Keyboard Dictionary

The Keyboard Dictionary is a collection of primarily IBM and family focused community colloquial names and lingo, jargon, marketing terms and technical terms gathered and defined from official sources or my experience for anyone who is new to understanding computer keyboards in depth or the keyboard enthusiast hobby. Please note that the meaning of some non-standard terms can be up for debate and thus I have tried my best to take an objective stance on such offenders. All terms are in the context of IBM and family keyboards may have alternative meanings in other computing contexts. Right now, 126 terms have been recorded. Terms are by default categorised by first letter but can be sorted by category. In regards to term origin:

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60%

Image source: [ASK]

"60%" describes a small form-factor keyboard that omits dedicated numeric keypad, arrow keys, function keys and navigation keys. Such keyboards are the smallest available that do not compromise on keys within the alphanumeric section but often rely on function layers to reintroduce the functionality from the aforementioned keys. The Model F-based IBM 4704 Model 200 Alphameric Keyboard is an example of an early 60% keyboard design. The Anne Pro and Anne Pro 2, GK61, various HHKBs, Vortex POK3R and Wooting 60HE+ are examples of more recent 60% designs.

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A

ABNT2 layout

Image source: [ASK]

The "ABNT2" physical and function layout is one of the keyboard layouts introduced by the Enhanced layout alongside the ANSI and ISO layouts. It is solely intended for Brazilian Portuguese keyboards. It is named the Brazilian Association of Technical Standards (ABNT) body's specification for the alphanumeric portion of the layout - ABNT NBR 10346 variant 2. It is very similar to an ISO layout but additionally has a smaller (1.75-unit) right shift key and a smaller (1-unit shorter) numpad plus key.

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ANPOS

Stands for alphanumeric point of sale, which refers to a keyboard specifically designed for a POS system that has a full complement of alphanumeric keys. ANPOS keyboards are typically very close in design to standard keyboards everyone is familiar with, however, they may also feature some of the job-specific features most POS input devices have such as relegendable/programmable keys, card readers and/or lock keys.

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ANSI enter key

Image source: [ASK]

Aka/also known as: long enter key

The ANSI-style enter, return or field exit key is one that is horizontally long and usually 2.25 units long. It is used by the ANSI physical layout and is thus common for standard PC keyboards destined for the United States of America (among a few others). For IBM and family, a key similar to it emerged by 1978 for IBM 4978 Display Station Keyboards. In the '80s, it was popularised by the Enhanced layout as the main domestic (relative to the USA) counterpart to the ISO-style enter key.

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ANSI layout

Image source: [ASK]

The "ANSI" physical layout is one of the two main keyboard layouts introduced by the Enhanced layout alongside the ISO layout that together remain the base of most keyboard layouts. It is named after the American National Standards Institute and was primarily intended for the United States of America but is also used for generic English keyboards in The Netherlands and many East Asian countries. It may also be used for Arabic and Cyrillic language keyboards. Compared to ISO, ANSI physical layout has a larger (2.25-unit) left shift key and a horizontally massive (2.25-unit long) enter key.

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AT

"AT" can refer to multiple things associated with the IBM 5170 Personal Computer AT, its derivatives and third-party clones.

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AT layout

Image source: [ASK]

The AT layout refers to the key arrangement of Model F-based IBM 5170 Personal Computer AT Keyboard from 1984 that was briefly a de facto standard for PC keyboards in the mid-1980s. The AT's layout is a rework of the "XT layout" that eliminated many of the stepped keys, switched to a "backwards-L" enter key, and introduced a separation between the alphanumeric and numeric keypad sections. PC clone manufacturers and other companies briefly adopted the layout, but it was quickly overshadowed by the arrival of the Enhanced layout the following year. The "AT" name is derived from the IBM 5170 Personal Computer AT to retrospectively distinguish it from the XT layout.

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AccuType

Image source: [1]

"AccuType Keyboard" was Lenovo's marketing name for an island-style keyboard design introduced in the early 2010s as a more compact replacement for its previous "classic" keyboard designs. AccuType Keyboards typically have 80 to 90 keys but can be larger with a numeric keypad, and most 1-unit or larger keycaps have a curved bottom edge. In recent years, the curve has been removed for keys that are not alphabetic or numeric. AccuType Keyboards are intended for Lenovo's consumer PC devices such as IdeaPad and (non-ThinkPad (Yoga) - the ThinkPad equivalent to AccuType is the Lenovo Precision Keyboard.

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Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene

ABS is a plastic commonly used as a keycap and keyboard case material, amongst other things. Along with PBT, ABS is one of two main keycap materials and is known for being the cheaper material out of the two. ABS is less rigid and its texture can wear down and start shining quicker than PBT, but is also cheaper and easier to mould. ABS is also known to yellow when exposed to UV for a sustained period of time.

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Alphabetic shift

Aka/also known as: alpha shift, lower shift

Alphabetic shift was a key on IBM data entry (DE) terminal keyboards used as an override to allow the user to enter alphabetic characters into a numeric input field or when the host terminal is in numeric mode. As alphabetic characters were printed at the bottom of a keycap's face, the alphabetic shift is also known as "lower shift". When present, the alphabetic shift took the place of the right shift key and was represented by an upside-down shift arrow symbol.

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B

Backwards-L enter key

Image source: [ASK]

Aka/also known as: big-ass enter

A "backwards-L" enter or return key is one that is shaped as described and is usually 2.25 units long and 2 units tall. For IBM and family, a return key very similar to it appeared on US English IBM 3732 Text Display Station Typewriter Keyboards by 1978 but it was not popularised until the emergence of the AT layout in 1984. After the AT layout was supplanted by the Enhanced layout, this style of enter/return key found a new home on the so-called "Asian 10X" layout.

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Base Keyboard

Image source: [1][1][ASK]

"Base Keyboard" was IBM's official name for a 75-key or 87-key IBM 3270 terminal family keyboard. They were originally introduced in 1977 as Model B keyboards (for IBM 3276, 3279 and late 3279) and reintroduced in 1982 as Model F keyboards (for IBM 3104 and 3178) and were perhaps the closest analog IBM had to a full-sized keyboard before Converged and Enhanced Keyboards. They all have two sets of two-column 10-key areas flanking the sides of the main keyboard, and may also have a 12-key keypad for program-function keys, numeric keys or both at once.

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Base plate

Image source: [ASK]

Aka/also known as: back plate, backplate

A keyboard base plate is a plate that sits at the bottom (the base) of a keyboard whose assembly is separate from its cover set and is used as a rigid support for everything else on the assembly to rely on. On Model F and most buckling spring Model M keyboards, the base plate is also curved to provide a sculpt for its keys. Typically, it is metal to provide strong support, but it can be plastic. For keyboards that don't have an assembly separate from the cover set, its bottom cover piece will assume its purpose.

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Battlecruiser

Image source: [ASK]

Aka/also known as: battle cruiser

"Battlecruiser" can refer to two types of keyboards. For IBM and family, they're simply a version of a "battleship" keyboard that whilst retaining the same physical layout, its overall casing is slightly smaller. "Battlecruiser" thus typically refers to later versions of the 122-key IBM Converged Keyboard (Type 3, 4 and 5 122-key Model Ms) that are slightly smaller than the earlier versions (122-key and 127-key Model Fs and Type 1 and 2 122-key Model Ms). Outside of IBM and family, "battlecruiser" keyboards can still be similar to "battleship" style keyboards but don't strictly follow its physical layout and typically have further expanded navigation clusters.

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Battleship

Image source: [ASK]

"Battleship" describes a keyboard larger than a full-sized 101 to 105 key keyboard, typically featuring a 10-key block and two rows of function keys to the left and on top of the alphanumeric keys respectively. 122-key and 127-key members of the IBM Converged Keyboard family (Model F and Model M) are the primarily examples of an IBM "battleship".

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Black oval

Image source: [ASK]

Refers to a style of IBM logo typically found on their industrial and black keyboards, especially from the early to late-1990s. Typically, these came in the form of a stadium-like solid black oval with a raised white or silver IBM logo aligned in the centre.

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Black square

Image source: [1]

Refers to a style of IBM logo found on their industrial computers and keyboards, especially from the early to mid-1980s. Typically, these come in the form of a solid black square with a white IBM logo aligned at the top.

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Blocking

Aka/also known as: anti-ghosting, phantom key detection

Blocking is a means of preventing ghosting on ohmic keyboards limited to 2-key rollover. As missing keystrokes are considered preferable to reporting keys that haven't been pressed, the keyboard's firmware will detect when an attempted key combination cannot be reliably sensed and ignore all keys that could be the result of ghosting. Laptops such as ThinkPads may also provide the option to beep when "Unmanageable Key Combinations" are detected so missed keys aren't silently discarded.

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Blue oval

Image source: [ASK]

Refers to a style of IBM logo found on their business and personal computers and keyboards, especially from the early to late-1990s. Typically, these come in the form of a stadium-like solid grey oval with a blue IBM logo aligned in the centre.

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Brilliant white (keycap)

Aka/also known as: true white, simply "white"

"Brilliant white" in a keycap context is Unicomp's term for a chromatically-cool white colour. Brilliant white keycaps are a modern equivalent to pearl keycaps, which by comparison were a warmer colour and look slightly yellowed side-by-side with brilliant white keycaps. They are similarly usually paired with grey-coloured (that is also chromatically cooler than its older pebble counterpart) keycaps as part of a two-tone set, with brilliant white keys usually being alphanumeric and the spacebar and grey keys usually being arrows, enters, modifiers and operators. They are typically available as an option for Unicomp raven black keyboards.

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Buckling sleeve

Image source: [ASK]

A buckling rubber sleeve is a rubber tactile element that unlike a rubber dome isn't a complete dome nor typically serves as an actuation element. A notable portion of the Model M keyboard family intended for space saving, laptop and POS markets used a buckling rubber sleeve implementation as a no-mush alternative to rubber domes.

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Buckling spring

Image source: [ASK]

Buckling springs (B/S) are keyboard key-switches that characteristically buckle into a kink instead of compressing in a straight column. The term most often describes IBM's famous buckling springs switches designed by Richard Hunter Harris. Buckling springs allow a key-switch to provide actuation, tactility, auditory feedback and a keycap return force all with just one spring.

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C

CANPOS

Image source: [ASK]

Aka/also known as: Compact ANPOS

Stands for Compact Alphanumeric Point of Sale, which specifically refers to the IBM CANPOS Keyboard.

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Capacitance sensing

Aka/also known as: capacitive sensing, capsense

Capacitance sensing (or simply "capsense") is a form of key-switch sensing that relies on the principle that any two objects can be a capacitor and that the capacitance they can both hold together changes as one part is moved closer or away from the other. This can be used as a rudimentary distance measurement that can be used to tell if a given key-switch is pressed by comparing the measurement against a desired threshold. Capacitive key-switches are known to have a long lifetime and have an inherent n-key rollover (provided the keyboard-to-host interface also supports NKRO). Common implementations include IBM beam spring, IBM capacitive buckling spring, Topre (specifically electrostatic capacitive (EC) sensing), and numerous foam and foil key-switches. Keyboards that make use of capsense are known as simply capacitive keyboards and are generally more expensive to make and buy than ohmic keyboards.

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Centinewton

Centinewton is an SI unit of force equal to one-hundredth of a newton (0.01N). A single newton is defined as force that accelerates an object with the mass of one kilogram one meter per second each second. The centinewton is a popular unit of measurement commonly used in the keyboard space for actuation force readings - for example, IBM's membrane buckling springs actuation force range can be expressed as 64-69cN. Compared to the other popular unit for actuation force gram-force, 1cN is equal to 1.02gf.

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Classic ThinkPad layout

Image source: [ASK]

Aka/also known as: 7-row ThinkPad keyboard

The "classic ThinkPad" layout refers to the traditional IBM and Lenovo ThinkPad keyboard layout initially introduced in late 1992 on IBM Model M6 keyboard assemblies for the IBM ThinkPad 700 series. It's a form of compact tenkeyless design where the navigation cluster keys are located above the main keyboard area and the arrow keys are located below the right shift key. Whilst the layout has been modified over the years to first include an "Fn" key, then include a Windows key, and lastly have double-height Esc and Delete keys (to name a few notable changes), the overall layout remained stable until its general replacement in 2012 with the Lenovo Precision Keyboard.

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Classic Touch

Classic Touch was a Lexmark marketing term for a keyboard that sported buckling spring key-switches. It was used in such keyboards' marketing name (like "Lexmark Classic Touch Keyboard") to contrast it with potential Quiet Touch (rubber dome) versions of the same keyboard.

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Cmdxx key

Image source: [ASK]

Command function (Cmd) keys were typically found on IBM 5250-style 122-key terminal keyboards and were used to pass information between the terminal and the (IBM midrange) host system programs and to perform terminal operations. There were region-specific versions of the nomenclature such as "Mdtxx" for Spanish keyboards.

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Console keyboard

Image source: [1]

Aka/also known as: operator console keyboard, display console keyboard

Console keyboards are a type of terminal keyboard used by a console-style terminal that specialises in low-level control of a host processor such as a mainframe. They descended from IBM typewriter-based printer-keyboards that were often used as consoles. "Display console" and "operator console" are often used interchangeably, but "display" technically implies the console uses a visual display unit (such as a CRT display) and was used to contrast them from earlier printer-based consoles. Console keyboards are usually specialised with legends for controlling the processor and any running programs.

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Controller card

Image source: [ASK]

Aka/also known as: logic card

A controller card is a dedicated PCB that has electronics used for sensing key-strokes and reporting them to the host computer. Typically, a controller card has a microcontroller (which is where the name is derived from), connectors for the medium in which the key-switches are sensed (another PCB, membrane assembly, etc.), connector for a cable for the host computer (whether it's accessible from inside or outside the keyboard), and any other components needed for power regulation, signal quality control, ballasts for possible LEDs, etc. "Logic card" is a term used interchangeably with controller card, but it can additionally refer to PCBs that don't have a dedicated microcontroller - for example, the IBM 5291/5292 Display Station Keyboard Unit has a PCB that only sports components needed for capacitance sensing that the host terminal has to operate remotely.

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Converged Keyboard

Image source: [1][ASK]

"Converged Keyboard" was IBM's official name for a 104-key, 122-key or similar keyboard with a two-row 24-key function key area, a plus-shaped arrow key cluster and a left-side two-column 10-key area. The concept was introduced in 1983 with the IBM 3290 Information Panel's 104-key Model F keyboard. IBM Model F and Model M keyboards understood to be "unsaver", "battleship" or "battlecruiser" style by the keyboard enthusiast community are all a part of the IBM Converged Keyboard lineage.

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Cover set

Image source: [ASK]

Aka/also known as: cover group, case, casing

A keyboard cover set or cover group (sometimes abbreviated "cover grp" by IBM Netherlands) is the outer structural casing of a keyboard. Typically they're referred to as a "case" or "casing", but "cover" specifically refers to the casing that the keyboard is supposed to be used in (as opposed to packing material or storage mediums like hard-shell cases, travel cases, fabric sleeves, etc.) "Set" refers to the fact keyboard cases are typically multiple parts, usually two - a top and a bottom cover.

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D

Data entry keyboard

Image source: [1]

Data entry (DE) keyboards are a type of terminal keyboard commonly found in mainframe, terminal and sometimes server usage that are specialised for simple data entry. Such keyboards are typically smaller than their typewriter-like (DA) counterparts and function with either a numeric shift (upper) or alphabetic shift (lower) only. They descended from IBM Card Punch keyboards and can only enter letters in uppercase.

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Data typewriter keyboard

Image source: [ASK]

Aka/also known as: typewriter-like keyboard

Data typewriter (DA) keyboards are a type of terminal keyboard commonly found in mainframe, terminal and sometimes server usage that are specialised for complete alphanumeric data entry or programming. Such keyboards are typically larger than their data entry (DE) counterparts and can output letters in upper or lower case. The "typewriter-like" moniker stems from the fact they were like typewriters (which could type in either case) instead of Card Punches (which DE keyboards are based on and could only type in uppercase). Technically, modern PC keyboards are also typewriter-like keyboards but the term "typewriter-like" is generally only found in mainframe and related context.

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E

EMEA

Aka/also known as: E/ME/A

Stands for Europe, Middle East and Africa, a common geographic grouping used by governments and businesses including IBM. In particular, IBM used EMEA as a common marketing and manufacturing area - at its height, IBM UK's Greenock plant was responsible for producing IBM keyboards for almost exclusively EMEA during the 1980s and 1990s.

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Enhanced Keyboard

Image source: [ASK]

"Enhanced Keyboard" was IBM's official name for a 101-key to 105-key general-purpose keyboard in the Model M family. It was the birth of the modern full-size keyboard that with minor modifications remains the de-facto standard today (see Enhanced layout for details specific to the layout).

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Enhanced layout

Image source: [ASK]

The Enhanced layout refers to the key arrangements that are de facto standard on current PC keyboards. It was developed from IBM's 122-key typewriter keyboard layout with some external influences such as from DEC's terminal keyboards. It was cemented by the Model M-based IBM Enhanced Keyboard from 1985. Following the success of the IBM Personal System/2 and adoption by my PC clone manufacturers, the Enhanced Keyboard's 101-key "ANSI" and 102-key "ISO" layouts both became the standard that most full-size or tenkeyless keyboards derive from albeit with the inclusion of Windows/GUI and menu keys that bring the full-size key count up to 104 and 105 keys for "ANSI" and "ISO" respectively.

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Erase-Eaze

Erase-Eaze is a keyboard feature where the spacebar is split into two keys and one side of the spacebar can function as a backspace key. Legally, Erase-Eaze is a trademark of Keyboard Advancements, Inc, however, many companies including Lexmark used the name on their designs. Lexmark-branded Model M5-2s and Model M13s could have Erase-Eaze as an option when ordering, and specifically, the Model M15 had Erase-Eaze as an inherent feature.

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F

Field Engineering Maintenance Manual

A Field Engineering Maintenance Manual was a type of official document that could be available for a given computer, keypunch typewriter or terminal. FEMMs were prominent for IBM systems up to and including the 1980s. They were intended for technicians working externally to IBM and described how one could maintain such systems (including their keyboards and keyboard assemblies) whilst deployed, thus a useful source for information.

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Field Engineering Theory of Operation

A Field Engineering Theory of Operation manual was a type of official document that could be available for a given computer, keypunch typewriter or terminal. FETOMs were prominent for IBM systems up to and including the 1980s. They were intended for technicians working externally to IBM and described how such systems (including their keyboards and keyboard assemblies) operated, thus a useful source for information.

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Field replaceable unit

Aka/also known as: customer replaceable unit (CRU), field service part, spare part

A field replaceable unit is a component of a larger product or system that by design can be removed, ordered and replaced by a user or technician in the field (ie, without sending the entire product back to the original company, vendor or factory). An FRU can be a single part, a kit, or a complete assembly. Some IBM and family companies make use of FRU part numbers to identify such components. An entire IBM and family keyboard can have an FRU part number and it can be the same or different to the keyboard's regular (manufacturing) part number.

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Flip-out feet

Image source: [ASK]

A flip-out foot is a structure usually on the bottom of a keyboard that can be deployed or retracted to adjust the typing angle to the user's preference. They are typically paired but can also exist as one large foot or more than two to facilitate ergonomic features such as tenting.

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Force-sensing resistor

Aka/also known as: force-sensitive resistor

A force-sensing resistor is a device used in force measurement whose electrical resistance changes when a form of stress is applied. These changes in resistance can be measured and translated into a force measurement. The distinction between a force-sensing resistor and the similar-sounding strain gauge is that strain gauges have an underlying material that deforms, whereas force-sensing resistors do not. The Lexmark-Unicomp pointing stick makes use of force-sensing technology on a movable joystick-like implement to register the user's intent for cursor movement.

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Full-size

Image source: [ASK]

Aka/also known as: 100%

"Full-size" describes a keyboard that is complete with an alphanumeric block, numeric keypad, navigation keys, and function keys. Typical modern full-sized keyboards prescribe to the Enhanced layout, which results in 101 or 104 total keys for "ANSI" style keyboards and 102 or 105 total keys for "ISO". The quintessential full-sized keyboard is the Model M-based IBM Enhanced Keyboard, which was largely responsible for cementing the standard that is still so today and is what the Enhanced layout is named after. Historically, "full-size" could also describe a keyboard using the 83-key "XT" or 84-key "AT" layout.

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G

Ghosting

Aka/also known as: unmanageable key combinations, phantom keys

If a keyboard is said to experience "ghosting", it means an attempted key combination results in additional keys being registered when they're not actually pressed. Ghosting is a symptom of a keyboard using ohmic sensing on a key-matrix without diodes, as such keyboards allow for uncontrolled flow of electricity when more than two keys are pressed. The presence of ghosting is the main technical reason for a keyboard being limited to 2-key rollover. The effects of ghosting can be mitigated if the keyboard's controller electronics employ blocking.

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Gram-force

Gram-force is a metric unit of force. A single gram-force is equal to the mass of one gram multiplied by the standard acceleration due to gravity on Earth. The gram-force is a popular unit of measurement commonly used in the keyboard space for actuation force readings - for example, IBM's membrane buckling springs actuation force range can be expressed as 65-70gf. Some people may simplify the unit as simple grams (g). Compared to the other popular unit for actuation force centinewtons, 1gf is equal to 0.98cN.

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Grey oval

Image source: [ASK]

Refers to a style of IBM logo found on their business and personal computers and keyboards, especially from the mid-1980s to the early-1990s. Typically, these come in the form of a stadium-like solid grey oval with a black or very dark grey IBM logo aligned in the centre.

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H

Host Connected Keyboard

Image source: [1]

Aka/also known as: host-connected keyboard, terminal emulator keyboard

Host-connected keyboards are those intended for use with terminal emulation software running on IBM PCs, PC-like thin clients and compatibles. For IBM specifically, Host Connected Keyboard is also the marketing name for Type 4 122-key Model M keyboards specialised for such use cases. In terms of layout and legends, they're a hybrid of PC-style and terminal keyboards and typically have text colour-coded to indicate what are PC-only functions and what are terminal-only/universal functions.

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Hysteresis

Hysteresis refers to when a key-switch's release point is higher than its actuation point. This is also invariably known as lost motion, movement differential or differential movement.

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I

I-Point

Image source: [ASK]

The I-Point was an integrated pointing device found solely on the IBM Wireless Infrared Keyboard (SK-8807) and IBM Wireless Navigator Pro Keyboard (SK-8810). In contrast to the more famous TrackPoint, the I-Point acted similarly to a typical game console controller's analogue joystick input. A similar technology may have been used for the Silitek PS/2 Wireless Rubberdome Keyboard (SK-7500) sold by Unicomp.

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IBM and family

"IBM and family" is a term used to refer to the keyboards (and potentially other products like PCs, printers and servers) of any company that made them for IBM, was a former division of IBM, or acquired IBM's IP and continues producing their former or derivative designs. This namely includes IBM itself, Lexmark, Unicomp, Lenovo and Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions.

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ISO enter key

Image source: [ASK]

Aka/also known as: tall enter key

The ISO-style enter, return or field exit key is one that is shaped like an upside-down backwards-L and usually with a head that is 1.5 units wide, a body that is 1.25 units wide and is overall 2 units tall. It is used by the ABNT2, ISO and JIS physical layouts and is thus common for standard PC keyboards destined for EMEA, South America, Japan, and Canada (bilingual). For IBM and family, a key similar to it emerged by 1964 on the IBM 029 Card Punch Keyboard and was used for subsequent IBM keypunch keyboards and various terminal keyboards. In the '80s, it was notably adopted by IBM Converged Keyboards before becoming popularised by the Enhanced layout as the main international (relative to the USA) counterpart to the ANSI-style enter key.

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ISO layout

Image source: [ASK]

The "ISO" physical layout is one of the two main keyboard layouts introduced by the Enhanced layout alongside the ANSI layout that together remain the base of most keyboard layouts. It is named after the International Organisation for Standardisation and was primarily intended for EMEA countries, Canada (bilingual) and South America (Latin American Spanish). Compared to ANSI, ISO physical layout has a smaller (1.25-unit) left shift key and a vertically massive (2-unit tall) enter key in the shape of a backwards and upside-down L. Typically, the right Alt key is also labelled as "Alt Graph" (Alt Gr).

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Industrial grey

Image source: [ASK]

"Industrial grey" refers to the grey colouring IBM keyboards intended for their industrial computers could have. It's believed to be used to hide the dirt and damage expected to be inflicted upon the device within an industrial environment. The colour may also have a slight 'olive' tint to it.

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Iron grey

Image source: [1]

"Iron grey" is IBM's and TGCS' marketing name for a dark grey colour used on many of their POS keyboards. Unlike the litho and storm greys used on the bottom of their pearl white POS keyboards, iron grey POS keyboards use the same colour on both sides.

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J

JIS layout

Image source: [ASK]

The "JIS" physical layout is a possible keyboard layout derived from the Enhanced layout intended for multilingual Japanese keyboards. It is named after the Japanese Industrial Standards body. There are several similarities and differences compared to the ANSI and ISO layouts; for the latter, JIS utilises an ANSI-like long left shift key and an ISO-style enter key. However, 4 or 5 extra keys (compared to ISO and ANSI respectively) can be found from the splitting of the backspace, right shift and spacebar keys to support additional Japanese characters and language input keys for muhenkan (left of spacebar), henkan (1st right of spacebar) and katakana/hiragana (2nd right of spacebar).

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K

Keyboard frame

Image source: [1]

Aka/also known as: frame assembly, frame, barrel plate, barrelplate

A keyboard frame is a plate that typically sits at the top of a keyboard assembly and is used for holding and supporting key-switch components in their specific places. For IBM buckling spring and buckling sleeve keyboards, the frame is the official term for their barrel plates that have circular structures for holding their key-switch components in place. The barrel plate can be metal and have discrete (separate) barrels as seen on all Model F keyboards, or can be plastic and have their barrels integrated as seen on most Model M keyboards.

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L

Litho grey

Image source: [ASK]

"Litho grey" is IBM's and TGCS' marketing name for a dark grey colour typically found on the bottom of their POS keyboards. Typically, a litho grey bottom cover piece would be paired with a pearl white top cover piece to produce the styling format "pearl white/litho grey".

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Lock lights

Image source: [ASK]

Aka/also known as: lock-light LEDs, status lights

Lock lights are a feature on PC-style keyboards that indicate whether a particular keyboard lock - num lock, caps lock or scroll lock - is active. Typically, it's positioned in the top-right corner of the keyboard.

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Lock-light LED overlay

Image source: [ASK]

A lock-light LED overlay is a sticker for keyboards with lock lights that indicates which light represents which keyboard lock and has transparent parts to allow the light to shine through controllably. The lights can be labelled by text or by symbols. These overlays have also been used to display branding.

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Lockable USB

Image source: [ASK]

Lockable USB (LUSB) is a series of Type-A USB sockets made by Amphenol. When a USB plug is inserted, the tab above the socket will provide mechanical security and must be pushed back before the plug can be released. The Unicomp Mini Model M notably uses a LUSB port.

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M

MANPOS

Image source: [ASK]

Aka/also known as: Modular ANPOS

Stands for Modular Alphanumeric Point of Sale, which specifically refers to the IBM Modular ANPOS II Keyboard and Toshiba Modular ANPOS Keyboard.

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MCANPOS

Image source: [ASK]

Aka/also known as: Modular CANPOS

Stands for Modular Compact Alphanumeric Point of Sale, which specifically refers to the IBM Modular CANPOS II Keyboard and Toshiba Modular CANPOS Keyboard.

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MPOS

Aka/also known as: Modular POS

Stands for Modular Point of Sale, which is a series of Model M extended family keyboards introduced in 2008. MPOS family keyboards were derived from the RPOS family and are thus close relatives to Model Ms. They remain in production for TGCS.

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Magnetic stripe reader

Image source: [ASK]

A magnetic stripe reader is a retail/point-of-sale device that can read coded information from a magnetic stripe. An example of such a stripe is the (usually black) line on the back of credit and debit cards. Magnetic stripe readers can be handheld or an attachment for a larger device such as a POS monitor or keyboard. Magnetic stripe readers may also be referred to as simply a "card reader" but note there are other types of card readers.

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Manager's keylock

Image source: [ASK]

Aka/also known as: operator keylock

A manager's keylock is a point-of-sale security feature used to access sensitive functionality on POS computers and terminals. This keylock is typically found on POS monitors or keyboards. For IBM and TGCS POS keyboards with such a key-lock, it typically has two positions; "system" (normal access) and "manager" or "operator" (privileged access). When the key is turned, the host keyboard can send a scancode to the host POS computer or terminal to indicate this change. The position of the key can also modify the scancodes the System keys ("S1" and "S2") return.

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Matrix

Aka/also known as: key-matrix, switch matrix

A matrix (also called a "key-matrix" to make the context clear) is a form of circuitry arrangement useful for negating the need for having separate circuits for each key on a keyboard. Key-matrices exist as a two-axis grid-like formation of traces where contact points of a key-switch are given at various intersections between the two axes known as columns and rows. For typical ohmic keyboards, keys can be registered on a key-matrix when its controller sequentially energises traces on one axis to see if electricity returns on the other. A key-matrix could be made of traces on a hard PCB or a membrane assembly.

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Mechanical keyboard

Aka/also known as: a "mech"

The phrase "mechanical keyboard" typically describes a high-end computer keyboard of some sort. The term lacks a universally agreed technical definition, but to most people, it means a keyboard that does not employ rubber dome over membrane key-switch design but also capable of part-way actuation.

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Membrane assembly

Image source: [ASK]

A membrane assembly is a form of layered circuitry primarily used as the sensor for key-switches that rely on ohmic sensing. It is comprised of plastic (such as Mylar/BoPET) sheets with electrical traces and predefined contact points screened onto them. Typically, an IBM and family keyboard membrane assembly will have three layers - a sense line circuit membrane on top, an insulator layer acting as a spacer, and a drive line circuit membrane on the bottom. The sense and drive circuits are the two axes of the keyboard's matrix, with sense being the matrix rows that electricity is fed through and the drive being the matrix columns that are monitored from returning electricity. On its own, a membrane assembly is incapable of providing any meaningful auditory and/or tactile feedback. Thus, a common and economical pairing for them are rubber dome actuators to provide a tactile response.

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Membrane blanket

Image source: [1]

Aka/also known as: rubber mat, rubber sheet

The membrane blanket (or simply blanket) is a possible sheet of usually rubbery material inside a keyboard assembly that dampens the stress key-switches' actuators (such as the pivot plates on buckling spring keyboards) can exert on the membrane assembly. They can be black, grey or white coloured. At least for Model M keyboards, they can operate without a blanket but a Unicomp employee has stated they cannot reach their rated key-press lifetime without one. Its presence or lack of and its exact material can affect key feel.

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Modelo M

Image source: [1]

"Modelo M" is Spanish for Model M. Model M keyboards produced by IBM Mexico notably had this written on their rear labels, thus "Modelo M" has been used colloquially to refer to such keyboards.

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N

N-key rollover

Describes a keyboard design that supports complete simultaneous pressing of all keys together without no dropped keystrokes. This feature is considered particularly desirable in gaming circles since it guarantees that the keyboard itself will not be a limit when using extensive key combinations.

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NANPOS

Aka/also known as: New ANPOS

Stands for New Alphanumeric Point of Sale, which was used to specifically refer to the IBM Model M9 Retail ANPOS Keyboard. The term was mainly used early in the M9's lifetime to contrast it with previous designs, but ultimately RANPOS became its most common and familiar shorthand name.

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Non-US backslash

Non-US backslash is a term used by QMK for the key that is immediately right to an ABNT2 or ISO keyboard's left shift key (ie, would be underneath the right side of an ANSI-style left shift key). Its name refers to what the key's unshifted function is on UK English keyboards (\). In QMK, the keycode for NUBS is KC_NONUS_BACKSLASH and KC_NUBS.

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Non-US hash

Non-US hash is a term used by QMK for the key that is immediately bottom-left to an ISO-style enter key (ie, would be underneath the left side of an ANSI-style enter key). Its name refers to what the key's unshifted function is on UK English keyboards (#). In QMK, the keycode for NUHS is KC_NONUS_HASH and KC_NUHS.

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Numeric keypad

Image source: [ASK]

Aka/also known as: numpad, 10-key

A numeric keypad is a bank of keys usually found on the right side of a full-size keyboard featuring keys for inputting numbers and basic operator symbols. Typically found in a 17-key implementation, you get keys for numbers 0 to 9, a decimal key, keys for four operators (/, *, - and double height +), a num lock toggle key, and an enter key. Variants with more keys exist too, with the 18-key variant that adds a backspace key at the expense of making one of the larger keys smaller being a common upgrade. Numeric keypads exist as either a part of a keyboard or as a separate device useful for laptop usage. When num lock is disengaged on PC-compatibles, the numbers and decimal keys become a navigation cluster represented by the secondary legends on the keycaps.

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Numeric shift

Aka/also known as: num shift, upper shift

Numeric shift was a key on IBM data entry (DE) terminal keyboards used to access numbers, operators and symbols that were printed at the top of a keycap's face (hence the alternate name "upper shift"). When present, the numeric shift took the place of the left shift key and was presented by an upright shift arrow symbol (as such, it shouldn't be confused with shift keys on typewriter-style terminal and PC keyboards).

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O

Ohmic sensing

Aka/also known as: conductive-contact sensing, contact-based sensing

Ohmic sensing is IBM's term for the simplest form of keyboard sensing and operates on the principle of registering keys when electricity sent through a circuit (such as a key-matrix) returns. This is a principle shared by most keyboards whether it is Alps SKCx/SKBx, Cherry MX, IBM membrane buckling springs or buckling sleeves, or rubber dome over membrane key-switches in question. As the aforementioned key-switches work by closing a circuit when two contacts are closed, this principle is more commonly referred to as contact-based or conductive-contact sensing. Keyboards that use ohmic sensing are known as contact-based keyboards or ohmic keyboards. It's believed that "ohmic" refers to Ohm's law as a whole (ie, operates on basic electric principles) rather than resistance or Ohms as a unit.

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Operator control panel

Image source: [1]

An operator control panel is a component found on some console keyboards that hosts buttons and lights for low-level CPU operations. OCPs were typically black and originated from the much larger control panels found on the front of IBM mainframe (System/360 and System/370) processing units. When IBM adopted CRT-based operator consoles, this panel became smaller and integrated on the top of various IBM keyboards (mostly from the Model B keyboard family). An OCP may have buttons for IML or IMPL (initial microcode/microprogram load), Lamp Test (to test the lights on the OCP or other I/O devices), Power On/Power Off, and various other host-specific features. Some may even have an emergency pull that when pulled will cut power to the host CPU and has to be mechanically reset.

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Optical TrackPoint

Image source: [ASK]

The Optical TrackPoint was an integrated pointing device introduced by Lenovo in 2011. It was designed as a low-profile alternative to traditional TrackPoint pointing sticks and was exclusively used with two Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet PC keyboards - Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet Keyboard Folio Case (0B33533) and Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 Bluetooth Keyboard with Stand (EBK-209A) - before being discontinued. As they were an optical sensor not unlike the sensors in typical desktop mice, the user must swipe the stick to move the mouse cursor. They are easily distinguished by the black circle in the middle of the usual red nub.

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Overnumpad

Image source: [ASK]

Aka/also known as: pressure-based controller

"Overnumpad" is a nickname for a style of controller card used by fourth-generation Model Ms that is pressure-fitted to the host keyboard's membrane assembly. Compared to older Model M controller cards that used Triomate sockets to accept membrane flex cables, "overnumpad" style controller cards are smaller, electrically simpler and typically have lock-light LEDs onboard instead of having them on a separate PCB.

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P

PAx key

Image source: [ASK]

Program access (PA) keys were typically found on IBM 3270-compatible terminal keyboards and as the name implies were used for calling a running program to communicate with it.

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PFxx key

Image source: [ASK]

Program Function (PF) keys were typically found on IBM 3270-style terminal keyboards and were designed as dedicated keys specific programs could change to suit their specific task(s). Outside of terminals, PF keys may be used to indicate what keys the user can remap or create macros for.

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POS

Stands for point of sale, the time and place where a retail transaction is completed. For when this occurs is a physical setting, the process is usually assisted by a POS system of some kind that may have its own specialised keyboard. POS keyboards can come in macropad-like or alphanumeric form and usually have job-specific features such as card readers and/or physical lock keys.

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Pad card

Image source: [1]

Aka/also known as: capsense PCB

A pad card is what IBM called a PCB with contacts to facilitate capacitance sensing. The name likely refers to the appearance of many pairs of rectangular pads of exposed copper under each key-switch actuator. Whilst pad cards may have controller/logic electronics on them, there's no specific requirement for one to also have logic - a pad card can have an edge connector for slotting a controller card onto it. IBM Model B and Model F keyboards both made use of pad cards.

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Part number

Aka/also known as: part no., manufacturing part number, shippable manufacturing unit (SMU) number

A part number is a code assigned to a specific part, product or entire system. For IBM and family keyboards, it's used to denote a single orderable unit typically distinguished by its combination of language and layout, intended host system or standalone sale and branding. The keyboard's internal assembly, specific components like its frame or controller card, its keycap set, its cable and its original packaging may also have their own part numbers. In the 1960s and prior, IBM part numbers were typically 6 numbers. From the 1970s onwards, IBM and family part numbers typically have 7 numeric-only or alphanumeric characters. More recently, 10 (Lenovo) and 11 (TGCS) character part numbers are now in use.

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Part-way actuation

Describes when a keyboard switch closes (and thus registers a key as being pressed) before the key bottoms out. This is considered a positive feature to have by many enthusiasts.

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Pearl (keycap)

Image source: [ASK]

"Pearl" in a keycap context was IBM's, Lexmark's, Unicomp's and TGCS' term for a chromatically-warm white colour. Pearl keycaps are typically paired with pebble keycaps as part of a two-tone set, with pearl keys usually being alphanumeric and the spacebar and pebble keys usually being arrows, enters, modifiers and operators. They are typically found on IBM and family pearl white keyboards.

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Pearl white

Image source: [ASK]

Aka/also known as: simply "pearl"

"Pearl white" is IBM's, Lexmark's and Unicomp's marketing name for an off-white colour used on many of their keyboards. It's usually colloquially described as "beige" but pearl white keyboards are typically lighter than true beige.

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Pebble (keycap)

Image source: [ASK]

"Pebble" in a keycap context was IBM's, Lexmark's, Unicomp's and TGCS' term for a chromatically-warm grey colour. Pebble keycaps are typically paired with pearl keycaps as part of a two-tone set, with pearl keys usually being alphanumeric and the spacebar and pebble keys usually being arrows, enters, modifiers and operators. They are typically found on IBM and family pearl white keyboards.

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Personal Systems

"Personal Systems" refers to a group of IBM PCs with similar branding, originating with the IBM Personal System/2 (PS/2) series in 1987. It ultimately also includes PS/1, PS/2 Note, PS/55, PS/55note, PS/note, and PS/ValuePoint. If something is said to be compatible with IBM "Personal Systems", it's likely compatible with most of these. Additionally, if a keyboard or mouse is said to be compatible with IBM "Personal Systems", it likely uses PS/2 connectivity. For example, some IBM Enhanced Keyboard variants' names may be suffixed with "PS Style" to indicate it uses PS/2 (6-pin Mini-DIN) plugs and to contrast it with "AT Style" keyboards with 5-pin DIN plugs.

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Pivot plate

Image source: [ASK]

Aka/also known as: flipper, hammer, rocker

A pivot plate is a component of buckling spring key-switches that is moved when the namesake spring is pushed and buckles. It takes the form of a (mostly) plastic piece that has a knob for attaching a coil spring. At rest, the pivot plate should be lifted from the sensor underneath to not create a circuit. When pressured by a buckled spring, it will make a circuit - for Model F keyboards, its material is carbon infused and an increase in capacitance is measured by a pad card; for Model M keyboards, it will physically bridge contacts on a membrane assembly by applying pressure to it.

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Pointing stick

Image source: [ASK]

Aka/also known as: nub

A pointing stick is an integrated pointing device near or within a keyboard assembly intended as an alternative or supplement to a trackball or trackpad. Typically, they're isometric (stationary) but some may act as a small joystick. When located within a keyboard, they're typically placed in between the "G", "H" and "B" keys - a location chosen for quick and ergonomic access as per IBM. Other advantages to pointing sticks include their inherent compactness, their resistance to dirt, and sweat, and their operability when wearing gloves. Their main drawback is that they can get in the way of typing depending on the user's typing style. The most famous pointing stick is the IBM/Lenovo TrackPoint series.

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Polybutylene terephthalate

PBT is a plastic commonly used as a keycap material, amongst other things. Along with ABS, PBT is one of two main keycap materials and is known for being the higher quality material out of the two. PBT is more rigid and stays textured for longer than ABS, but is also more expensive and harder to mould. PBT also does not yellow when exposed to UV for a sustained period of time. PBT is famous for being the material IBM Model F and Model M buckling springs keycaps are made from.

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Polycarbonate

Polycarbonate is a plastic that was used as a possible case material. PC is often mixed with ABS to make PC+ABS.

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Polyvinyl chloride

PVC is a plastic that was used as a possible case material. It was extensively used with various Model M variants until the 2000s. Recently, the EU has moved towards restrictions on PVC due the effects of polluting it.

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Precision

Image source: [ASK]

Aka/also known as: 6-row ThinkPad keyboard

"Precision Keyboard" was Lenovo's marketing name for an island-style ThinkPad keyboard design introduced in the early 2010s as a more compact replacement for the classic ThinkPad style keyboard. They are based on the Lenovo AccuType Keyboard. Like AccuType, Precision Keyboards typically have 80 to 90 keys but can be larger with a numeric keypad, and most 1-unit or larger keycaps have a curved bottom edge. In recent years, the curve has been removed for keys that are not alphabetic or numeric. Being intended for ThinkPads, Precision Keyboards typically also have a TrackPoint pointing stick embedded in them.

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Q

Quiet Touch

Image source: [ASK]

Quiet Touch is an IBM, Lexmark and Unicomp marketing term for a rubber dome over membrane key-switch used to contrast it with "Classic Touch" key-switches such as buckling springs (any implementation). As such, the term was typically used only when the host keyboard had a choice of key-switch or the host keyboard directly placed a keyboard with a louder key-switch. The term was typically referring to their own 'simple' rubber dome implementations, but it was sometimes used to refer to IBM buckling sleeves and Micro Switch ST series key-switches.

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R

RANPOS

Aka/also known as: Retail ANPOS

Stands for Retail Alphanumeric Point of Sale, which specifically refers to the IBM Model M9 Retail ANPOS Keyboard.

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RPOS

Aka/also known as: Retail POS

Stands for Retail Point of Sale, which was a series of Model M keyboards introduced in 1993 for the IBM 4690 family of POS terminals. RPOS keyboards were designated Model M7 through M11 and were produced for IBM and later TGCS until approximately 2015.

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RPQ

Stands for "Request Price Quotation". For IBM, if a product (such as a keyboard) was said to be an "RPQ" model, it means it's likely had some customisations applied from the factory but wasn't considered an entirely new product. Thus, RPQ products didn't receive a new name or designation nor were they normally marketed with these modifications.

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Raven black

Image source: [ASK]

"Raven black" is IBM's, Unicomp's and TGCS' marketing name for a black colour used on many of their keyboards. It's usually a "true black" colour and contrasts other possible black IBM keyboards that may have a slight blue tint to them.

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Rear label

Image source: [ASK]

Aka/also known as: birth certificate

A keyboard's rear label is a sticker typically placed on the bottom of a keyboard that details some basic facts about the keyboard. Typical fields on such a label can include the keyboard's part and/or model number, FRU number, date of manufacture, country of manufacture, OEM and/or factory, copyright date and any applicable regulatory information. The typical inclusion of a manufacture date has led to these stickers colloquially being referred to as the keyboard's "birth certificate". Additionally, keyboards may have multiple such rear labels - typical for IBM and Lexmark era Model F and Model M keyboards is having an "outer rear label" on the bottom of the cover set and an "inner rear label" on the bottom of the contained keyboard assembly.

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Riser feet

Image source: [ASK]

Aka/also known as: simply "risers"

A riser was IBM's term for a specific kind of flip-out foot that was particularly long and thin and typically deployed by turning something or pushing a button on either side of the keyboard. Such feet were common on various Model F keyboards and early (Type 1) 122-key Model M Converged Keyboards. For terminal keyboards, it was also common for the feet two have 2 or 3 settings (levels of typing angle adjustment).

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S

SIO

Stands for "serial input/output", a term commonly used by IBM in a retail context meaning asynchronous serial devices such as displays and keyboards.

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Scancode

Aka/also known as: scan code, usage code

A scancode is a code that reports a pressed key. They are national/regional language agnostic and simply represent the position of the pressed key (whether it is a literal key-matrix position or an abstract but unique position) and have no specific function tied to them. It's up to the host computer's firmware, operating system and the user's input/language settings to determine what they represent. For IBM's three major scancode sets and the various terminal-specific scancode sets before them, scancodes were typically represented as hexadecimal codes either singularly or a pair of codes to represent the distinct make (key-down) and break (key-up) events. The equivalent to scancodes for USB HID are usage codes.

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Shielded data link

Image source: [1]

A type of electric connector designed by AMP resembling a flattened modular 8P8C (ethernet/RJ-45) connector. In keyboard circles, SDL connectors are known for being the modular connection type IBM used for many Model M keyboard variants in 6-pin (buckling spring) and 8-pin (POS) forms.

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Silver square

Image source: [ASK]

Refers to a style of IBM logo found on their business and personal computers and keyboards, especially from the early to mid-1980s. Typically, these came in the form of a solid silver square with a black IBM logo aligned at the top and optionally followed with additional text stating the computer or keyboard's host name or model number.

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Small form-factor

"SFF" describes keyboards that are at least smaller than a full-size keyboard such as the 60% and tenkeyless form-factors.

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Soft Touch

Image source: [1]

Soft Touch was an IBM marketing term for a keyboard that sported buckling spring key-switches that were greased from the factory to make the keyboard quieter than normal. The grease mitigated the spring's ping. It should not be confused with Quiet Touch (rubber dome). The only known Soft Touch keyboard is the Lexmark-made IBM Enhanced Keyboard with Soft Touch (P/N 8184692).

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Storm grey

Image source: [ASK]

"Storm grey" is IBM's and TGCS' marketing name for a light grey colour typically found on the bottom of their POS keyboards. Typically, a storm grey bottom cover piece would be paired with a pearl white top cover piece to produce the styling format "pearl white/storm grey".

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Strain gauge

Aka/also known as: strain gage

A strain gauge is a type of device used in force measurement whose electrical resistance changes when force (ie, strain) is applied to it and deforms a foil inside itself. These changes in resistance can be measured and translated into a force measurement. Standard IBM and Lenovo TrackPoint pointing sticks use several strain gauges mounted on the base of a tall, square stick to register the user's intent for cursor movement.

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Styrene-acrylonitrile

SAN is a plastic that was used as a possible keycap material for IBM Model B keyboards.

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T

Tenkeyless

Image source: [ASK]

Describes a small form-factor keyboard that is similar to a full-sized (101 to 105 key) keyboard but omits a dedicated numeric keypad. This is usually done for reducing the overall footprint of the keyboard without sacrificing function or navigation keys, although it has become popular in gaming circles since it allows the user to bring the keyboard and mouse closer together. In specific, "tenkey" refers to the number 0 to 9 keys. The Model M-based 1987 IBM Space Saving Keyboards (SSK) is perhaps the most well known and first popular example of a tenkeyless keyboard.

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Terminal keyboard

Aka/also known as: mainframe keyboard, midrange keyboard

Terminal keyboards are those specifically designed for a computer terminal, a device that is used for entering data into and operating a larger host computer system such as a mainframe. Beyond the core alphabetic keys, terminal keyboards can differ significantly from PC-style keyboards and between each other as there were many types of host computers and many used specific families of terminals (such as IBM 3270 and 5250) that could differ in functionality. Data entry, data typewriter and console keyboards are examples of specific kinds of terminal keyboards. Terminal keyboards typically cannot be easily used with a modern PC.

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TouchStyk

Image source: [ASK]

The TouchStyk is a force-sensing capacitor pointing stick introduced by Synaptics as a competing product to IBM's TrackPoint. It was invented by 2001. It's famously used for HP laptops with pointing sticks and even by IBM and Lenovo for their SK-8835/SK-884x family of keyboards. It's also possible some modern Lenovo ThinkPad keyboard assemblies also employ TouchStyks instead of TrackPoint as implied by Synaptics' advertising.

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TrackPoint

Image source: [ASK]

The TrackPoint is a family of strain gauge pointing sticks introduced by IBM in 1992 with the IBM ThinkPad 700 series. TrackPoint II was the first implementation in the traditional stick format, with the original TrackPoint being an unrelated convertible trackball/ball mouse for the IBM PS/2 L40SX laptop from 1991. TrackPoint is considered a staple feature of ThinkPad laptops and keyboard products. TrackPoint II was followed by III in 1994 which added a negative inertia firmware feature to improve cursor reaction speed, and IV in 1997 which allowed for a possible third mouse button and press-to-select feature. Lenovo has continued using TrackPoint IV since purchasing IBM Personal Computing Division in 2005 and has introduced increasingly lower-profile versions of it. TrackPoints iconically uses a red protective/grip cover as its cap.

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Triomate

Image source: [ASK]

Aka/also known as: TRIO-MATE

Triomate is a family of 2.54mm (0.1") pitch flexible flat cable sockets currently made by TE Connectivity. They have been used as membrane flex cable sockets for many Model M family keyboard variants. They could also be used for cables running between a controller card and a lock-light LED daughterboard.

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Tsangan bottom row

Image source: [ASK]

Aka/also known as: "Unicomp 103" style

A keyboard with a "Tsangan" bottom row has 1.5-unit sized Ctrl and Alt keys separated by 1-unit GUI keys and a 7-unit spacebar. It's based on the Enhanced layout bottom row but with the spaces filled in. Unicomp refers to this bottom row as "103" style (which refers to a 101-key US English ANSI layout keyboard with the two extra GUI keys). It's not to be confused with the Tsangan layout in general, which has this bottom row but also has other traits that diverge from Enhanced's ANSI and ISO layouts. They're named after a geekhack community member who liked this style of bottom row and had several modifier keycap adapter kits named after them.

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Two-key rollover

Describes a keyboard design that only guarantees a minimum of two simultaneous pressed keys together without dropped keystrokes. In practice, many keyboards that are limited to two-key rollover will, in fact, handle more key combinations in use, but there will be some instances of this limit on the keyboard.

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Typematic

Aka/also known as: typamatic

If a keyboard is said to be typematic, it's capable of repeating a key at the keyboard's controller level for the duration a user holds down a given key. Effectively all modern PC keyboards are typematic, thus this capability is no longer apart of keyboard/computer advertising. But for older keyboards such as those for terminals, not all were typematic and the ones that were may have a selective layout where only specific keys were typematic.

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U

UltraNav

Image source: [ASK]

UltraNav is an IBM and Lenovo marketing term for the pairing of a pointing stick and a programmable/configurable trackpad on a ThinkPad laptop or discrete keyboard. Typically, an UltraNav will consist of a TrackPoint and a trackpad produced by Alps, ELAN or Synaptics, but for some keyboards such as the IBM/Lenovo SK-8835/SK-884x family, a TouchStyk is used in place of a TrackPoint. Typically, IBM and Lenovo laptops with an UltraNav get two sets of mouse buttons (one below the spacebar for the pointing stick and one below or integrated into the bottom corners of the trackpad).

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Unsaver

Image source: [1]

"Unsaver" describes a tenkeyless keyboard similar to "battleship" and "battlecruiser" that omits an integrated numeric keypad but retains a 10-key block and two rows of program-function keys to the left and on top of the alphanumeric keys respectively. The term is almost exclusively used to describe the Model F based 104-key keyboard for IBM 3290 and 5080, the original IBM Converged Keyboard design.

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W

Winkeyless

Image source: [ASK]

A winkeyless keyboard is any keyboard that lacks Windows (aka, GUI or Super) and context menu keys. However, a winkeyless keyboard typically takes the form of a keyboard's bottom row with unused 1-unit spaces between the Ctrl and Alt keys. The term has only existed since after the Windows key's widespread adoption following Windows 95, but many older keyboards have been retroactively referred to as "winkeyless keyboards". The 101-key and 102-key Enhanced layouts are perhaps the most famous example of a standard winkeyless design despite predating Windows keys.

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X

XT

"XT" can refer to multiple things associated with the IBM 5150 Personal Computer, the namesake 5160 Personal Computer XT, their derivatives and third-party clones.

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XT layout

Image source: [ASK]

The XT layout refers to the key arrangement of Model F-based IBM 5150/5160 Personal Computer Keyboard from 1981 that was once a de facto standard for PC keyboards in the early 1980s. The XT layout was derived from the IBM 5250 typewriter layout originally used on the IBM 525X-83 type Model B. Early PC clones such as 1983's Compaq Portable adopted the layout, propelling it as a standard for a short period of time. XT is specifically known for its high number of stepped keycaps, vertical but thin enter key, and no separation between the alphanumeric and numeric keypad sections. The "XT" name is derived from the IBM 5160 Personal Computer XT to retrospectively distinguish it from the AT layout.

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Further reading & resources

Sources

ASK. Admiral Shark's Keyboards original content. License/note: CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.

  1. Lenovo - Parts - Yoga Book 9 13IRU8 - Type 82YQ [accessed 2023-11-07]. License/note: photos used under fair dealing.
  2. themk - donated photo. License/note: CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.
  3. webwit - Index of /input/ibm_misc [accessed 2023-01-06]. License/note: public domain.
  4. email donations - donated photo.
  5. D. Fischer - File:IBM-3279.jpg [accessed 2022-12-14]. License/note: CC BY-SA 3.0.
  6. Joe/Ellipse @ modelfkeyboards.com - 500+ photos of my IBM Keyboards [accessed 2022-05-02]. License/note: permission requested and explicitly given via direct correspondence.
  7. WorthPoint - IBM 122 Key Host Connect Keyboard [accessed 2024-01-23]. License/note: photos saved from WorthPoint, used under fair dealing.
  8. doomsday_device - donated photos.
  9. tamsin - donated photos.
  10. Brandon @ clickykeyboards.com - photo used with attribution [accessed 2024-04-21]. License/note: https://deskthority.net/wiki/Help:Contents#Copyright.
  11. eBay - photos saved from past listings & used under fair dealing.
  12. photekq - permission to use photos requested and given via Discord.
  13. snuci - File:IBM PC Model F Type 1 - capacitive PCB.JPG [accessed 2022-11-05]. License/note: public domain.
  14. IBM - ftp://public.dhe.ibm.com [accessed 2022-06-29]. License/note: archived from IBM public FTP & used under fair dealing.