Mechanical Keyboard Glossary

I have made this page, “Mechanical Keyboard Glossary” to explain the terms that you might find difficult to understand when you see them while reading an article related to keyboards. Although you can clear your confusion just by searching in Google, I tried to put all the possible terms on this page with their explanations so that you don’t need to find the meaning of such terms all time. Just visit this page, and you have all the information.

  1. Rubber Dome

Rubber dome design is used in the Membrane keyboard where a sheet of rubber is there to cover electrical switches that are activated when the key is depressed down. 

  1. Mechanical Switch

Underneath each key on a keyboard, there is a mechanism that works to register a keypress, and that whole setup is called Switch. Since they are mechanical, they are known as Mechanical Switches.

  1. Stabilizers

In the context of Mechanical Keyboards, Stabilizers are also known as “Stabs” which are the parts that help bing the keycaps to the Switch. So that they don’t get wobble out. These are used generally for bigger keys such as Enter, Shift, Spacebar, etc.

  1. Scissor switch

Scissor Switches are low profile switches used in the Laptop keypad or low profile keyboards that look like laptop keyboards only. Although they are mechanical in nature, they lack spring and don’t support custom keycaps, they usually are not discussed while discussing Mechanical keyboards.

  1. Actuation Force

Actuation Force is a force applied by your finger on the key to depress it so that the keypress gets registered into the computer, and you can see the output. Different Mechanical Switches may have different Actuation forces.

  1. Bottom Out

Bottom Out is an act of pressing down the keys till the bottom to make sure that the keypress is registered. Generally, you have to do this in rubber dome keyboards (Membrane Keyboards). In Mechanical Keyboard, you don’t need to depress the key till the bottom because the keypress is registered when you depress the key halfway through. That enables you to type faster.

  1. Ghosting

When you press a key on the keyboard but it fails to register the keypress, it is called Ghosting. This problem usually comes in Membrane keyboards. Mechanical keyboards don’t have this issue.

  1. NKRO

NKRO short for “N Key Roll Over” that says how many keys if you press simultaneously, can be registered as a keypress. Membrane keyboards have comparatively lower NKRO but Mechanical keyboards have high NKRO which is a bliss for gamers.

  1. Bottom Out

This is the act of pressing a keyboard key until its full depth. You have to do it usually in the Membrane keyboard because that actuates only when you press the keys till bottom. But, Mechanical Keyboards’ keys actuate when they are half-pressed which means, you can type faster on a Mechanical keyboard as you don’t have to press the keys till the bottom every time.

  1. Linear

Linear is a Mechanical Switch type that offers linear and smooth motion when you press the keys. Linear switches don’t emit clicky sound or tactile feedback. They are the least noisy mechanical switches.

  1. Tactile

Tactile is a Mechanical Switch type that offers a bump when the keys are pressed. That means, when you press a key, it goes in linear motion from top to bottom but then there is a bump to send the key to its rest position which is called tactility. So, such switches are Tactile which gives a tactile (slight bump upwards) feedback. This actuation feedback is good for typists as it makes the typing easier. This type of switches emits less sound.

  1. Clicky

The noisiest mechanical switch is the clicky switch that makes a sound when pressing the keys. These are good for gamers that give the feel of gaming with clicky sound and all. Moreover, it is not good for those who work from home late at night as it may disturb others sleeping next to them.

  1. Silent Switches

Silent switches are mechanical switches which are improved versions to emit a little to no sound. So, users can enjoy mechanical experience with very low or almost no sound at all. So, to minimize that clicky sound, silent switches have been designed.

  1. Low Profile Keyboard

Low profile keyboards have a shorter body and shorter switches. The idea is to make a more compact and thinner mechanical keyboard.

  1. Keycap

Keycap is a plastic cover that is fitted onto a keyswitch. On top of every keycap, numbers, characters, and other things are printed to tell users that which key is for which use. Keycaps are generally made from ABS or PBT plastic.