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Mechanical keyboard iso layout- Complete Guide

Are you tired of the same old boring keyboard layout? Looking to spice up your typing experience and take your productivity to the next level? Then the mechanical keyboard with an ISO layout might be the answer you’ve been looking for!

In this blog post, we’ll dive into what exactly an ISO layout is and why it’s gaining popularity among keyboard enthusiasts. We’ll discuss the benefits of using a mechanical keyboard with an ISO layout, including improved ergonomics, increased typing speed, and enhanced comfort.

So if you’re ready to elevate your typing game and add flair to your workspace, keep reading to discover all the mechanical keyboards with an ISO layout.

iso layout
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What is ISO Layout in a Mechanical Keyboard?

The International Organization for Standardization sets the rules for an ISO keyboard layout, which is most different from an ANSI layout by having an upside-down L-shaped Enter essential right next to the Delete key. The right Alt key has been replaced by the Alt Gr key, used in most languages to make unique characters.

ISO keyboards usually have 105 keys and are most popular in South America and most European countries. The backslash button is to the left of the enter key, and the shift key on the right is bigger than the one on the left. This makes room for an extra character on the left side of the layout.

Advantages of the ISO Layout

ISO Layout
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The Alt Key for Graphs

The ISO system is popular in Europe and other places because it has the Alt Graph (also called AltGr) key. With this key, it’s easy to type letters with diacritics. A diacritic is a small mark on a letter to change how it sounds. For example, the acute—á is a diacritic.

When a letter has more than two diacritics, you can use the Alt-Graph key to get to the third and fourth options. Even without the Alt Graph key, you can still use these symbols, but you’ll have to do more workarounds that might slow down your typing speed. One way around this is to change the way your keys work.

A Backslash Key That Is Closer

The backslash key is much easier to reach now that it is next to the enter key. This is especially helpful for software writers and others who need to use it more often than most. But outside of writing, the backslash key is used sparingly.

Disadvantages of the ISO Layout

The Enter key has moved.

On an ISO layout, the enter key is farther away because it has been cut down to make room for the backslash key. Since this is a key used often, usability is a big problem.

This is a good thing about the ANSI layout because the enter key is used much more often than the backslash key in everyday use. So, reaching the enter key will be much more critical for most people than getting the backslash key.

Left Shift Key Far Away

On an ISO layout, the left shift key is cut down to add a backslash or greater/less key. Generally, the left shift key is used much more than the backslash or greater/fewer keys. Because of this, making the left shift key shorter is also bad for usability.


It is hard to find an ISO layout keyboard. This means that ISO keyboards are more expensive and have less to offer. It can also be hard to find ISO keycap sets.

What is The difference between ANSI and ISO Layout Keyboards?

The ANSI and ISO keyboard layouts are different in five ways. The enter key, left Shift key, backslash key, right Alt key, and Alt Graph (AltGr) key are in other places and have different shapes.

Enter Key

On the ANSI layout, the enter key is wide and rectangular, but on the ISO layout, the enter key is much bigger and higher and looks like an upside-down L.

Left Shift Key

On an ANSI keypad, the shift keys on the left and right are the same size, shape, and length. On the ISO system, the left shift key is about half the size of the right shift key or about the same size as the left Ctrl key.

The Backslash Key

On the ANSI layout, the backslash key is right above the enter key and is the same size as the right Ctrl key. It is to the left of the enter key on an ISO computer.

Right Alt Key

On an ANSI keyboard, the Alt key on the right and the Alt key on the left are the same. The Alt Graph key replaces the right Alt key on an ISO keyboard.

Numbers of Key

An ANSI keyboard has 104 keys when it is full size and 87 keys when smaller. A full-size ISO keyboard has 105 keys, and a miniature version has 88 keys (one more). In the compact (tenkeyless) form, the picture below shows the layout for both ANSI and ISO keyboards.

Enter keyThe Enter key looks like a big square. In the United States, this is often seen on computers.The Enter key looks like an upside-down L.
Backslash keyThe Backslash key is above the Enter key, so you have to stretch your fingers to get to it.The Enter key is to the right of the Backslash key, so your fingers don’t have to reach as far.      
Left Shift keyThe Left shift key and the Right shift key are the same size.    About half as big as the right shift key, the left shift key is the same size as the Ctrl key.    
Right Alt keyLeft and Right Alt keys are the sameThe Alt key on the right is now an Alt Gr key.    
Number of Keys104 keys for a full-size keyboard and 87 keys for a normal tenkeyless layout    The Left and Right Alt keys are the same
Commonality of keycap setsIn ANSI style, keycaps are usually used.    People who live in countries that use ISO keyboard layouts often buy an ANSI keyboard just for the keycap sets.    

Which Mechanical Keyboard Is Better?

The answer comes down to what you want. As we’ve seen, there are many bad things about using an ISO-style keyboard. Some languages can’t be used without an ISO computer. This is usually the case in some European countries. ISO keyboards give up on comfort to fit an extra key needed for that language.

The best thing to do with a fully customizable keyboard is to get an ANSI keyboard and then re-program it to have all the keys you need for your language.

Along with being more comfortable to use, you also have many more choices for PCBs, keycap sets, and other things. Many group buys that offer ISO setups don’t get enough money to be able to make and sell them. A quick search on Google for “ISO keycaps” turns up a few hits.

Even when the minimum limit for a group buy is reached, ISO keycap sets tend to be more expensive.


What is the JIS layout?

JIS keys are Japanese Standard. The JIS layout employs the upside-down L-shaped Enter key, separates the right shift and backspace keys, and adds three keys to the spacebar. JIS has 109 keys, 5 more than ANSI. Japanese characters require these keys.

Is ANSI the same as ISO

No, the ANSI layout and the ISO layout are not the same. The Enter, Backspace, and Shift keys are the main keys that differ between ISO and ANSI.

Can I use ANSI keycaps on an ISO keyboard?

Most keys would work fine with ANSI keycaps on an ISO keyboard. Only the Enter key and the Left Shift key would not be able to be replaced. The ISO layout would also need an extra key not in the ANSI keycap set.

Final Words

The ISO layout is popular for people who like mechanical keyboards and want to type quickly and easily. With its unique arrangement of keys and extra keys, the ISO layout makes the keyboard easier to use and gives it more functions.

Whether you are a professional typist or just like to play games, the ISO scheme can help you be more productive and make typing fun. So, if you’re considering getting a mechanical keyboard, don’t be afraid to look into what the ISO layout can do. It’s time to go to the next level with your typing skills!