In computing, an input device is a piece of equipment used to provide data and control signals to an information processing system such as a computer or information appliance. Examples of input devices include keyboards, mouse, scanners, cameras, joysticks, and microphones.

An input device is also any hardware device that sends data to a computer, allowing you to interact with and control it



Keyboard is the most common and very popular input device which helps to input data to the computer. The layout of the keyboard is like that of traditional typewriter, although there are some additional keys provided for performing additional functions.


Keyboards are of two sizes 84 keys or 101/102 keys, but now keyboards with 104 keys or 108 keys are also available for Windows and Internet.

The keys on the keyboard are as follows −

S.NoKeys & Description
1Typing KeysThese keys include the letter keys (A-Z) and digit keys (09) which generally give the same layout as that of typewriters.
2Numeric KeypadIt is used to enter the numeric data or cursor movement. Generally, it consists of a set of 17 keys that are laid out in the same configuration used by most adding machines and calculators.
3Function KeysThe twelve function keys are present on the keyboard which are arranged in a row at the top of the keyboard. Each function key has a unique meaning and is used for some specific purpose.
4Control keysThese keys provide cursor and screen control. It includes four directional arrow keys. Control keys also include Home, End, Insert, Delete, Page Up, Page Down, Control(Ctrl), Alternate(Alt), Escape(Esc).
5Special Purpose KeysKeyboard also contains some special purpose keys such as Enter, Shift, Caps Lock, Num Lock, Space bar, Tab, and Print Screen.

Scanner is an input device, which works more like a photocopy machine. It is used when some information is available on paper and it is to be transferred to the hard disk of the computer for further manipulation.
ScannerScanner captures images from the source which are then converted into a digital form that can be stored on the disk. These images can be edited before they are printed.

Magnetic Ink Card Reader (MICR)

MICR input device is generally used in banks as there are large number of cheques to be processed every day. The bank’s code number and cheque number are printed on the cheques with a special type of ink that contains particles of magnetic material that are machine readable.

Magnetic Ink Card Reader(MICR)

This reading process is called Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR). The main advantages of MICR is that it is fast and less error prone.


Mouse is the most popular pointing device. It is a very famous cursor-control device having a small palm size box with a round ball at its base, which senses the movement of the mouse and sends corresponding signals to the CPU when the mouse buttons are pressed.

Generally, it has two buttons called the left and the right button and a wheel is present between the buttons. A mouse can be used to control the position of the cursor on the screen, but it cannot be used to enter text into the computer.



  • Easy to use
  • Not very expensive
  • Moves the cursor faster than the arrow keys of the keyboard.

Optical Character Reader (OCR)

OCR is an input device used to read a printed text.

Optical Character Reader(OCR)

OCR scans the text optically, character by character, converts them into a machine readable code, and stores the text on the system memory.

Bar Code Readers

Bar Code Reader is a device used for reading bar coded data (data in the form of light and dark lines). Bar coded data is generally used in labelling goods, numbering the books, etc. It may be a handheld scanner or may be embedded in a stationary scanner.

Barcode Reader

Bar Code Reader scans a bar code image, converts it into an alphanumeric value, which is then fed to the computer that the bar code reader is connected to.

Optical Mark Reader (OMR)

OMR is a special type of optical scanner used to recognize the type of mark made by pen or pencil. It is used where one out of a few alternatives is to be selected and marked.

Optical Mark Reader(OMR)

It is specially used for checking the answer sheets of examinations having multiple choice

Why does a computer need an input device?

Today, input devices are important because they are what allows you to interact with and add new information to a computer. For example, if a computer had no input devices, it could run by itself but there would be no way to change its settings, fix errors, or other various user interactions. Also, if you wanted to add new information to the computer (e.g., text, command, document, picture, etc.), you wouldn’t be able to do so without an input device.

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