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Jan's Computer Basics:

Input: Intro

Everything we tell the computer is Input. Input is part of the machine processing cycle:



Circle of 4 arrows


Types of Input

Data means the raw facts given to the computer.

Programs are the sets of instructions that direct the computer.

Commands are special codes or key words that the user inputs to perform a task, like RUN "ACCOUNTS". These can be selected from a menu of commands like "Open" on the File menu. They may also be chosen by clicking on a command button.

User response is the user's answer to the computer's question, such as choosing OK, YES, or NO or by typing in text, for example the name of a file.


The first input device we will look at is the keyboard. The image used on the next page to illustrate the various keys may not look like the keyboard you are using. Several variations are popular and special designs are used in some companies.

Laptops have fewer keys on their keyboards.
Tablets and smart phones have onscreen keys.
Keyboards for different languages or different operating systems have different special keys!
Gaming keyboards may have programmable keys for special tasks in a game.

Black keyboard

Standard keyboard layout plus three special keys above the arrows

Keyboard with extra control keys

Keyboard with keys for controlling the computer

Copyright: 123RF Stock Photo 

Onscreen keyboard on iPhone6Onscreen keyboard for iPhone6:

Microsoft Natural Keyboard
Microsoft Natural keyboard

Ergonomic keyboards even have a different shape, curved to fit the natural fall of the wrists.

Images of Apple keyboardsIcon: Off site in different languages

Common differences:

It's enough to confuse a person's fingers!