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ANSI vs ISO Keyboard Layout: Which One is Superior?

ANSI vs ISO Keyboard Layout Which One is Superior

A keyboard is an essential tool for anyone who uses a computer. Not all keyboards are the same and there exist various keyboard designs to choose from. It becomes more important to know the layout when you are using the keyboard on daily use, either for working, gaming or for any other purpose.

There are various keyboard layouts available in the market, but the two most common ones are ANSI and ISO. Selecting the appropriate keyboard can have a notable impact on your typing experience. However, users often find it challenging to choose the better one among them.

Right here, we are going to take a closer look at the differences between the ANSI and ISO keyboard layouts and help you determine which one is superior for your needs.

But before we delve into the details of the two keyboard layouts, it is essential to understand their background. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and International Organization for Standardization (ISO) developed the ANSI and ISO keyboard layouts, respectively.

ANSI Keyboard Layout

The ANSI keyboard layout is a prevalent standard keyboard layout utilized in numerous regions of Asia, as well as the United States and Canada. The ANSI keyboard layout features 104 keys, including the standard QWERTY layout for letters, a numeric keypad, and various function keys. The keys are arranged in a standard grid pattern, with the Enter key, backspace key, and shift keys in the usual locations.

The ANSI keyboard layout’s familiarity is among its significant benefits. The layout has been in use for many years and is the most widely recognized keyboard layout in the world. This makes it an excellent choice for people who are used to typing on this layout and do not want to switch to a different one.

ISO Keyboard Layout

The ISO keyboard layout is a standard keyboard layout that is commonly used in Europe, and in many other parts of the world. This layout has a total of 105 keys and includes a smaller left-hand Shift key and a double-row Enter key. The ISO layout also has a backslash key located to the left of the Z key, which is often criticized for its impracticality.

The primary characteristic of the ISO keyboard layout is its capability to accommodate non-English languages. The layout includes additional keys and symbols that are necessary for typing in languages other than English, such as accented characters and special symbols.

ANSI vs ISO Keyboard Layout

The ANSI and ISO keyboard layouts have several differences that set them apart from each other. These differences include:

  1. Key Layout: The main difference between the ANSI and ISO keyboard layouts is the arrangement of the keys. While both layouts feature the standard QWERTY layout for letters and a numeric keypad, the keys are arranged slightly differently. For example, the enter key on the ANSI keyboard layout is a single-row key, while the enter key on the ISO keyboard layout is a double-row key.
  2. Key Count: The ANSI keyboard layout has 104 keys, while the ISO keyboard layout has 105 keys. The ISO layout includes an additional key for the backslash symbol, as well as a dedicated key for the Euro symbol.
  3. Left Shift Key: The left and right shift keys on an ANSI keyboard are identical in size and shape, both being rectangular and longer in length. In contrast, the shift key on an ISO keyboard is more square in shape, being approximately half the size of an ANSI shift key
  4. Backslash Key: In the ANSI keyboard layout, the backslash key is positioned directly above the enter key, with the same dimensions as the right Ctrl key. On the other hand, in an ISO keyboard, the backslash key is situated to the left of the enter key.
  5. Right Alt Key: On an ANSI keyboard, both the right and left Alt keys are the same in size and shape. However, on an ISO keyboard, the right Alt key is substituted with the Alt Graph key.

Which One is Superior?

Determining which keyboard layout is superior, ANSI or ISO, depends on the user’s needs and preferences.

If the user primarily types in English and needs better support for programming languages, the ANSI keyboard layout may be the better choice.

However, if the user needs to type in multiple languages and prioritizes a comfortable typing experience, the ISO keyboard layout may be the better choice. The ISO layout has better support for non-English languages and provides a more comfortable typing experience due to the spacing of its keys.


The ANSI and ISO keyboard layouts each have their own distinct characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages. Deciding which layout is better is a matter of personal opinion and varies based on the individual user’s preferences and requirements. However, users should consider factors such as comfort, availability, compatibility, typing speed, and key placement when choosing between the two keyboard layouts.


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