You have observed many times how the way certain keys are placed on a keyboard, regardless of the type, varies from keyboard to keyboard depending on the type of keyboard. the layout and size of certain keys. It was not something decided at random, but it comes from two different standards that mark the way the keys are distributed on a keyboard. Both are totally valid and have shared space in the market for years, but they have some differences between them and that’s what we’ll see next.
Characteristics of ANSI keyboards
ANSI is an acronym for American National Standards Institute, which is a non-profit organization responsible for overseeing the development of standards for products, services, processes and systems in the United States. ANSI’s job is not only to create standards for this country, but it also coordinates its standards at the national level with international standards. Therefore, keyboards created under this standard will be designed for use in this country and therefore will have a keyboard layout designed to write in English. For this reason, keys like the typical “Ñ” of Spanish or the “Ç” of languages like Catalan or French are not integrated in this type of keyboard.
Before 1995, this type of keyboard had 101 keys altogether, but the arrival of Windows 95 required the addition of Windows keys and the context menu. Since then, the configuration of his keys has not changed at all. This currently represents 104 keys in the complete models and 87 in the Tenkeyless configuration.
Regarding the specific specifications of ANSI keyboards, they are as follows:
- Key Enter O Introduction It has a rectangular shape.
- On ANSI keyboards, the key is above the Enter key and below the Backspace key.
- Key size Change, to the left and right of the keyboard, is symmetrical on an ANSI keyboard
- It is easier to find replacement keys for an ANSI keyboard than an ISO keyboard.
Features of ISO keyboards
It is very difficult that in markets where English is not the vernacular you will find ANSI keyboard, in the rest of the world they use ISO keyboards. Where ISO refers to another non-profit organization responsible for maintaining standards in new products and services, unlike ISO has a completely international approach. Keyboards are therefore not designed for a specific language.
Because there are character differences between different languages, even in countries with the same alphanumeric encoding. Most of the unique characters in each language are shoehorns and these keys are difficult to access. The reason is that the space of each of the rows of keys is allocated by the standard, so it is necessary to juggle space.
As for the differences compared to the ANSI keyboard, they are as follows:
- The Enter key is shaped like an upside down L.
- The left Shift key is 50% of the size of the right key.
- A new key is added, Alt Gr, which replaces the right Alt key compared to an ANSI keyboard.
- It has one more key than ANSI keyboards, 105 in the case of a full keyboard and 88 keys in the case of a Tenkeyless keyboard.
- Finding replacement parts for some standard ISO keys is more difficult than ANSI if you want to create a fully customized keyboard.
ANSI or ISO, which keyboard is better for typing?
The most general function of a keyboard is to type text. And we cannot forget that in 95% the distribution of the keys is the same. The problem when switching from an ANSI keyboard to an ISO type and vice versa comes with muscle memory when using certain keys, and that is if there is something that we have developed at the Over time, it’s the ability to type with a concrete key pattern. It is possible that within the same standard we find two types of size at the level of the keys and have a small adaptation time which lasts a few hours.
The passage of ISO and ANSI or vice versa is different and requires more learning. The difficulty is complicated if we are not going to write in English since all the keys are not complete. The problem with ISO keyboards is that they lose ergonomics compared to ANSI, but if you’re used to typing on an ISO keyboard, switching to ANSI will cost you a lot more.
However, it is possible to get a fully reprogrammable ANSI keyboard and use it in any language with a Latin alphabet. Of course, you’ll have to get used to the new key layout for this and it may take some getting used to. We are abandoning this reprogramming option in case you have purchased an ANSI keyboard and need to configure it in Spanish.
And which keyboard layout is best for gaming, ANSI or ISO?
In fact, in what the most used keys in games say, there is not much difference between ANSI and ISO, the problem is with the left shift key which is smaller and less accessible on an ISO keyboard than an ANSI keyboard, which means that if you play a game that uses this key continuously, you will get poorer results.
The problem arises when you have to replace some keys due to wear and tear, as we said it is much easier to find parts for an ANSI keyboard than it is for an ISO keyboard, but this only applies to to some unique keys of ISO keyboards. We also can’t forget that there are gaming keyboards on the market, which are halfway between an ANSI keyboard and an ISO keyboard, with things like Shift keys being the same size.