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[ The PC Guide | Systems and Components Reference Guide | Keyboards | Keyboard Construction and Operation | Other Regular Keyboard Components ]

Feet and Angle Adjusters

What could be less exciting than the plastic case of the keyboard? Why, the little doohickeys on the bottom of the case, of course! Hey, I warned you I would find keyboard components more boring to talk about than the case... ;^) Actually, the feet and angle adjusters on the keyboard are more important than you might think. If you don't believe me, try typing on a keyboard where they have been neglected.

The keyboard's feet are small pads, usually made of some sort of rubber, that provide traction for the keyboard, holding it in place so it won't move around while being used. If the feet are missing or too small the keyboard won't stay put--this is more of an issue with newer, lighter keyboards than older, heavier ones. The feet on some cheap keyboards also tend to wear out over time, or come loose as the adhesive holding them in place weakens.

The feet also establish the balance of the keyboard. Some el-cheapo keyboards don't have their feet properly located, and as a result the keyboard tends to rock or flex while you are using it. Obviously, this is highly distracting and undesirable.

Underside of a keyboard, showing a foot (upper right) and angle adjusters
(left). This keyboard actually uses a rather unusual design for its angle
adjusters--there are actually two pieces that can be pivoted into place,
allowing three different angles to be chosen (high, low or flat). Of course,
there are more feet and another set of adjusters on the other side (not shown).

All better keyboards also include angle adjusters on the bottom of the keyboard case. These are used to adjust the tilt of the keyboard, to provide a comfortable angle between the keyboard and the hands for a variety of users. There is usually a locking mechanism to hold the adjusters in whatever position you set them to (if there isn't, the adjusters may tend collapse when being used--highly annoying). Some adjusters only have an "up" or "down" position, while others have intermediate settings. Look for adjusters that also have good rubber feet or pads on them, or you're back to the same "moving around" problem. Avoid keyboards with no adjusters unless you are sure you will be comfortable with the keyboard as it is.

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