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Can Another Keyboard Be Used with Laptops? Yes, Here's How

written by: Steve McFarlane•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 2/23/2011

Can another keyboard be used with laptops? Yes it can, and we will show you how.

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    Laptop Keyboards

    Most users find that using the compact keyboards of laptops slows their typing rate, and reduces overall productivity. They are some ergonomic disadvantages as well. For these reasons some people consider getting an external keyboard to use with their laptop and in other cases may really need another keyboard to replace a malfunctioning one on the laptop.

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    Advantages of Using an External Keyboard

    Some advantages of using an external keyboard with a laptop include the option to:

    • Use an ergonomically designed keyboard and perhaps reduce the likelihood of developing a repetitive strain injury.
    • Use a full sized, or at least a less cramped keyboard.
    • Have access to a separate and dedicated number pad.
    • Use an external keyboard to replace the malfunctioning laptop keyboard without purchasing a relatively expensive replacement keyboard for the laptop.
    • Position your keyboard in a comfortable position without having to move the laptop around.
    • Use a wireless keyboard.
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    Options for Connecting a Second Keyboard

    Can another keyboard be used with laptops?” 

    The answer to the question: “can another keyboard be used with laptops?” is yes. In fact, there are several options that consumers can consider, including wired and wireless solutions. Which you choose will depend on your preference or need, but as you will see in the next section, it is quite easy to connect a USB keyboard. However, you can just as easily connect and use a PS2, or wireless keyboard.

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    Installing an External Keyboard

    It used to be that you would have to install device drivers (software that tells your computer how to use installed hardware) to get the simplest of input devices to work with your computer. Today, the better implementation of plug-and-play technology and better overall support of hardware devices, by operating systems, makes it very easy to get most devices to work with your computer without raising your hackles. Fortunately, this also applies to installing a basic input device such as a keyboard.

    The simplest solution for using an external keyboard with your laptop is to get a USB keyboard. To use an external keyboard on your laptop simply plug the keyboard into an available USB port. The machine should recognize it and immediately make it available for use.

    Some laptops, primarily older machines, also support PS2 keyboards. PS2 ports are usually located at the back of the laptop, are circular (about the size of the tip of your pinky finger) and are usually green. PS2 keyboards aren’t hot swappable though, so you will need to plug it in before you turn on the laptop for it to recognize that the keyboard is plugged in – usually a laptop won’t recognize a PS2 keyboard if you just plug it in if the computer is already on.

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    Reference:

    Author’s own experience

    Image credits:

    “Can another keyboard be used with laptops?” treehead