Keyboard Bumps

Every time I sit down at a vintage Macintosh computer, an adjustment period is required to use the keyboard. Modern Macs and Windows computers have keyboard bumps on the F and J keys that you feel with your index fingers. However, Macintosh computers from the 1980s and early 1990s have keyboard bumps on the D and K keys that you feel with your middle fingers.

It finally bugged me enough to do some digging for information on the changeover, and I found this Apple Support document about the “bumps” on the home keys.

At some time in Apple’s history it was decided to put the “bumps” on the D and K keys while some other computer companies use the F and J keys. With the release of the PowerBook G3 Series, Apple moved the bumps to the F and J keys. Apple engineering has indicated there is no standard, such as ISO or ANSI that specifies which keys should have these “bumps,” or that they should have the “bumps” at all.

I learned typing in the early 1990s in a school computer lab filled with “pizza box” Macintosh computers, and I remember the teacher saying something like, “Use your middle fingers to find the home keys because they are the longest fingers.” But it was really just a fluke that those old Macintosh keyboards were setup like that and not some “logical” reason.