If you’ve ever picked a keyboard carefully, you’ve probably noticed that even keyboards of the same size have differences in key layout. In fact, there are actually two physical layout standards for keyboard layouts, one is based on the ANSI (American National Standards Institute) physical keyboard layout, and the other is based on the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) physical keyboard layout. So, what are the differences between the two layouts? What are their pros and cons? The differences and advantages and disadvantages of them will be introduced in detail below, which will also be more beneficial to your choice of keyboard layout.

ANSI vs ISO Layout

ANSI vs ISO Keyboards Which one is Better For You

5 Differences Between ANSI and ISO Keyboards

DifferenceANSIISO
Enter keylong rectangle, occupying one lineInverted L-shaped, occupying 2 rows
 \keyJust above the Enter key, slightly larger than the ctrl keyLeft side of the enter key, much smaller than the ctrl key
Left Shift key> Ctrl keyis split into 2 keys, < Ctrl key
Right Alt keyThe Alt keys on both sides of the space are the sameThe right Alt key is replaced with a Alt Gr key.
Number of KeysRegular 87 keys and 104 keysRegular 88 keys and 105 keys

In the ANSI and ISO layout keyboards, there are a total of 5 differences. The 4 keys have differences in position and shape, involving the Enter key, the left Shift key, the backslash key, and the right Alt key. The other point is the number of keys. different.

    1. Enter key

In ANSI layout, the Enter key is a long, narrow rectangle that occupies only one row of the keyboard, at the end of the fourth row of the keyboard.
In the ISO layout, the Enter key appears larger, a truncated bar that occupies 2 lines, at the end of the third and fourth lines.

    2. Backslash (\) key

In the ANSI layout, the backslash key is located just above the enter key and is slightly larger than the ctrl key.
In the ISO layout, the backslash key is located to the left of the enter key, much smaller than the ctrl key, and the same as the alphanumeric keys.

    3. The right ALT key is different

In ANSI layout, the Alt keys on both sides of the space are identical.
In the ISO layout, the Alt key on the right is printed as Alt Gr, which helps users quickly access characters with more than 2 diacritics. But now many keyboards are also changed to Alt to achieve the same printing of left and right Alt.

ISO Keyboard

    4. The left shift key is different

In ANSI layout, the left shitf key is larger than the Ctrl key.
In the ISO layout, the left shitf key is smaller than the Ctrl key. But most keyboards now also change it to be larger than the Ctrl key, the same as the ANSI layout.

    5. The number of buttons is different

In the ANSI layout, the 80% compact keyboard has 87 keys and the 100% full-size keyboard has 104 keys.
In the ISO layout, the 80% compact keyboard has 88 keys and the 100% full-size keyboard has 105 keys. But since most ISO keyboards make the shift key larger, the ISO layout has the same 87 keys and 104 keys as the ANSI layout in both sizes.

Therefore, the current ANSI layout keyboard and the ISO layout keyboard have changed from 5 differences at the beginning to 2 differences, minus the difference of the right ALT key, the left shift key and the number of keys, only the Enter key and the reverse key are left. The slash (\) key is different.

Advantages of the ISO layout

    1. Alt Gr key

The Alt Gr key helps you quickly access characters with more than 2 diacritics, which will save you some typing time. Therefore, ISO layout keyboards are more popular in regions such as Europe.

    2. The closer backslash key

The backslash key is closer to our pinky thumb in the ISO layout, so it’s easier to reach. The backslash key will be used more often in programming, so for many programmers it will be more beneficial to them.

Disadvantages of ISO Layout

    1. The Enter key is far away

In the ISO layout, although the Enter key seems to take up more space, in fact, our hands are habitually placed on the fourth row when typing, and the Enter key in the fourth row is farther from our pinky and It is smaller, so when we press it with our pinky finger, we need to move farther, and often users will press the backslash key on the left because they can’t move far enough. The Enter key is a button we often use, whether it is to send a message file, or to wrap a line in document editing, we all need to use it. Therefore, according to the above two points, it will bring a lot of inconvenience.

    2.Left Shift key farther

In the ISO layout, the previous left shift key is divided into 2 keys, so it is also smaller, only half the size of the ANSI layout shift key, we will need to move the hand a larger distance to use it, And it is easy to touch the extra button on the right side by mistake, which will also bring a bad experience to use.

Tips: Some ISO layouts have the shift key merged with the key to the right of it, the same as the ANSI layout, so this disadvantage will no longer exist.

Which is better ANSI or ISO layout keyboard?

From the above we can see that there are pros and cons to an ISO layout keyboard, but in terms of ergonomics, an ANSI keyboard layout will be more practical. That is to say, ANSI keyboards are more convenient for most people to use. Therefore, ASNI keyboards are also more popular on the market and occupy a larger market.
But for Europe and some other regions, the Alr Gr key of the ISO layout keyboard can bring convenience to their character input, so many people prefer the ISO layout keyboard.

Should I choose an ANSI or ISO layout keyboard?

If you need to frequently access characters with more than 2 diacritics, an ISO layout keyboard will save you a lot of time. If you are an ordinary gamer, then the ANSI layout keyboard will be more suitable for you, because they are more ergonomic and more in line with the user’s usage habits.

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FAQ

Is ISO better than ANSI?

For more users, the use of the ANSI layout keyboard will be more in line with the usage habits. The ISO layout keyboard is much less ergonomic than the ANSI layout keyboard, but provides quick access to characters with more than 2 diacritics.

Is ANSI or ISO standard?

Both ANSI and ISO are standard keyboard layouts, ANSI stands for American National Standards Institute and ISO stands for International Organization for Standardization. It’s just that ANSI layout keyboards are more popular and more ergonomic.

Is ANSI or ISO better for gaming?

For playing games, an ANSI layout keyboard would be better as it is more ergonomic. The advantage of an ISO layout keyboard is quick access to characters with more than 2 diacritics.

Are most keyboards ANSI?

Yes, most keyboards on the market currently use the ANSI layout, because the ANSI keyboard layout is more in line with the usage habits of most people. If you’re not sure why, check out the above: Pros and Cons of ISO Layouts.

Is Apple Mac keyboard ISO or ANSI?

As far as the MacBooks released on the market are concerned, the Mac keyboard usually adopts the ANSI layout. But Apple computers recognize three keyboard types: ANSI, JIS (Japan), and ISO (Europe).

 

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