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What are Tenkeyless keyboards (TKL, 87%, 80%)? And what are their advantages & disadvantages

Definition Of Tenkeyless Keyboard (TKL)

Take 100% keyboard, cut the numpad part, and you simply get a Tenkeyless keyboard. Tenkey is another name for the numpad, thus the name Tenkeyless. It’s One of the simplest keyboard form factors to explain ☇

Here are 100% & Tenkeyless keyboards side by side:-

Since only the numpad part is left out. Tenkeyless keyboards have all the other keys, like a dedicated navigation cluster, all the F-keys & other buttons like Print Screen button. Because of their layout, they can be more convenient to use than a laptop keyboard. There’s no learning curve to using one, as all the buttons are in their standard locations.

Other names for Tenkey keyboards are TKL, 87% & 80%. I will alternate between the names Tenkey & TKL in this article.

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Advantages Of Tenkeyless Keyboards

TKL Keyboards save desk space for those who don’t want the numpad. That space will make it easier to move the mouse, or to having something else there, like a graphics tablet (It’s common for artists to place their keyboard beside the graphics tablet while drawing).

Besides saving desk space, the smaller the keyboard, the shorter the distance to reach for the mouse while typing. That’s more convenient & can possibly makes you slightly more productive.

If I am to add one last thing, TKL keyboards also look good.

Disadvantages Of Tenkeyless Keyboards

If you use the numpad, then you probably shouldn’t get a TKL. One solution around that is to get a Tenkeyless keyboard, and buy the numpad separately. That way, you get the best of both worlds. You can have the numpad only when you actually need it. You can place it on the side of your desk, away from the keyboard, with the mouse between the two. I gave a similar advice to this few times when I talked about other smaller keyboards, like 40%.

Another solution is to get a programmable TKL keyboard, and to reprogram some keys combinations to act like the numpad (FN + H to press the 1 Numpad key). That’s a good solution if you only use the numpad occasionally.

And Finally

Part of the benefit & enjoyment of smaller keyboard form factors is knowing what exactly you want from your keyboards, and what keys you can sacrifice without issues. Since most people don’t really use the numpad, TKL keyboards can be a safe choice for many.

If you liked TKL keyboards, then there’s a chance the smaller keyboard form factors ☇ will be to your liking. Depending whether you’re fine with sacrificing more keys for more desk space or want to reach the mouse with less movement. Experimenting with more keyboards can help you to know that. I hope my keyboards articles ☇ are also helping you with that.

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