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As the name implies, a keyboard is basically a board of keys. Along with the mouse, the keyboard is one of the primary input devices used with a computer. The keyboard's design comes from the original typewriter keyboards, which arranged letters and numbers in a way that prevented the type-bars from getting jammed when typing quickly. This keyboard layout is known as the QWERTY design, which gets its name from the first six letters across in the upper-left-hand corner of the keyboard.

While the design of computer keyboards may have come from typewriters, today's keyboards have many other keys as well. Modifier keys, such as Control, Alt/Option, and Command (Mac) or the Windows key (Windows) can be used in conjunction with other keys as "shortcuts" to perform certain operations. For example, pressing Command-S (Mac), or Control-S (Windows) typically saves a document or project you are working on. Most of today's computer keyboards also have a row of function keys (F1 through F16) along the top of the keyboard, arrow keys arranged in an upside-down T, and a numeric keypad on the right-hand side. Some keyboards have even more buttons, allowing you to change the system volume, eject a CD, or open programs such as your e-mail or Web browser.

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