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Keyboards - Full size, TKL, or other?

_garybell profile image Gary Bell ・1 min read

Following the discussion about keyboards and does backlighting matter I'm wondering whether there's a preference for a Full size keyboard, a TKL (no number pad) or something smaller?

Personally, I find myself drawn always to a full-size keyboard. Mainly because I use 2FA a lot (so lots of numbers to enter to log in), plus I have spreadsheets to maintain and use the calculator a lot.

None of those tasks are impossible with a TKL or smaller keyboard, but I'd have to get used to using the top row of numbers, rather than the side. It can be overcome with training.


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ericgeek profile image

I switched from full size to TKL a few years back because my right shoulder started bothering me when I used the mouse very much because the numeric keypad pushed the mousepad too far to the right. Yes, getting old sucks.

I honestly don't miss the numeric keypad except for certain games and programs, and that's so rare that I've mostly forgotten that it was ever an issue.

On the other hand, I've been touch typing since before IBM came out with their PC, so I don't have problems using the top row numbers.

I did try a 65% keyboard, and found the hoops required for home/end/PgUp/PgDn to be a bit of a pain and the unusual positioning of the cursor keys really threw me off on more games than the lack of a numeric keypad did.

_garybell profile image
Gary Bell Author

I've rules out a 65% keyboard. I can get away with TKL I think, as that's what my laptop has. Arguably my laptop is closer to a 65% than true TKL, but I wouldn't want to use it all day, every day as a sole keyboard.

The arrows in the right place is more important to me than saving space. I use them more often than the number pad. Having to hunt for them would be a nightmare.

mattjperez profile image
Matthew Perez

I recently switched from a full-size to a 65%. I don't do much spreadsheet work anymore and I am trying to get better at vim, so I figured it tackled two problems at once

  1. Reclaim some desk space
  2. Help me get used to only using the top number keys cuz they also hold the special characters.

It might not seem like a huge difference in space, but a surprising benefit I found is that I have less discomfort in my mouse-side elbow since the lateral range of motion isn't as wide as before.

My biggest challenge with it so far is getting used to using the function key for backticks (as it shares the same button as tilde, 1, and ! . My fkeys are also coupled with the top number row.