Data Entry Keyboard Functions
By Lou Martin
, last updated March 13, 2012
A data entry keyboard differs from the traditional QWERTY keyboard. It plays an important role in the data entry process, serving as the literal contact point between human and computer. The functions of the keyboard serve as the mode through which you enter all forms of data into a computer’s memory banks. While the data entry keyboard’s keys represent obvious bits of information, you can also use the keys in combination as shortcuts to make data entry more efficient.
Data Entry Keyboard
Data entry keyboards have fewer keys than a traditional QWERTY keyboard, and only produces capital versions of each letter. The alphabetic keys are situated in the same fashion as a QWERTY keyboard’s keys, but, unlike a traditional keyboard, assign a distinct and different secondary character to each alphabetic key. Instead of sitting in a row of their own at the top of the keyboard, a data entry keyboard’s numeric keys sit on the right side of the alphabetic key portion of the keyboard.
A data entry keyboard only lets you enter letters in uppercase form, the lowercase option is replaced with secondary characters. To enter secondary characters into the computer, the keyboard must be in upper shift mode. These secondary characters include numeric keys as well as symbols and common punctuation marks.
If you are entering data that is only comprised of letters, you can set a data entry keyboard to alphabetic mode, which makes the keyboard enter only the lower symbols on the various keys. This is similar to activating a QWERTY keyboard’s “Caps Lock” key. You can also set a data entry keyboard to numeric mode, setting the keyboard to produce only the upper characters contained on each key. You activate these modes by pressing the “Alpha” or “Num” keys located on both sides of the lower alphabet key row.
Special Function Keys
A data entry keyboard features keys that perform functions very different from those used for letters, numbers and punctuation marks. These keys have a variety of purposes, including indenting, line breaking, tabbing, exiting a field and duplicating. These special function keys are distinguished from the other keys by their color, which is typically gray. If your data entry keyboard doesn’t have a two-tone color format, the special function keys are located at the far left and right sides of the keyboard.