimensions are only 80% of a full-size keyboard.

Some gaming peripheral manufacturers also use the term “Tournament Edition” for this size and layout, indicating its characteristics are more portable than full-size, making it easier to carry from one tournament to another. Also very common is that manufacturers release one keyboard model in two sizes: full-size and TKL, as Logitech G915.

75% Keyboard

75% Keyboard
75% Keyboard

The 80% and 75% keyboards look very similar because they both only leave the numpad keys. What distinguishes them both are the keys on the gaming keyboard the size of 75% where the keys are close to each other. So the keyboard is more compact, but the function is the same as TKL.

65% but with function rows, that’s roughly how I describe the 75% layout in a nutshell. In total, the 75% keyboard has 82-84 keys, almost on par with the TKL layout earlier. Even so, the physical size can be more compact than the TKL because the position of the buttons is more compressed again.

The 75% keyboard is the smallest size available that still features the F1-F12 keystrokes. Some people may need time to adapt to the row of number keys and function rows attached, like the Alternatively, they can look at the 75% variant with “exploded” frills, which usually still have gaps between a number of key areas, such as the EPOMAKER Theory TH80 75% for example. Or you can find some of the 75% keyboards we cover in this article.

65% Keyboard

65% Keyboard
65% Keyboard

The 65% keyboard is a fairly rare keyboard, but is now quite popular. In this gaming keyboard, there are no function keys and some navigation keys. But don’t worry, there are still arrow keys. Using a 65% size gaming keyboard will certainly provide more flexible mouse movement and is easier to carry everywhere, but it is not suitable for use for work.

In simple terms, the 65% keyboard is a 60% keyboard that expands slightly to the right to accommodate the directional arrow keys and a number of navigation keys, giving a total of around 67-68 keys. If you don’t need numpad and function row on a daily basis, but still need arrow keys, then you can take this size and layout into consideration.

The 65% keyboard is currently very popular in Indonesia, mainly thanks to the many new models launched by a number of local brands. One example that is currently being hyped is the EPOMAKER AKKO 3068B Plus.

60% Keyboard

60% Keyboard
60% Keyboard

The 60% keyboard is the smallest size compared to its current brethren. This gaming keyboard leaves all the function keys, navigation keys including arrow keys, and of course the numpad keys, making it very easy to carry around and giving the mouse more freedom of movement.

As explained earlier, the 60% figure shows how big the size is when compared to a full-size keyboard. This quite extreme shrinkage is achieved by eliminating the numpad area, arrow and navigation keys (Home, End, etc.), as well as the row of function keys on the top side. In total, 60% keyboard has 61-64 keys.

The 60% keyboard is very popular among gamers, because they can move the mouse more freely without the risk of hitting the keyboard. To access some of the missing keys, 60% of keyboard users usually have to rely on a combination of the Fn key and other keys, such as Fn + 5 to activate the F5 key. One example of a 60% keyboard on the market is the Corsair K65 RGB Mini.

40% Keyboard

40% Keyboard
40% Keyboard

The sizes and layouts that I have described above are basically the most common and whose products can be purchased widely. But actually there are many other mechanical keyboard layouts that I haven’t had time to discuss, and which basically have led to the realm of custom keyboards (not finished products that can be purchased in their entirety from a manufacturer).

Believe it or not, there are many people out there who are comfortable working using a 40% keyboard, which doesn’t even have 50 keys. Then there is the ortholinear layout, which is very unique because almost all the buttons are the same size, including the usually longer buttons like Tab and Shift.

The 40% keyboard has the following characteristics, no number keys, function bar, and arrow keys. The number keys that line up at the top can’t be found on a keyboard of this size, all that’s left is the letter keys and ctrl, shift. For more details, see the image above.

This keyboard is quite rare in the market because the demand is quite low. If you want to have this keyboard, you can assemble it yourself by buying separate parts.

Number Pad

Number Pad
Number Pad

Numpad is usually found on the right on full-sized keyboards. As user needs grew, manufacturers began to produce keyboards that only consisted of 17 keys. Numpad serves to complement keyboards that do not have a numpad, for example a 65% or 40% keyboard.

The Numpad can also be used to move around on your desk, unlike the Numpad on an 1800-compat or full-size keyboard that cannot be moved.

Macro Pad

Macro Pad
Macro Pad

Keyboard macro pads are usually used to meet the needs of certain functions, such as multimedia functions, or mathematical functions. Macro pads can usually be reprogrammed to set the required functions according to the user’s wishes.

Macro pads are often used by DJs or streamers as shortcut keys to quickly access certain functions. For example changing the background scene or to change the background while streaming.

Split/ergonomic layout

Split/ergonomic layout
Split/ergonomic layout

Keyboard with a split layout or ergonomics tilts the left and right sides of the keyboard so that more people who use typing can experience a natural typing experience with the angle of your hand in a natural position.

This keyboard is ideal for people who type for long periods of time because it provides an ergonomic feel that can take the stress out of straightening the wrists required for a regular keyboard.

Keyboard with a split layout or ergonomics has proven to be very effective in helping users reduce the risk of injury, soreness, or RSI because the position of the hands is always in a natural position without forcing an unusual position like when using a regular keyboard in general.

Ortholinear

Ortholinear
Ortholinear

Keyboards with an ortholinear layout display keys distributed in horizontal and vertical rows and columns that are perpendicular to each other.

A keyboard with an ortholinear layout is a fairly segmented keyboard because the segmentation is more towards hobbies and this keyboard is not a hobby.

Ortholinear layouts don’t present any unique advantages over standard layouts, nor are they a huge learning curve to get used to, they’re just neat.

Why are the keyboard sizes different?

Out of necessity. Not everyone has the right preferences and gets the same experience when typing using a full size keyboard, which is functionally the full size keyboard is the most complete.

With the different sizes and layouts of the keyboards, the keyboard will provide more options for everyone to get their best typing experience when using the keyboard. Ergonomics and comfort factors are the main factors here.

What is a keyboard function layer?

In a more compact keyboard size or layout, it requires setting the layer function so that it can be used as a keyboard function in general. The layer function is a function that makes a small keyboard able to send input just like a keyboard with complete keys and functions.

The following is a general configuration of layer functions commonly used on compact keyboards:

On 60% keyboard Normally:

Shift + 1 = !
Fn + 1 = F1

On 40% keyboard Generally:

Shift + q = Q
Fn + q = 1
Fn + shift + q = !

Why Does Size Matter?

It is your preference how you get the most appropriate keyboard size for your needs. Full-sized keyboards are generally used in offices for data input because they have complete keys as well as their functions.

If you want to have a portable keyboard that can provide great flexibility and easy to carry anywhere, is a hassle if you have a full size or 1800-Compact keyboard, then the TKL size, 75%, 65%, or 60% is the most appropriate option in this case.

So, find a keyboard size that suits your needs and preferences.

Find Your Best Comfort

Keyboard with TKL size, 75%, or 65% is the most ideal keyboard size in our opinion. Maybe you will need a little time to adapt to these three keyboard layouts.

How often do you use Numpad on the keyboard?

  • if you rarely use it, you can choose TKL size, 75%, 65%, or 60%.
  • If you use numpad a lot but want a fairly compact size, 1800-Compact is a great option.
  • If you want full functionality and you are very intense using numpad and various functions on the keyboard, then the full size keyboard is the best option for you.

Membangun Kustom Keyboard Anda Sendiri

Jika anda merupakan orang yang antusias terhadap mekanikal keyboard, coba bangun keyboard kustom anda sendiri dengan menentukan layout, desain, dan berbagai macam aspek yang dapat anda sesuaikan dengan kebutuhan anda.

Kelebihan memiliki keyboard kustom adalah anda akan menjadi orang yang memiliki keyboard dengan penampilan unik dan estetik.

Keyboard Features by Size

Keyboard Size# of KeysNumber PadHome ClusterFunction RowArrow KeysNumber Keys (Top Row)Full Alphabet
Full-Sized (100%)104
1800 Compact Full-sized103-104
TKL
(87/80%)
87X
75%80-84X
65%66-69XX
60%58-65XXX
40%40-44XXXXX
Number Pad17XXXXX
Macro pad8-16XXXXXX
Keyboard Features by Size

Choosing the Right Keyboard Size for you

Will you follow the trend of buying a TKL keyboard or a 65% keyboard?

Mini-sized keyboard alias small is becoming a trend in the gaming world today. Its small size with a trimmed number of keys is an attractive choice for gamers who need a compact, practical, efficient, and ergonomic keyboard.

Therefore, from time to time, gaming keyboard manufacturers continue to strive to provide a keyboard with a mini size but still functional.

By reducing the number of buttons in it, it does not mean eliminating the function of the buttons it has removed, but rather making one button able to function in several ways. It is done with a combination of keystrokes so that the function remains the same as the previous button.

Various Mini Size Keyboards beyond full size and 1800-Compact

  • Currently, broadly speaking, mini-sized keyboards are classified in four forms based on the percentage of the number of keys. First, the TKL or Ten Keyless keyboard.
  • Called Ten Key Less because this keyboard eliminates all ten numeric keys. This term later became more widely used on the keyboard with this number of 87 keys.
  • Second, 75 percent keyboard. The size of this keyboard is actually just a few keys reduction from the TKL keyboard. There are some buttons that are omitted, such as arrow keys, up and down buttons, to PS/PB/PL buttons.
  • Third, the keyboard is 60 percent. The 60% keyboard is becoming very popular among mechanical keyboard enthusiasts who need a gaming keyboard that is more compact in size, but still has full functional keys.
  • Fourth, which is even smaller, a 40 percent keyboard. This 40 percent keyboard only leaves the keys of all letters plus a few supporting keys, such as Backspace, Control, Enter, and so on.

The size is not standard. Some manufacturers can add and remove keyboard keys based on the needs of most users.

Although not standard, manufacturers must still meet the keyboard standards that apply internationally, namely the American National Standard Institute (ANSI) and the International Standard Organization (ISO). ISO is applied to many countries in the UK and Europe.

What is The Best Keyboard size for programmers?

There is no definite size for best use on a programming keyboard. The most popular are the TKL, 1800-Compact, and Full Size keyboards for programming.

But not infrequently you find programmers who use a keyboard with a 65% or 75% layout. It all comes back to the preferences of each user. In my opinion, to work on a mobile basis or move anywhere, programmers need a keyboard with a compact size like 60%, 65%, or 75%.

What is The Best Keyboard size for gaming?

Based on the data collected by Prosettings.net, professional gamers choose to use a keyboard with a TKL layout size. Nearly 60% of professional players in competitive games such as Dota 2, Valorant, or Fortnite use TKL-sized keyboards such as Logitech G Pro, HyperX Alloy FPS Pro, CORSAIR K70 RGB TKL, and Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition TKL.

Conclusion

With so many different keyboard sizes on the market today, don’t let it confuse you to choose. Choose a keyboard that is ideal for your needs and a design that suits your taste. For now, gamers prefer TKL-sized keyboards compared to others. It all comes back to your needs, because you know better what you need from a keyboard.

Author

  • kizaru

    Hi! I’m Kizaru. I grew up addicted to different Gadget & Computer Accessories. I began working as an IT Support Supervisor in Hospitality company years ago and realized my passion for Computer & Gadget Accessories. Digiva.net is a place for me to share my different findings and experiences about Computer & Gadget Accessories. For more information, Check Out My About Me Page!