Glossary of Important Terms in Mechanical Keyboard
Glossary of Important Terms in Mechanical Keyboard

Are you new to the fascinating world of mechanical keyboards? Do all the technical terms leave you feeling confused? Don't worry; you're not alone! In this blog, we'll break down some of the essential terms you need to know to navigate the realm of mechanical keyboards. From switches to keycaps, we've got you covered!


1. Mechanical Switches

These components are the essence of mechanical keyboards. Unlike typical rubber dome keyboard switches found on many keyboards, mechanical switches use individual mechanical components for each key. They offer a tactile feel, audible click, and precise actuation, making typing a more satisfying experience.

2. Actuation Point

This refers to the distance a key must be pressed for a keystroke to be registered. Different switches have different actuation points, affecting the typing experience. Some switches actuate higher on the keystroke, while others actuate lower, providing varying levels of responsiveness.

3. Keycaps

Keycaps are the physical covers placed on top of the switches. They are of different shapes, sizes, and materials, allowing for customization and personalization. Keycaps can be made of ABS plastic, PBT plastic, or even more exotic materials like doubleshot PBT or artisan keycaps.

4. Hot-Swappable Switches

A hot-swappable mechanical keyboard allows users to change switches without soldering or desoldering. This feature enables easy customization and modification of the keyboard's typing feel without requiring advanced technical skills. Hot-swappable keyboards usually have a switch socket design that allows switches to be easily inserted and removed.

5. Backlighting

Many mechanical keyboards come with backlighting options, allowing you to customize the color and brightness of the keys. This feature is not only aesthetically pleasing but also functional, especially in low-light environments.

6. Stabilizers

Stabilizers are mechanisms used to ensure smooth and consistent keypresses, especially for larger keys like the spacebar and the Enter key. They prevent wobbling and provide a more stable typing experience.

7. Key Rollover and N-Key Rollover

Key rollover refers to the number of simultaneous key presses a keyboard can register. N-key rollover means that the keyboard can register any number of simultaneous key presses, ensuring no keystrokes are lost during intense gaming sessions or fast typing, while 6KRO keyboards can register up to six simultaneous key presses. 

8. Switch Types

There are several types of mechanical switches, each offering a unique feel and sound. Common switch types include Cherry MX, Gateron, and Kailh. They differ in factors such as actuation force, tactile feedback, and auditory feedback.


9. Clicky Switches

Clicky switches produce an audible click sound when pressed, providing tactile and auditory feedback. They're popular among typists who appreciate the satisfying click-clack sound of each keystroke.

10. Tactile Switches

Tactile switches provide a bump or tactile feedback when actuated, giving users a sense of confirmation with each keystroke. They're preferred by many typists for their balance of tactile response and quiet operation.

11. Linear Switches

Linear switches have a smooth and consistent keystroke with no audible click or tactile bump, making them a favorite among gamers for their fast actuation and lack of tactile feedback, allowing for rapid key presses.

12. Keycap Profiles

Keycap profiles refer to the shape of the keycaps. Common profiles include OEM, Cherry, SA, DSA, and more. Each profile offers a unique feel and aesthetic appeal, catering to different preferences.

13. Tactile Feedback

Tactile feedback is the sensation you feel when pressing a key. It indicates that the key has been actuated, providing a satisfying typing experience. Tactile switches offer a noticeable bump when the key is pressed.

14. RGB Lighting

RGB lighting adds customizable backlighting to mechanical keyboards, allowing users to personalize their setup with various colors and effects. It's a popular feature among gamers and enthusiasts for creating visually stunning keyboard setups.

15. Key Switch Mounts

Key switch mounts determine how switches are attached to the keyboard's PCB (Printed Circuit Board). Common mounts include plate-mounted and PCB-mounted switches, each offering different typing feels and customization options.

16. Lubing

Lubing refers to the process of applying lubricant to mechanical switches to reduce friction and noise, resulting in a smoother and quieter. It's a common mod among enthusiasts to improve switch performance.

17. Polling Rate

Polling rate refers to how often the keyboard sends input signals to the computer. Higher polling rates result in faster response times and smoother input tracking, crucial for gaming and fast typing.

18. Anti-Ghosting

Anti-ghosting technology ensures that all pressed keys are accurately registered, even when multiple keys are pressed simultaneously. It prevents missed keystrokes and ensures a seamless typing experience.

19. Keymap

A keymap is a configuration that determines which key corresponds to which action or character. Users can customize keymaps to their preferences, such as remapping keys for gaming or programming.

20. PCB (Printed Circuit Board)

The PCB is the electronic circuit board that connects the switches to the keyboard's controller. A great-quality PCB ensures reliable performance and durability.


21. Mechanical Keyboard Layouts

Mechanical keyboards come in various layouts, including full-size, tenkeyless (TKL), and compact layout keyboards like 60% and 75%. Each layout offers different combinations of keys to suit different preferences and use cases.

22. Keyboard Customization

Mechanical keyboards offer a high level of customization, allowing users to personalize keycaps, switches, backlighting, and more to create a keyboard that suits their preferences and style.

23. Macro Keys

Macro keys are programmable keys that can be customized to perform specific functions or keystroke combinations with just one press.

24. Chatter

Chatter happens when a switch records several keystrokes from only one press, leading to unintended inputs. It's often a sign of switch degradation or inconsistency.

25. Key Switch Actuation Travel

The distance a key must travel before reaching the actuation point. Actuation travel can vary between different switches and profiles, influencing typing speed and comfort.

26. Travel Distance

The distance a key travels when pressed. Shorter travel distances can result in faster typing speeds.

27. Debouncing

A process that eliminates unintended duplicate keystrokes by filtering out mechanical noise and ensuring each key press is registered only once.

28. Actuation Force

Actuation force refers to the amount of force required to press a key and register a keystroke. Different switches have varying actuation forces, ranging from light to heavy. Lighter switches require less force, making typing more effortless, while heavier switches provide more resistance, requiring stronger finger pressure.

29. Switch Housing

The switch housing is the outer casing that contains the internal components of the mechanical switch. It protects the mechanism from dust particles and provides stability and support for the keycap. Switch housings can be made of different materials such as plastic or metal, influencing the overall feel and sound of the switch.

30. Key Travel

Key travel refers to the distance a key travels from its resting position to when it's fully pressed down. Mechanical keyboards typically offer greater key travel compared to membrane keyboards, resulting in a more tactile typing experience. Key travel can vary between switches, with some offering shorter or longer travel distances.

31. Actuation Force Curve

The actuation force curve represents how the actuation force changes throughout the keystroke. It visualizes the force required to press the key at different points, showing whether the force increases, decreases, or remains constant. Understanding the actuation force curve can help users choose switches that match their typing preferences and typing style.

32. Switch Lifespan

Switch lifespan refers to the number of keystrokes a mechanical switch can endure before it becomes less reliable or fails. Mechanical switches typically have a lifespan ranging from tens of millions to over a hundred million keystrokes, depending on the switch type and quality. A longer switch lifespan ensures durability and longevity, making the keyboard a worthwhile investment.

33. Keycap Profile

Keycap profile refers to the shape and contour of the keycaps on a keyboard. Different profiles, such as OEM, Cherry, and SA, offer varying ergonomic designs and typing experiences. Keycap profile can affect typing comfort, finger positioning, and overall aesthetics, making it an important consideration for keyboard enthusiasts.

34. Detachable Cable

A detachable cable allows the keyboard's USB cable to be removed or replaced easily. This feature provides convenience for transportation and storage and allows users to customize their keyboard with different cable lengths or designs. Detachable cables come in various connector types, such as USB-A, USB-C, and micro-USB, offering compatibility with different devices.

35. Key Switch Lubrication

Key switch lubrication involves applying lubricant to mechanical switches to reduce friction, minimize noise, and improve smoothness during key presses. Lubricating switches can enhance the typing feel, prolong the switch's lifespan, and reduce wear and tear on the keyboard's components. However, improper lubrication or using the wrong type of lubricant can affect switch performance and may require cleaning or reapplication.

36. Customization Software

Some mechanical keyboards come with customization software that allows users to customize key assignments, lighting effects, and macro functions. This software provides advanced customization options beyond what's available through hardware alone, allowing users to tailor their keyboard to their specific needs and preferences. Customization software often features intuitive interfaces and user-friendly controls, making it accessible to both novice and experienced users alike.

37. Plate Material

The plate is the layer that sits between the switches and the PCB (printed circuit board) of a mechanical keyboard. It provides structural support and stability for the switches while also influencing the keyboard's feel and sound. Plates can be made from various materials such as aluminum, steel, brass, or even polycarbonate. Each material offers different levels of rigidity, flexibility, and acoustics, impacting the typing experience.


38. Function Layer

A function layer is a secondary layer of keys on a keyboard that can be accessed using a modifier key, enabling additional functionality such as media controls, macros, or programmable shortcuts without altering the primary key layout.

39. Modding

Modding, short for modification, involves customizing or altering mechanical keyboards to enhance performance, aesthetics, or functionality. This can include switch swapping, lubing, keycap customization, and case modifications.

40. Thock

Thock is an onomatopoeic term used to describe the deep, muted sound produced by certain mechanical keyboard switches, particularly those with tactile or tactile-silent characteristics, creating a satisfying typing experience.

41. Clack

Clack refers to the sharp, distinctive sound produced by mechanical keyboard switches, especially those with clicky characteristics, signifying the actuation of a key and adding an audible feedback element to typing.

42. Ping

Ping is an undesirable high-pitched noise produced by mechanical keyboard switches, often associated with the reverberation of metal components, impacting the typing experience and sound quality.

43. Flex

Flex refers to the degree of flexibility or bending exhibited by the keyboard's PCB (printed circuit board) or case during use, affecting typing feel and sound. Some enthusiasts seek keyboards with minimal flex for a sturdy typing platform, while others prefer a slight degree of flex for a softer typing experience.

44. PCB Mount vs. Plate Mount

Mechanical switches can be mounted to the PCB directly or to the keyboard's plate. PCB mount switches have additional plastic pegs on the housing that fit into corresponding holes on the PCB, providing extra stability and alignment. Plate mount switches rely on the plate for stability and are usually easier to install and remove. Both mounting methods have their advantages and can affect the keyboard's typing feel and sound.

45. Bottoming Out

Bottoming out occurs when a key is pressed down until it hits the bottom of the keyboard housing. This action can generate noise and cause fatigue over time, especially with switches that have a high actuation force. Some typists prefer to avoid bottoming out by typing with a lighter touch, known as "floating typing."

46. Switch Modding

Switch modding refers to the practice of modifying mechanical switches to alter their characteristics or improve their performance. Common switch mods include lubing (applying lubricant to reduce friction), spring swapping (replacing the switch spring for a different weight), and stem swapping (replacing the switch stem for a different tactile feel). Switch modding allows enthusiasts to fine-tune their keyboard's typing experience to their preferences and optimize switch performance.

47. Soldering

Soldering is the process of joining electronic components together using solder, a metal alloy with a low melting point. In the context of mechanical keyboards, soldering is often required for tasks such as installing new switches, replacing LEDs, or modifying the keyboard's electronics. Soldering skills are essential for keyboard enthusiasts who want to customize or repair their keyboards extensively.

48. Keycap Material

Keycaps can be made from various materials, each with its unique characteristics and feel. Common keycap materials include ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) plastic, PBT (polybutylene terephthalate) plastic, and POM (polyoxymethylene) plastic. ABS keycaps are lightweight and prone to shine over time, while PBT keycaps are more durable and resistant to wear. POM keycaps offer a smooth and slightly textured feel, making them popular among enthusiasts for their unique typing experience.

49. Keycap Legends

Keycap legends are the symbols or characters printed or engraved on the surface of keycaps to indicate the corresponding key functions. Legends can be printed using various methods such as dye-sublimation, laser etching, or double-shot molding. High-quality legends are crucial for keycap durability and readability, especially for keyboards with backlighting or RGB lighting effects.

50. Key Switch Modularity 

Some mechanical keyboards feature modular switch designs that allow users to easily swap out switches without soldering or complex disassembly. This modularity enables users to experiment with different switch types, customize their typing experience, or replace worn-out switches without replacing the entire keyboard.

51. Sound Dampening

Sound-dampening techniques are used to reduce the noise produced by mechanical keyboards during typing. Common sound-dampening methods include installing foam or rubber-dampening mats inside the keyboard case, applying sound-absorbing materials to the switch housing, or using O-rings to cushion the keycap bottom-out. Sound dampening can significantly reduce the clackiness and resonance of mechanical keyboards, making them quieter and more pleasant to use, especially in shared or noise-sensitive environments.

52. Actuation vs. Bottom-Out

Actuation refers to the point at which a keypress is registered by the switch, while bottom-out refers to the point at which the keycap makes contact with the keyboard's surface or plate. Actuation force is the force required to reach the actuation point, while bottom-out force is the force required to fully depress the key. Understanding the difference between actuation and bottom-out can help users optimize their typing technique, reduce fatigue, and prolong the switch's lifespan.

53. Key Switch Sound Profiles

Different mechanical switches produce distinct sound profiles based on their design and construction. Clicky switches generate a sharp clicking sound when actuated, tactile switches produce a muted bump or thock, and linear switches produce a smooth and consistent keystroke sound. Sound profiles can be influenced by factors such as switch type, keycap material, plate material, and sound-dampening techniques, allowing users to customize their keyboard's acoustics to their liking.

54. Group Buys

Group buys are collective purchasing arrangements where a group of individuals comes together to place a bulk order for custom or limited-edition mechanical keyboards, keycaps, or accessories. Group buys are often organized through online forums or social media platforms and offer participants the opportunity to acquire unique or exclusive products that may not be available through traditional retail channels. Group buys typically involve longer lead times and higher upfront costs but can result in significant savings and community engagement within the mechanical keyboard hobby.

55. Key Switch Actuation Types

Key switches can be categorized based on their actuation types, which describe the mechanism by which the switch registers a keystroke. The three main actuation types are:

56. Mechanical Actuation

This type of actuation uses physical contact between switch components to register a keystroke. Mechanical switches provide tactile feedback and audible click sounds, making typing more satisfying and responsive.

57. Electrostatic Capacitive Actuation

Electrostatic capacitive switches use changes in capacitance to detect key presses. They offer a smoother and quiet experience in typing compared to mechanical switches and are less prone to wear and tear.

58. Optical Actuation

Optical switches use infrared or laser light to detect key presses. They offer fast response times, durability, and customizable actuation points. Optical switches are often used in gaming keyboards for their precision and reliability.

59. Switch Stem

The switch stem is the central component of a mechanical switch that moves up and down when a key is pressed. It connects to the keycap and actuates the switch when pressed. The shape and design of the switch stem determine the tactile feel, actuation force, and sound of the switch. Common switch stem designs include cross-shaped, Cherry MX-style and Alps-style stems.


60. Key Rattle

Key rattle refers to the unwanted movement or noise produced by keys when they're pressed or shaken. It's often caused by loose or poorly fitting keycaps, switches, or stabilizers. Key rattle can detract from the typing experience and sound quality of a mechanical keyboard. To reduce key rattle, enthusiasts often use tighter-fitting keycaps, lubricate switch stems, or adjust stabilizer tension.

61. Ghosting

Ghosting occurs when a keyboard fails to register certain key combinations correctly, resulting in missed or unintended keystrokes. It's more common in keyboards with lower key rollover capabilities, especially during fast-paced gaming or typing sessions. Anti-ghosting technology helps prevent ghosting by allowing multiple keys to be pressed simultaneously without interference.

62. Ergonomic

Ergonomic keyboards are designed to promote comfort and reduce strain during typing by incorporating features such as split designs, tenting, or angled key arrangements. These keyboards aim to improve posture, alleviate wrist pain, and enhance overall typing ergonomics for users.

63. Kailh Switches

Kailh switches are a type of mechanical switch known for their affordability and diverse range of options, including clicky, tactile, and linear variants. They offer comparable performance to Cherry MX switches and are popular among keyboard enthusiasts for their reliability and customization options.

64. Cherry MX Switches

Cherry MX switches are widely regarded as the gold standard in mechanical keyboard switches, known for their smooth keystrokes, durability, and consistent performance. With variants like Red, Blue, Brown, and Black, Cherry MX switches cater to various typing preferences and are favored by gamers and typists alike.

65. Jumper Wire

Jumper wires are small wires used to establish electrical connections between different points on a keyboard's PCB (printed circuit board). They are often used in keyboard modification and repair projects to bypass damaged traces or customize keyboard functionality.

66. Key Blocking

Key blocking is a feature found in some keyboards that prevents certain keys from being pressed simultaneously, reducing the likelihood of accidental keystrokes or ghosting. It's commonly used in gaming keyboards to prevent unintended input during intense gameplay.

67. Key Bounce

Key bounce refers to a phenomenon where a mechanical switch records numerous keystrokes from a single keypress due to the rapid bouncing of the switch contacts. This can result in unintended or duplicate characters appearing on the screen and is typically addressed through debounce algorithms in keyboard firmware.

68. Matias

Matias switches are a type of mechanical switch designed as an alternative to traditional Cherry MX switches, known for their unique feel and sound. They offer options like Click, Quiet Click, and Linear, providing a quieter typing feel compared to other mechanical switches.

69. O-Ring 

O-rings are small rubber rings placed around the stems of keycaps to dampen the sound and reduce the impact when keys bottom out. They are commonly used to modify mechanical keyboards to make them quieter and reduce typing fatigue.

70. PBT

PBT (polybutylene terephthalate) is a type of plastic commonly used in keycap manufacturing known for its durability, resistance to wear, and superior texture. Keycaps made from PBT are less prone to shine over time compared to ABS keycaps, making them a popular choice among keyboard enthusiasts.

71. POM 

POM (polyoxymethylene) is another type of plastic used in keycap manufacturing, known for its smooth and slightly textured feel. POM keycaps offer a unique typing experience and are often preferred for their pleasant tactile feedback and durability.

72. Reset Point

The reset point in a mechanical switch refers to the point at which the switch returns to its original position after actuation. It's a crucial factor in switch design, influencing typing speed, responsiveness, and overall typing feel. A well-defined reset point ensures rapid key recovery and minimizes fatigue during prolonged typing sessions.

73. Slider

A component within mechanical switches moves vertically to actuate the switch and register keystrokes, determining the typing feel and response.

74. Sprue 

A channel or passage in injection molding is used to deliver molten plastic into mold cavities, forming keycaps or other plastic components for mechanical keyboards.


75. Tenkeyless (TKL)

A keyboard layout that excludes the numeric keypad, providing a more compact and space-efficient design while retaining essential keys for typing and gaming.


76. Topre

A type of electrostatic capacitive switch known for its unique tactile feel and smooth keystrokes, popular among enthusiasts for its high-quality construction and typing comfort.


77. UV Printing

A printing method that uses ultraviolet light to cure or dry ink onto surfaces, commonly used to apply legends or designs onto keycaps for mechanical keyboards with precision and durability.


78. WASD 

The cluster of keys typically found on the left side of a standard keyboard, is often used for directional input in gaming and referred to by the arrangement of letters on the keys.


79. Winkey/Winkeyless

Refers to the presence or absence of the Windows key on a keyboard, with "Winkey" keyboards including it and "Winkeyless" keyboards omitting it for a cleaner aesthetic or to prevent accidental presses.


80. Zeal PC

A well-known manufacturer and vendor of high-quality mechanical keyboard components and accessories, specializing in premium switches, keycaps, and custom keyboard kits.


81. HHKB

Abbreviation for "Happy Hacking Keyboard," a compact and minimalist keyboard design known for its unique layout, Topre switches, and focus on ergonomic typing comfort.


82. Home Row

The middle row of keys on a keyboard where the fingers naturally rest during touch typing, including the letters ASDF for the left hand and JKL; for the right hand, forming the foundation for typing accuracy and speed.


83. Hysteresis

Hysteresis refers to the delay between the actuation and reset points of a switch, affecting typing speed and consistency by requiring a complete release before another key press.


84. Ghetto Switch

Ghetto switch is a colloquial term for a homemade or improvised switch often made from unconventional materials, commonly used in DIY mechanical keyboard projects.


85. Form Factor 

Form factor describes the physical dimensions and layout of a keyboard, such as full-size, tenkeyless, or compact, influencing portability, desk space usage, and ergonomic comfort.


86. DIP Switch

DIP switch, short for dual in-line package switch, is a small switch used to change keyboard settings or configurations, often found on the underside of mechanical keyboards.


87. Doubleshot

Doubleshot refers to a keycap manufacturing process where two layers of plastic are molded together to create legends that are resistant to wear and fading, ensuring long-lasting keycap durability and readability.


88. Double Tap

Double tap is a typing technique where a key is pressed twice rapidly to produce a specific character or function, commonly used in gaming or text input applications.


89. Buckling Spring 

A Buckling spring is a type of switch mechanism found in some mechanical keyboards, characterized by a distinctive tactile bump and audible click when actuated, providing a unique typing experience appreciated by enthusiasts for its tactile feedback and audible response.


90. Backplate

The Backplate is a rigid plate positioned beneath the PCB (printed circuit board) of a mechanical keyboard, providing structural support and stability while also influencing the keyboard's typing feel and sound.


91. Rubber Dome

A Rubber dome is a type of switch mechanism commonly found in membrane keyboards, consisting of a rubber dome that collapses to register a keystroke, offering a quiet typing experience but lacking the tactile feedback of mechanical switches.


92. ABS

ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) is a common plastic material used in keycap manufacturing, known for its lightweight, smooth texture, and affordability, but prone to shine and wear over time, requiring replacement or maintenance.


93. Alps

Alps switches are a type of mechanical switch known for their unique feel and sound. They were widely used in vintage keyboards and are characterized by their tactile feedback and clicky sound profile.


94. ISO

ISO layout is a keyboard layout standard used in Europe and other regions, featuring an enlarged Enter key and an additional key to the left of the Z key. It differs from the ANSI layout commonly used in the United States.


95. JIS

JIS layout is a keyboard layout standard used in Japan, featuring additional keys and a different key arrangement compared to standard ANSI or ISO layouts. It accommodates the Japanese writing system and includes keys for hiragana, katakana, and kanji input.


96. Topre 

Topre switches are a type of electrostatic capacitive switch known for their smooth and tactile feel. They combine the qualities of both membrane and mechanical switches, providing a unique typing experience prized by enthusiasts.


97. Group-Buy

A group buy is a collective purchasing arrangement where a group of individuals come together to place a bulk order for custom or limited-edition mechanical keyboards, keycaps, or accessories. It allows participants to benefit from volume discounts and acquire unique or exclusive products that may not be available through traditional retail channels.


98. 40% Keyboard Layout

A 40% keyboard layout is a compact keyboard design that includes only the most essential keys, often omitting the number row, function keys, and navigation cluster. It's favored by minimalist enthusiasts or those seeking ultra-portable typing solutions.


99. 60% Keyboard Layout

A 60% keyboard layout is a compact keyboard design that retains alphanumeric keys, modifiers, and a navigation cluster while omitting the function row, number pad, and arrow keys. It offers a balance between compactness and functionality, popular among enthusiasts seeking a smaller form factor.


100. 65% Keyboard Layout

A 65% keyboard layout is a compact keyboard design that includes alphanumeric keys, modifiers, arrow keys, and some navigation keys, typically arranged in a more condensed layout compared to full-size keyboards. It offers a compromise between compactness and usability, catering to users who require additional functionality without sacrificing too much space.


101. 75% Keyboard Layout

A 75% keyboard layout is a compact keyboard design that includes alphanumeric keys, modifiers, arrow keys, and some function keys, offering a balance between compactness and functionality. It retains more keys than smaller layouts like 60% or 65% keyboards, making it suitable for users who need additional keys for productivity tasks.


102. 80% Keyboard Layout

An 80% keyboard layout, also known as tenkeyless (TKL), omits the number pad but retains the alphanumeric keys, function row, and navigation cluster. It offers a more compact form factor than full-size keyboards while preserving essential functionality, making it popular among gamers and typists who prioritize desk space and portability.


103. PCB Layout

The PCB layout refers to the arrangement and configuration of electronic components on the printed circuit board of a mechanical keyboard. Different PCB layouts support varying numbers of keys, key sizes, and switch configurations. Common PCB layouts include ANSI (American National Standards Institute), ISO (International Organization for Standardization), and custom layouts tailored to specific keyboard designs or preferences.


104. Macro Programming

Macro programming allows users to record and assign custom macros or keystroke sequences to specific keys or key combinations. This feature is particularly useful for gamers and productivity enthusiasts who want to automate repetitive tasks, execute complex commands, or perform in-game actions with a single key press. Macro programming software provides intuitive interfaces and advanced customization options for creating and managing macros.


105. Key Switch Wobble

Key switch wobble refers to the lateral movement or instability of switches within their mounting sockets. Excessive switch wobble can affect typing accuracy, consistency, and comfort, especially during rapid or forceful key presses. Tighter switch tolerances, improved switch housing designs, and proper stabilizer tuning can help reduce key switch wobble and enhance overall typing stability.


106. Switch Sound Test

A switch sound test is a method used to evaluate the sound characteristics of mechanical switches, typically performed by pressing individual keys or switch testers to listen to their sound profiles. Switch sound tests help users assess factors such as actuation force, tactile feedback, and acoustics to determine the most suitable switches for their preferences and typing style. They're commonly conducted using audio recordings, videos, or in-person demonstrations.


107. Keycap Profile Compatibility

Keycap profile compatibility refers to the compatibility of keycaps with different keyboard layouts and switch types. Keycap profiles are designed to accommodate specific key arrangements, switch sizes, and stem shapes, ensuring proper fit and alignment. Common keycap profiles include OEM, Cherry, DSA, SA, and MT3, each with its own unique characteristics and compatibility considerations. Understanding keycap profile compatibility helps users select compatible keycap sets for their mechanical keyboards and avoid compatibility issues.


108. Keyboard Firmware

Keyboard firmware is the software embedded in the keyboard's microcontroller that controls its operation and functionality. Firmware governs key processing, LED lighting, macro programming, and other keyboard features. Updating keyboard firmware can introduce bug fixes, performance improvements, and new features, enhancing the overall user experience. Firmware updates are typically provided by keyboard manufacturers and can be applied using dedicated software utilities or firmware flashing tools.


109. Keyboard Layouts

Keyboard layouts refer to the arrangement of keys on a keyboard, including the positions of letters, numbers, symbols, and function keys. Common keyboard layouts include QWERTY, AZERTY, and Dvorak, each optimized for different languages or typing preferences. Mechanical keyboards often support multiple layouts, allowing users to switch between them based on their needs or regional requirements.


110. Keycap Profile Shapes

Keycap profile shapes determine the overall curvature and sculpting of keycaps, influencing the ergonomics and typing comfort of a keyboard. Common keycap profile shapes include cylindrical, sculpted, and flat profiles, each offering different degrees of comfort and finger positioning. Keycap profile shapes can affect typing speed, accuracy, and fatigue, making them an important consideration for keyboard enthusiasts.


111. Keycap Material Legends

Keycap material legends refer to the symbols or characters printed or engraved on keycaps to indicate key functions or keycap profiles. Legends can be made using different materials such as dye-sublimation, laser etching, or double-shot molding. High-quality keycap material legends ensure durability, readability, and longevity, enhancing the overall aesthetics and functionality of mechanical keyboards.


112. Keyboard Layout Editor

A keyboard layout editor is a software tool that allows users to customize and create their keyboard layouts, key assignments, and macros. Keyboard layout editors provide intuitive graphical interfaces for designing and programming custom keyboard layouts, supporting various layouts, key sizes, and switch configurations. They're commonly used by keyboard enthusiasts, programmers, and gamers to tailor their keyboards to their specific needs and preferences.


113. Key Switch Stem Color

Key switch stem color refers to the color of the central stem component of a mechanical switch, which determines its type, actuation force, and tactile feedback. Common key switch stem colors include red, blue, brown, and black, each corresponding to different switch types such as linear, clicky, tactile, and silent switches. Key switch stem color is an important factor in selecting switches that match the user's typing preferences and usage scenarios.


114. Keyboard Layout Standardization

Keyboard layout standardization refers to the establishment of standardized layouts and key arrangements to promote consistency and compatibility across different keyboard designs and manufacturers. Standardized layouts such as ANSI and ISO ensure interoperability and ease of use, allowing users to switch between keyboards without encountering compatibility issues. Keyboard layout standardization also facilitates localization and internationalization efforts, accommodating diverse language and regional requirements.


115. Keyboard Lubrication

Keyboard lubrication involves applying lubricant to mechanical keyboard components such as switches, stabilizers, and keycap stems to reduce friction, noise, and wear. Lubrication improves the smoothness, consistency, and longevity of keyboard operation, enhancing the typing experience and minimizing maintenance requirements. Common lubricants used for keyboard lubrication include silicone grease, synthetic oils, and PTFE powders, each offering different viscosity and lubricating properties.


116. Switch Spring Weight

Switch spring weight refers to the amount of force required to compress the spring inside a mechanical switch, influencing the actuation force and tactile feedback of the switch. Common switch spring weights range from light (e.g., 35g) to heavy (e.g., 80g or more), providing different levels of resistance and typing feel. Switch spring weight is a critical factor in selecting switches that match the user's typing style, finger strength, and comfort preferences.


117. Keycap Profile Sculpting

Keycap profile sculpting refers to the ergonomic shaping and contouring of keycaps to accommodate the natural curvature of the fingers and hands during typing. Sculpted keycaps feature varying heights and angles across different rows to optimize finger positioning, reduce strain, and improve typing comfort. Common keycap profile sculpting techniques include row staggering, row angling, and concave or convex keycap surfaces, enhancing the tactile and ergonomic characteristics of mechanical keyboards.


118. Keyboard Case Material

Keyboard case material refers to the material used to construct the outer housing or enclosure of a mechanical keyboard, providing structural support, protection, and aesthetics. Common keyboard case materials include plastic, aluminum, steel, wood, and acrylic, each offering different levels of durability, rigidity, and customization options. Keyboard case material influences the overall weight, feel, and appearance of a keyboard, making it an important consideration for enthusiasts seeking a specific look or feel for their keyboards.


119. Keycap Profile Row

Keycap profile row refers to the specific row or level on the keyboard where keycaps are positioned. Keycap profiles are typically designed with different heights and angles for each row to accommodate the natural curvature of the fingers and hands during typing. Common keycap profile rows include R1 (top row), R2 (second row), R3 (third row), R4 (fourth row), and R5 (bottom row), each offering specific ergonomic benefits and typing comfort.


120. Keyboard Layout Customization Software

Keyboard layout customization software allows users to customize and reconfigure key assignments, macros, and lighting effects on their mechanical keyboards. This software provides advanced customization options beyond what's available through firmware settings alone, enabling users to personalize their keyboard layouts and functionality to suit their preferences and workflow. Keyboard layout customization software often features intuitive graphical interfaces and drag-and-drop functionality for easy customization.


121. Keycap Material Texture

Keycap material texture refers to the surface finish or tactile feel of keycaps, which can affect typing comfort, grip, and durability. Common keycap material textures include smooth, textured, matte, glossy, and PBT dye-sublimated. Texture plays a significant role in keycap aesthetics and user experience, influencing typing speed, accuracy, and finger fatigue. Keycap enthusiasts often prefer specific textures based on their tactile preferences and typing environment.


122. Keycap Stem Mount Type

Keycap stem mount type refers to the method by which keycaps are attached to the switch stem. Common keycap stem mount types include Cherry MX-style cross mount, Alps-style rectangular mount, and Topre-style cruciform mount. Keycap stem mount type determines keycap compatibility and interchangeability with different switch brands and profiles, making it an essential consideration for keyboard customization and keycap selection.


123. Keycap Profile Row Angling

Keycap profile row angling refers to the angle at which each row of keycaps is positioned relative to the keyboard's base. Different keycap profiles may have varying angles to accommodate the natural curvature of the fingers and hands during typing. Row angling influences ergonomics and comfort, allowing for a more natural and comfortable typing experience.


124. Keycap Profile Sculpting Techniques

Keycap profile sculpting techniques refer to the methods used to shape and contour keycaps for ergonomic comfort and tactile feedback. Sculpted keycaps may feature concave or convex surfaces, varying heights, and different angles to optimize finger positioning and reduce strain during typing. Sculpting techniques enhance keycap aesthetics and user experience, providing a more comfortable and responsive typing feel.


125. Keycap Material Texture Variation

Keycap material texture variation refers to the different surface finishes and tactile feels of keycaps, including smooth, textured, matte, and glossy textures. Texture variation influences typing comfort, grip, and aesthetics, providing a personalized typing experience tailored to user preferences. Keycap material texture variation adds visual and tactile interest to keyboard setups, allowing for creative customization and expression.


126. Keycap Profile Row Stagger

Keycap profile row stagger refers to the horizontal offset or displacement between consecutive rows of keycaps on a keyboard. The staggered layout is designed to align with the natural finger positions and hand anatomy during typing, facilitating more ergonomic and efficient keystrokes. Keycap profile row stagger ensures that keycaps are positioned at optimal angles and distances for comfortable and accurate typing.


127. Keycap Material Colorfastness

Keycap material colorfastness refers to the ability of keycap materials to retain their original color and resist fading or discoloration over time, even when exposed to sunlight or environmental factors. Colorfast keycap materials such as PBT (polybutylene terephthalate) are resistant to UV radiation and chemical degradation, ensuring long-lasting color vibrancy and aesthetic appeal. Colorfastness is essential for maintaining keycap aesthetics and preventing color fading or shifting.


128. Keycap Material Biocompatibility

Keycap material biocompatibility refers to the safety and compatibility of keycap materials with human skin and health. Biocompatible keycap materials are non-toxic, hypoallergenic, and free from harmful chemicals or substances that may cause skin irritation or allergic reactions. Biocompatibility is essential for ensuring user safety and comfort during prolonged typing sessions or direct skin contact with keycaps. Biocompatible keycap materials promote healthy and ergonomic typing habits, minimizing the risk of skin sensitivity or discomfort.


129. Switch Housing Material 

The material used for the housing of a key switch can impact its durability, acoustics, and overall feel. Common switch housing materials include thermoplastic polymers like ABS or PBT, as well as more exotic materials like polycarbonate or nylon. Additionally, some switches feature transparent or translucent housings that allow for customizable backlighting effects and aesthetics.


130. OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) 

The OEM keycap profile is one of the most common and widely used profiles in mechanical keyboards. It features a slightly curved surface and medium height, providing a comfortable typing experience for most users. OEM keycaps are often included as stock keycaps on many mechanical keyboards and offer a good balance of typing comfort and compatibility with various switch types and keyboard layouts.


131. Cherry Profile

The Cherry keycap profile, named after the Cherry MX switch manufacturer, is known for its low-profile design and sculpted shape. It features a flatter surface compared to OEM keycaps and a lower overall height, resulting in a sleeker appearance and a more ergonomic typing experience. Cherry profile keycaps are popular among enthusiasts for their premium feel and compatibility with custom mechanical keyboards.


132. SA (Spherical All) Profile

The SA keycap profile, also known as Spherical All, features a distinctive spherical shape and tall profile, reminiscent of vintage typewriters. SA keycaps have a sculpted profile with different heights for each row, providing a unique aesthetic and comfortable typing experience. These keycaps are favored by enthusiasts for their retro charm and compatibility with custom keyboard builds.


133. DSA (Deep South) Profile

The DSA keycap profile, also known as Deep South, is characterized by its uniform spherical shape and low profile. Unlike sculpted profiles like SA or Cherry, DSA keycaps have a consistent height across all rows, making them ideal for ortho-linear or ergonomic keyboard layouts. DSA keycaps offer a sleek and modern appearance, with compatibility for various switch types and keycap sets.


134. XDA Profile

The XDA keycap profile is a relatively new addition to the mechanical keyboard community, featuring a uniform cylindrical shape and low profile similar to DSA. XDA keycaps offer a minimalist aesthetic and comfortable typing experience, with compatibility for both standard and custom keyboard layouts. These keycaps are popular among enthusiasts for their versatility and modern design.


135. Doubleshot ABS

Doubleshot ABS keycaps are manufactured using a dual-injection molding process, where two layers of plastic are injected into a mold to create a two-tone keycap with legends that will never wear off. Doubleshot ABS keycaps are known for their durability, vibrant colors, and crisp legends, making them a popular choice among enthusiasts for custom keyboard builds and aftermarket keycap sets.


136. PBT (Polybutylene Terephthalate) 

PBT keycaps are made from a best-quality thermoplastic polymer known for its durability, resistance to shine, and pleasant texture. PBT keycaps have a matte finish and provide a more substantial feel compared to ABS keycaps. They are highly resistant to oils, grease, and solvents, making them ideal for long-term use and customization. PBT keycaps are favored by enthusiasts for their premium feel and compatibility with various keycap profiles and switch types.


137. POM (Polyoxymethylene)

POM keycaps are made from a tough engineering thermoplastic known for its high stiffness, low friction, and excellent dimensional stability. POM keycaps have a smooth, slick surface and provide a distinctive typing experience with a slightly softer feel compared to PBT or ABS keycaps. They are resistant to wear, fading, and yellowing, making them an attractive option for enthusiasts seeking premium keycap materials.


138. Metal (Aluminum, Brass, etc.) for Mechanical Keyboards

Metal keycaps are crafted from aluminum, brass, or other metals and offer a premium, luxurious feel and appearance. Metal keycaps are highly durable and resistant to wear, providing a unique typing experience with a satisfying heft and solidity. They are often used as accent keys or novelty keycaps in custom keyboard builds to add visual interest and tactile feedback.


139. Silicone/Rubber

Silicone or rubber keycaps are soft, flexible keycaps typically used in specialized applications such as industrial or medical keyboards. Silicone keycaps offer excellent resistance to water, dust, and chemicals, making them ideal for harsh environments where durability and reliability are paramount. They provide a cushioned typing experience and are available in various colors for customization and identification purposes.


140. Keycap Printing Methods

Keycap legends, or the characters printed or engraved on keycaps, can be applied using various printing methods, each with its advantages and disadvantages.

  • Laser Etching: Laser etching involves using a laser to engrave legends onto the surface of the keycap. This method produces durable and long-lasting legends that won't wear off over time. Laser-etched keycaps typically have a subtle, understated appearance and are available in various colors.
  • Dye-Sublimation (Dye-Sub): Dye-sublimation printing involves transferring dye onto the surface of the keycap using heat and pressure. This method results in vibrant, high-resolution legends that are resistant to fading and wear. Dye-sub keycaps offer excellent durability and are often used for custom keycap sets.
  • Pad Printing: Pad printing is a cost-effective method used to apply legends to keycaps. It involves transferring ink from a silicone pad onto the surface of the keycap. While pad-printed legends are economical and available in a wide range of colors, they may wear off over time with heavy use.
  • Double-Shot Molding: Double-shot molding is a premium printing method where two layers of plastic are injected into the mold to create a keycap with legends that are physically separate from the keycap's base material. This results in legends that are extremely durable and resistant to wear, as they are an integral part of the keycap itself.


141. Custom Keycap Sets

Enthusiasts often customize their mechanical keyboards by replacing the stock keycaps with aftermarket keycap sets. Custom keycap sets come in a wide range of colors, profiles, and materials, allowing users to personalize their keyboards to reflect their unique style and preferences. Whether you prefer a sleek monochrome look, a bold pop of color, or a themed set featuring novelty keycaps, there's a custom keycap set out there to suit your tastes.


142. Artisan Keycaps

Artisan keycaps are meticulously crafted, hand-painted keycaps created by artisans within the mechanical keyboard community. These unique keycaps often feature intricate designs, vibrant colors, and whimsical themes, adding a touch of personality and artistry to your keyboard. Artisan keycaps are highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts and are typically produced in limited quantities, making them prized additions to any keyboard collection.


143. Keycap Compatibility

When purchasing aftermarket keycaps, it's essential to ensure compatibility with your keyboard's layout and switch type. Keycap sets are available in various layouts, including ANSI, ISO, and specialty layouts like HHKB or ortholinear. Additionally, keycap sets may be designed specifically for certain switch types, such as Cherry MX, Topre, or Alps, so be sure to check compatibility before making a purchase.


144. Keyboard Layouts

Mechanical keyboards come in various layouts, each with its arrangement of keys and spacing. Common layouts include full-size, tenkeyless (TKL), compact (60% or 65%), and ergonomic layouts like split keyboards or ortholinear designs. Choosing the right layout depends on your typing preferences, space constraints, and ergonomic needs.


145. Keycap Pullers

Keycap pullers are essential tools used to remove keycaps from mechanical keyboards safely. They come in a variety of designs, including wire pullers, ring pullers, and plastic pullers, and are used to grip and extract keycaps without damaging the switches or keycaps. Keycap pullers make it easy to swap keycaps, clean your keyboard, or perform maintenance without the risk of causing any harm.


146. Cleaning and Maintenance

Proper cleaning and maintenance are crucial for keeping your mechanical keyboard in top condition. Regularly remove keycaps using a keycap puller and clean them with a mild detergent or keycap-safe cleaning solution. Use compressed air or a soft brush to remove dust from the keyboard's surface and switches. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaning tools, as they can damage the keyboard's finish or switch mechanism.

In conclusion, understanding these key terms will empower you to explore the diverse world of mechanical keyboards with confidence. Whether you're looking for a tactile typing experience, optimal gaming performance, or aesthetic customization options, there's a mechanical keyboard out there to suit your needs. So dive in, experiment with different switches and features, and embark on your journey to mechanical keyboard mastery!

Experience top-tier mechanical keyboards for Mac, Windows, iPhone, and Android with Keychron. Elevate your typing with premium quality Keychron K2, Keychron K4, and Keychron K6 models. Unleash your productivity and style with Keychron's innovative designs and unparalleled performance. Upgrade your typing game with Keychron – where quality meets versatility.

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