Numeric keypad

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Numeric keypad

A numeric keypad, number pad, numpad, or ten key,[1][2][3] is the palm-sized, 17-key section of a standard computer keyboard, usually on the far right. It provides calculator-style efficiency for entering numbers. The idea of a 10-key number pad cluster was originally introduced by Tadao Kashio, the developer of Casio electronic calculators.

The numpad's keys are digits 0 to 9, + (addition), - (subtraction), * (multiplication) and / (division) symbols, . (decimal point), Num Lock, and Enter keys.[4] Laptop keyboards often do not have a numpad, but may provide numpad input by holding a modifier key (typically labelled Fn) and operating keys on the standard keyboard. Particularly large laptops (typically those with a 15.6 inch screen or larger) may have space for a real numpad, and many companies sell separate numpads which connect to the host laptop by a USB connection (many of these also add an additional spacebar off to the side of the zero where the thumb is located, as well as an additional 00 key typical of modern adding machines and cash registers).

Numeric keypads usually operate in two modes. When Num Lock is off, keys 8, 6, 2, and 4 act like arrow/navigation keys up, right, down, and left; and 7, 9, 3, and 1 act like Home, PgUp, PgDn, and End, respectively. When Num Lock is on, digit keys produce the corresponding digit. On Apple Macintosh computers, which lack a Num Lock key, the numeric keypad always produces only numbers; the Num Lock key is replaced by the Clear key.

The arrangement of digits on numeric keypads with the 7-8-9 keys two rows above the 1-2-3 keys is derived from calculators and cash registers. It is notably different from the layout of telephone Touch-Tone keypads which have the 1-2-3 keys on top and 7-8-9 keys on the third row.

Numeric keypads are useful for entering long sequences of numbers quickly, for example in spreadsheets, financial/accounting programs, and calculators. Input in this style is similar to a calculator or adding machine.

A numpad is also useful on Windows PCs for typing alt codes for special symbols, for example the degree symbol, °, with Alt+0176).

Measuring speed[edit]

Ten key speed is measured in Keystrokes per Hour (KPH). The minimum required speed for many data entry jobs is around 9000 KPH with good accuracy. A speed of 12,000 is considered excellent.[citation needed]

Chinese input methods[edit]

The numeric keypad is used by some systems for input of Chinese characters, for example CKC Chinese Input System and Q9 input method.

Computer games[edit]

A 104-key PC US English QWERTY keyboard layout with the numeric keypad at the far right.

Numeric keypads are also used for playing some computer games where the player must control a character, for example roguelikes. Unlike arrow keys, the numeric keypad allows diagonal movement. For keyboards without a numeric keypad, some games provide alternative movement keys, such as classic Rogue's HJKL keys.

The numeric keypad can also be an alternative to the WASD keys for navigation in computer gaming. This can be an attractive option for left-handed people who prefer to use the mouse with their left hand.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "What Is a Ten Key? (with pictures)". WiseGeek. Retrieved 8 January 2014.
  2. ^ Pasewark, William Robert; Knowlton, Todd (1995-01-01). Ten-Key Skill Builder for Computers. South-Western Educational Pub. ISBN 9780538629195.
  3. ^ Stroman, James; Wilson, Kevin; Wauson, Jennifer (2011-09-01). Administrative Assistant's and Secretary's Handbook. AMACOM Div American Mgmt Assn. p. 224. ISBN 9780814417607.
  4. ^ numeric keypad at FOLDOC